by Jeffrey Burt
Eight leading metals companies on Tuesday joined the growing list of industries that have created their own
Internet business-to-business exchange.
04 May 2000 - MetalSpectrum.com, an online site for
manufacturers, distributors and customers in the $200 billion global specialty metals industry, is the creation
of Alcoa Inc., Allegheny Technologies, Kaiser Aluminum, North American Stainless, Olin Corp., Reynolds Aluminum
Supply Company, Thyssen Inc. and Vincent Metal Goods/Atlas Ideal Metals.
Officials from the companies expect the new site, scheduled to be fully operational by September, to result
in greater market reach and reduced expenses by cutting the cost of materials and the amount of inventory sitting
Under agreements among the eight initial partners, the electronic marketplace will give all parties in the supply-and-demand
chain equal access to a wide range of specialty metals, from aluminum and copper to stainless steel, brass, nickel
alloys and titanium.
Initially, MetalSpectrum.com will include a prime metals catalog, which will be a comprehensive product listing;
an MRO catalog, which will allow companies to buy maintenance, repair and operating supplies; and forward and reverse
auctions, where companies can buy and sell products. The latter also will serve as a platform for elec-tronic requests
Eventually, the site will provide support for transactions, including financing and reporting services.
The group has yet to decide on the technology that will run the site. That decision will be announced in two
MetalSpectrum currently is being run by a board that comprises representatives from each of the eight partners.
Robert Weatherbee, the interim director of the electronic business group at Alcoa, has been named acting CEO.
During the announcement in Atlanta, officials with the companies said MetalSpectrum will be a neutral site that
will be open to all buyers and sellers with no preferen-tial treatment to any of the partners.
One analyst said the partners have one of the key components for such a venture - deep expertise in the market
and supply chain.
"We'll have to wait until September to see how this all works out," said Nelly Zaharinov, an analyst
of the supply chain services markets with International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass. "They've committed
to the plan. Now we have to wait on the execution, and that's not easy."
The announcement by the metals companies follows a number of similar electronic marketplace partnerships, including
two sites in the steel industry, MetalSite.com and e-Steel.com.
On Monday, a dozen computer makers and suppliers -- including Compaq Computer Corp., Gateway Inc. and Hewlett-Packard
Co. -- announced a $100
million plan to create an open exchange to increase the efficiency of their supply chains.