ATLANTA (Dec. 6, 12 p.m. EST) — Omnexus and Elemica, two of the larger dot-coms in the plastics and chemicals industries, respectively, have formed an alliance to develop technology that can connect customers directly to a broader sweep of products.
The agreement, announced Dec. 3, will eventually allow a processor or chemical and resin suppliers to trade goods using a single point of connectivity, said David Jukes, senior vice president of global commercial organization at Omnexus' U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
That hub-to-hub connectivity could take six months or so to develop, Jukes said. But the first step has been accomplished. The two companies are sharing technology to fill in the gaps in their current offerings, he said.
“It would be a waste of money … for us to go off on individual tracks for the same purpose,” he said. “Instead, we're combining resources to fight a common enemy of adoption and the cost of technology.”
Omnexus, based in Zurich, Switzerland, offers an electronic procurement marketplace for processors. Customers can compare prices and grades from a variety of resin and equipment suppliers and then order the products in a single shopping cart.
The company has been searching for technology that will integrate its processors' enterprise-resource planning systems — basically, their computer systems — to directly reach a wider network in the chemicals and plastics industries, Jukes said.
Wayne, Pa.-based Elemica already offers that function. The firm offers what it calls a dial tone to chemical companies, allowing them to trade from each other over one computer system, said Elemica spokesman Vance Gray.
Omnexus and Elemica have many common members, including BASF Corp., Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, Bayer AG and DSM. Those companies were asking for a broader solution, Gray said.
“We'll have a technology backbone running through the chemicals and plastics industry,” Gray said. “It will make choices easier for chemicals and plastics companies.”
Elemica also owns dot-com Elastomer Solutions, which offer online purchases of elastomer products. Omnexus customers eventually will have direct access to that site, and to the purchase of colorants, pigments and additives sold through Elemica, Jukes said.
Elemica had been searching for e-procurement technology and had even formed an advisory panel to explore options, Gray said.