The Internet investment bubble may have burst, and some twenty-something ex-billionaires may have moved back in with their parents, but the "dot-com thing" is definitely not over. One of its important legacies, electronic commerce, is just getting going. Increasing numbers of plastics resins and additives suppliers are joining on-line purchasing networks and/or offering that capability on their own websites. Numerous machine builders allow on-line ordering of spare parts, auxiliary equipment, and components. On-line purchasing of larger equipment may not be far behind. Suppliers of tooling components are also migrating to the Web, and those that haven't are being pressured by their customers to follow suit.
Your suppliers are obviously enthusiastic about e-commerce, and they say you will find it an added convenience and a cost-saver, too. I don't doubt that they're right, but I'd like to hear it straight from processors themselves.
I'd like to know whether e-commerce works equally well for big-volume customers and for smaller spot purchasers. Do processors find any advantages or disadvantages in using third-party, multi-supplier purchasing sites versus single-company websites? Is e-buying more appropriate for some products than others?
Some of you will soon receive a questionnaire asking you about your experiences with on-line purchasing in the plastics field. Please take a few moments to fill it out. Even if you have never tried e-commerce, please say so on the questionnaire and send it back—we want to know whether e-purchasing has affected many of you or just a few. And even if you don't get a questionnaire, if you are willing to talk about your e-commerce experiences—good or bad—please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and give me your phone number. Look for the results of this survey in our May issue.