The following briefs were gathered by Plastics News correspondent Bill Henson from the International Housewares Show held Jan. 11-14 in Chicago.
Internet trading pool for suppliers deepens
A year after introducing an entry-level Internet service for electronic data interchange with supplier firms, General Electric Co.'s TradeWeb [http://www. geis.com] has a trading partner directory of 45,000-50,000 companies, according to a spokeswoman.
The product from Rockville, Md.-based GE Information Services Inc. costs about $650 on an annual basis, according to Carol Elliott, a business development manager in GE's Chicago office.
``The intention is to target smaller suppliers who do not have the wherewithal to do full-blown EDI,'' Elliott said in a Jan. 12 interview at GE's booth.
The electronic service uses the standard networking and connectivity of the Internet to interact with the computer systems employed by companies. Security is provided by an end-to-end mutual authentication process and data and session encryption technology.
``Chrysler Corp. has chosen the service for third- and fourth-tier suppliers,'' said Elliott, who estimated that pool encompasses about 9,000 small businesses.
Coating producer to open Italy office
Whitford Corp., a manufacturer of fluoropolymer coatings for the cookware market, will open a sales office in Milan, Italy, by the end of January.
A spokeswoman said Italy will be the 10th country in which West Chester, Pa.-based Whitford maintains offices.
Housewares group seeks law reform
John Meier, chairman and chief executive officer of Toledo, Ohio-based Libbey Inc. and 1997-98 chairman of the National Housewares Manufacturers Association in Rosemont, Ill., said the group will continue to pursue changes in the federal bankruptcy law.
``Our lead issue is bankruptcy law reform,'' Meier said at the group's annual industry breakfast Jan. 12 at McCormick Place.
Meier said the current law is not fair to suppliers. Debtors are able to ``load up'' on suppliers' goods prior to the start of a bankruptcy case, according to NHMA. The group also is concerned about time limits on reclamation rights and the priority given to secured lenders over suppliers' reclamation claims.
NHMA is developing draft legislation more favorable to its members and will present it to the leaders of Congress in the first quarter this year, according to Meier.
Chicago authority begins hotel project
Chicago's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority is building a 32-story, $108 million hotel at McCormick Place that will be managed by Atlanta-based Hyatt Corp. and called the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.
The hotel is scheduled to open this summer. The facility will offer 750 regular guest rooms and 50 hospitality suites, a 12,000-square-foot ballroom and an indoor swimming pool.
A Hyatt spokesman says the hotel is being constructed on McCormick Place property and connected to the convention facility's Grand Concourse, a pedestrian walkway that links all three of McCormick Place's three exposition buildings.
The National Housewares Manufacturers Association provided attendees with one of the more telling bytes of demographic research into consumer lifestyles: More Americans eat breakfast in their automobile than at home during a typical week.