New Guy on the Block

MROLink set to become a major player.

Most new exchanges offer clients a few good elements that make them particularly attractive to buyers. Few provide a comprehensive package that offers connectivity, content and commerce.

One new exchange is promising just such a package. MROLink, the result of IndustrialAmericas merger with eCatalogs offers a site that will set the standard for others, bar none. The new site gives users unprecedented speed and rarely matched ease of use  industrial supplies buyers will come back just for site functionality alone, not to mention the tremendous number of available products.

According to Charles Moyer, vice president of marketing and product development, MROLink stands out from competitors because it is dynamic where most content providers are linear in nature. The competition is difficult to search across and doesnt get the little distributors in because they dont have much content. We build our own content, all manufacturer-oriented, and we closely control all attributes. All we need to know is the manufacturer part number to link in a distributor  any distributor. It doesnt matter whether they have any content, added Moyer. Once the manufacturers part number is in the system, users can find it through a wide number of variables.

MROLink offers a selectable and transactable package. Once the buyer narrows down to a final choice, its as easy as one click to initiate the purchase. It is clear that technology alone cannot deliver the full promise of e-commerce, particularly in the complex MRO marketplace, said Chuck Sheridan, president and CEO of MROLink. Buyers, sellers and manufacturers all need high-quality transactable content to be able to do business with each other over the Internet. The new company offers the full range of content, connectivity and commerce capabilities for traditional participants in the industrial supplies market to evolve e-commerce effectively and profitably into their business models. It provides an easy migration every step of the way  from paper catalogs all the way to the full benefits of an open exchange.

And if thats not enough, MROLink offers unprecedented speed. Hit the mouse button and a list of products pops onto your screen in the blink of an eye.

MROLink promises buyers, sellers and distributors substantial cost savings by effectively linking their global supply chains and optimizing their trading relationships. Serving as a roadmap, MROLink provides a four-tier approach to industrial commerce:

  • Electronic and print catalog services tailored specifically for the needs of industrial supplies manufacturers and distributors;
  • Commerce-ready electronic catalogs to help industrial supplies manufacturers and distributors better serve the needs of their customers;
  • An online marketplace where buyers, sellers and distributors can conduct business facilitated by a highly searchable universal catalog; and
  • A robust, totally outsourced MRO solution for buyers using e-procurement systems or participating in industry or vertical marketplaces.

The Players

Backed by majority stake-holder Internet Capital Group (ICG) and minority stake-holder MSC Industrial Direct and VerticalNet, MROLink targets the $1 trillion market of global industrial supplies industry. At first, the new industrial supplies exchange will focus on the $350 billion U.S. market. However, they plan to move beyond the North American borders in the near future. Europe is the obvious next move as the Reston, Va.-based company leverages ICGs old world connections.

Formed in early 2000, IndustrialAmerica formed a dynamic exchange that links buyers, national and local distributors and industrial manufacturers. Their goal is to improve efficiencies, control, information exchange, and cost savings for all participants. More importantly, IndustrialAmerica wanted to effect these changes brought about by new technologies without disrupting current business practices.

Likewise, eCatalogs succeeded in creating a fully populated MRO product catalog encompassing more than 2.4 million products from more than 6,000 manufacturers complete with attributes and images in a highly searchable, timeshared electronic catalog with full integration of back-end inventory management systems. Already publishing paper catalogs for hundreds of industrial distributors and manufacturers, including six of the top 10 industrial distributors, eCatalogs offered its customers an affordable way to provide industrial supplies buyers access to the product information they needed to quickly locate and purchase industrial products.

We are on a course to shape the worlds most powerful network of B2B e-commerce companies, said Walter Buckley, president and chief executive officer of ICG. ICG recognized the opportunity to revolutionize the MRO industry and formed a strategy and management team to prevail in that sector. The combination of eCatalogs and IndustrialAmerica joins high-quality content with robust technology solutions  a sure-fire force for transformation.