SAP, partners plan engineering Web exchange

SAPMarkets, a subsidiary of German business software supplier SAP, is forming a joint venture to offer an online exchange for plant and mechanical engineering companies.

          SAPMarkets, a subsidiary of German business software supplier SAP, is forming a joint venture to offer an online exchange for plant and mechanical engineering companies.

          The SAP unit is teaming up with engineering companies Babcock Borsig and MG Technologies to offer what it is calling a "global marketplace," built on the company's Internet-based MySAP.com software, SAP said this week.

          The project follows a number of similar exchanges already developed for different industries, says SAP spokeswoman Sonja Filser.

          "We have a marketplace for the real estate industry, the health care industry, also the chemical and pharmaceutical marketplace," she says.

          Filser says the worldwide market for materials in the engineering industry is valued at over $US800 billion, and that the new service, called ec4ec (e-commerce for engineered components) will help optimise efficiency for businesses in choosing suppliers and buying raw materials.

          The service will go online in October, Filser says. At first it will be used by Babcock Borsig and MG Technologies, but other companies in the industry are also invited to join, as founding members, associate members or participants.

          "The founders would, for example, invest in the marketplace joint venture; the associate members have also the opportunity to invest in the marketplace, but in a second project phase, and the participants would be usually small and medium size companies," she says.

          Filser says she does not have any figures on the size of the investment a company would have to make in order to join the project.

          Jens Schreiber, a spokesman for MG, says his company has already teamed up with SAP to build an online chemicals marketplace called Cheop (chemical opportunities), which was launched in October 1999.

          "You can realise a couple of benefits" from online exchanges, he says, naming cost reduction as one.

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