OneZone's chief executive, Catherine Calarco, says she always planned to add other industries to the service that grew out of Biolab's three-year-old direct electronic service.
But Biolab did not want OneZone, now set up as a separate company, to get into “the IT box business" – so it chose a hosted model from esolutions using Ariba software and built by Arthur Andersen.
After an order is made, goods are sent direct from the different suppliers to the buyers. At the moment, invoicing is done the normal way – but OneZone is looking at buyers in the future receiving one invoice, or offering a payment service online.
How Biolab “clips the ticket” is still being discussed with the piloting suppliers and buyers. The platform has the ability to hook back into customer’s ERP systems, updating data in real time, using XML and Microsoft BizTalk messaging. Buyers use a “dummy-proof” browser interface, negating the need for much training. Staff buyers only see the stock of suppliers their bosses want them to, and have different levels of authority. Suppliers have control over orders and stock using a more complex, dialogue box-based interface.
Biolab plans to open an Australian version of OneZone, but is still finalising the business model, considering questions such as where to host it from, Calarco says.