05 July 2001 | Robin Parker
A new e-procurement portal will give buyers of custom-made engineering components access to an international network of suppliers.
Using the latest version of procurement specialist First Index's sourcing service, findFAST Online 2.0, purchasers can search a directory of more than 40,000 suppliers, including 18,000 in the UK, giving contact details and standard information on their production skills.
While the basic online service is accessible through the group's public access website, buyers and suppliers wishing to trade on the site pay an annual registration fee. Rather than paying for individual transactions, they can make live requests for quotes free of charge, which are automatically sent either by e-mail or fax.
The site also allows buyers to maintain their own preferred supplier database, which can be updated to source specific future projects without repeatedly going through the directory.
The strength of the service is in the bespoke nature of the components, which speeds up an often lengthy search process, said John Holden, FindFAST's marketing director. "This level of specialised service is very difficult to do online and I think we are unique in offering it," he said.
The site covers First Index's international operations in Germany and the US. The public area of the website hosts news coverage, a calendar of engineering industry events, and links to other sites of interest.
* First Index's website is at www.firstindex.co.uk