DETROIT - FreeMarkets Inc. is offering a do-it-yourself alternative to its global business-to-business e-marketplace.
Called QuickSource, the tool allows a company to conduct its own Web-based auctions with little or no help from FreeMarkets, said Kent Parker, FreeMarkets vice president and general manager of the automotive sector.
FreeMarkets, of Pittsburgh, has made its mark with its FreeMarkets B2B Global Marketplace. More than 9,300 suppliers from various industries have used this e-marketplace to buy $14 billion worth of parts, commodities and services since its debut.
But FreeMarkets recognized that some companies want to do some lower-end purchasing via their own Web-based marketplace, Parker said. QuickSource was developed as an alternative and can be run from a purchasing director's desktop computer.
Companies typically will use QuickSource for auctions that involve goods or services valued at $750,000 or less.
Several of FreeMarkets' automotive customers already are using it, he said.
'It's a self-service product for customers who have worked with us for a long time,' said Parker, who is in FreeMarkets' Farmington Hills, Mich., office. 'Now they can pick and choose their sourcing tools. QuickSource users already know how to work in an e-marketplace environment.'
QuickSource typically will be used to buy nonstrategic parts, materials and office supplies. The tool debuted at the SAE World Congress last week.
A company might choose QuickSource over the full-service FreeMarkets B2B Global Marketplace for recurring bidding - such as quarterly bidding on materials, Parker said. Such a company may not be invi-ting bids from new suppliers, he said.
The pricing structure for QuickSource is different from that of FreeMarkets.
Users pay a monthly or annual hosting fee to FreeMarkets as the applications service provider. However, customers who use FreeMarkets' full-service e-marketplace pay a fee based on the volume of goods and services purchased through the marketplace.
QuickSource is a customer-branded tool, Parker said.
It is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It includes the most popular online bidding formats, including reverse auctions and sealed bidding.
Customers can use QuickSource to create and distribute electronic requests for quotes, using their own documentation or with standard templates.
FreeMarkets provides optional on-site training for the company's purchasing staff, Parker said.
FreeMarkets competes with Co-visint, the e-marketplace conceived in 2000 by Ford Motor Co., General Motors and DaimlerChrysler.
While the first auction using Co-visint was in October 2000, FreeMarkets has been conducting online auctions since 1995.
FreeMarkets collectively has saved its customers more than $2.7 billion on the $14 billion worth of goods and services pushed through its Web auctions, Parker said.
Covisint, from its inception, has said it expects to handle purchasing of goods and services worth at least $250 billion annually.
Automotive suppliers will use multiple e-marketplaces, Parker said.
'There is no one-marketplace solution,' he said. 'There will be key marketplaces.'