CHICAGO — In 1995, Commerx Inc. developed one of the plastics industry's first broad commercial Web sites. Now the company wants to be a pioneer in plastics industry e-commerce.
The company, which developed the PlasticsNet.Com Internet site, recently incorporated an electronic-commerce function that allows buyers and sellers to conduct online transactions.
PlasticsNet.Com also beefed up its staff, adding five well-known industry executives, in a move designed to win supplier-firm support for the e-commerce function.
``Plastics molders need a real compelling reason to get on the Internet each day, while they're at work,'' said Nick Stojka, vice president of PlasticsNet.Com. ``Our eventual goal is to make online purchasing part of an agent's daily business habits.''
The new PlasticsNet.Com staff includes:
Mike Bogar, Midwest regional sales director. Bogar has 16 years of plastics industry experience, most recently as commercial director, the Americas, for AlliedSignal Engineering Plastics.
David Franco, vice president of supply management. Franco was commercial manager for base resins at the General Polymers Division of Ashland Distribution Co. At PlasticsNet.Com, he will orchestrate all commercial activity, business development and supply managment.
Jim Morelli, vice president of sales. He most recently was managing director for Europe for AlliedSignal Inc.'s Plastics Division. At PlasticsNet.Com, he will head the effort to recruit buyers and suppliers to the e-commerce area.
Dale Reeves, director of supply management equipment. Reeves was director of sales and marketing at the Epco Division of John Brown Plastics Machinery for injection and molding machinery remanufacturing. At PlasticsNet.Com, he will focus on machinery, replacement parts, auxiliary equipment, mold components and similar hardware. He also will lead efforts to recruit plastics processors to buy products on the site.
Cary Weldy, director of strategy development. He was marketing manager at General Polymers, and has held positions at GE Plastics and the UT Automotive unit of United Technologies Corp. In addition to developing e-commerce for PlasticsNet.Com, he will work on launching other vertical markets for Chicago-based Commerx.
PlasticsNet.Com's first e-commerce section is known as the Purchasing Center. Plastics-processor users can buy products using a credit card or by setting up an account.
Supplier firms must sign up with PlasticsNet.Com to sell products at the site. They pay a setup fee to participate, plus a transaction fee for each order. Suppliers in the system now include Van Dorn Demag Corp., which uses the site to sell replacement parts for injection molding machines, and Hanser Gardner Publications, which sells technical books and reference materials.
PlasticsNet.Com also is setting up an area in which suppliers can sell excess inventory. The area, called the Exchange, will be similar to the Purchasing Center, but will include only limited-supply items.
The e-commerce feature currently is available only to U.S. buyers, but Stojka expects that within a short period of time — maybe just a year or two — it will be an international service.
The early focus of the e-commerce section is on items that are fairly easy to ship, such as books and spare parts. But Stojka said the firm plans to sell raw materials on the site, which is one reason it hired so many experienced executives from the resin industry.
Commerx recently brought a new investor on board. Internet Capital Group is helping to finance and support PlasticsNet.Com's e-commerce efforts.
``They're providing the capital that we need to grow and recruit people,'' Stojka said.
He declined to say how much ICG invested in Commerx. ICG has offices in Wayne, Pa., and San Francisco, and has more than 25 e-commerce partner companies.
Commerx currently has about 40 employees.