A plastic resin broker has joined forces with an Internet firm in an attempt to swap his telephone lines for a computer network. Able Plastics, based in Marietta, Ga., was acquired in mid-January by NetVendor Inc., a supplier of business-to-business commerce sites to trade parts and resin.
With the purchase, NetVendor has rolled out PlasticsBIN.com, a trading source for surplus plastic inventory and scrap. Able Plastics founder Barry Shemaria has joined NetVendor as plastics industry director and will help launch the new trading site.
The move from traditional resin brokering to a Web-based service was inevitable for Able, Shemaria said. The 13-year-old supplier of thermoplastic regrind had difficulty keeping up with changes in volume and capacity through traditional methods, he said.
"Finding matches has long been a major struggle in our business," Shemaria said. "We're limited by the ability to make phone calls to keep databases current. What we have to buy and sell is constantly changing, and we felt the Internet was the perfect vehicle to make changes in real time."
NetVendor has talked to a number of other brokers interested in working with the Web company, Shemaria said. Terms of the Able sale were not disclosed.
The acquisition of the four-employee resin brokerage will help differentiate NetVendor as it grows in size, said Neal Solomon, vice president of industry at Atlanta-based NetVendor.
The company's Internet trading exchange is only a year old. But already, it has grown from five employees in 1999 to 100 this year, said spokesman Stuart Smith. The firm plans an initial public offering later this year, Smith said.
The PlasticsBIN.com site is one of three independent trading sites — including sites for automotive and electronic parts — launched by the company.
Shemaria will gradually move from traditional resin brokering, through NetVendor's site, to a Web-based exchange. Most customers are not yet ready to buy and sell all resin strictly through a Web site with no outside involvement, Solomon said.
"The ultimate low-touch model is to click on, be there, buy resin and get it shipped," Solomon said. "But it will be a long while until it works. Currently, relationships are still extremely important, as is a level of personal service provided to sellers."
NetVendor plans eventually to add a private exchange on its plastics site, where resin sellers can specify which companies they want to use. Buyers will be given a user identification number and password to enter the site.
Currently, resin buying at NetVendor is done through a public exchange, where the two parties are unaware of each other. Buyers search for resin attributes and a database is scanned for matches.