A new company, Clinton, Mass.-based HummingbirdColors.com, is using the Web in a novel way: to serve up dollops of thermoplastic color masterbatches.
"Most companies can't afford to put a sales guy on the road chasing orders of 200-500 pounds," said President Jim Mihalich, a former executive with colorant manufacturer Spectra Polymer Co. "E-commerce is the only way to reach all people."
The site went online Dec. 1 with a staff of five. The company is mixing its own color lots at a leased, 5,000-square-foot plant in Clinton. The goal is to ship stock and custom colors within 48 hours after customers make Web purchases.
The company will stick with small orders, generally those under 1,000 pounds, to assist in prototypes or small-volume production. Most color compounders cannot afford to do that once they make large equipment investments, Mihalich said.
"They start there and grow, and end up like everyone else," he said.
Executive decisions: Plastics industry veteran Jim Morelli joined online company Conferos Inc. on Dec. 1 as chief executive officer.
Morelli worked for more than 15 years as an executive with GE Plastics and AlliedSignal Corp.'s Plastics Division. He's no stranger to the dot-com world, having worked as vice president of sales with Commerx Inc. and its PlasticsNet Web site before leaving this fall.
Commerx changed business models, becoming a service provider, and Morelli said he savored the challenge of working with an emerging technology.
Waltham, Mass.-based Conferos is creating Web-based design-collaboration tools that allow engineers worldwide to develop products jointly.
The site, www.conferos.com, went live Nov. 29. But Morelli cautioned that the company still must conduct beta testing for as long as 120 days. The company wants to tweak functions and navigation.
"We're in the technology scale-up phase," he said. "It's pretty leading-edge stuff. But we don't want to make it rocket science for people to use."
Live from Atlanta: Omnexus, an Internet plastics trading company for injection and blow molders, began conducting live transactions Nov. 30.
Presently, thermoplastic resins can be purchased by passing through the upgraded site's main artery.
The site, www.omnexus.com, is stage one for Atlanta-based Omnexus as it attempts to build a central portal and draw processors worldwide.
Pryweller, an Akron, Ohio-based senior reporter for Plastics News, covers e-business and mold making.