11 April 2002 | Robin Parker
An electronic trading exchange for the construction industry has been launched with the backing of six large contractors.
Alfred McAlpine, AMEC, Carillion, McNicholas Construction, Mowlem and Taylor Woodrow have signed up to the Tradex service, devised by software vendor Causeway.
The exchange allows supply chain partners to send invoices and other documents electronically, with all information held in a central archiving hub.
Users can pull out order numbers from the hub and match their invoice numbers within their own enterprise resource planning systems or check authorised clearances of despatch notes, and conduct data and project analyses.
Documents are based on the XML standard, and companies throughout the supply chain can control users' access to view, download or send items on customised platforms.
Tim Cole, vice-president of strategic development at Causeway, said that Tradex has been designed so that companies of all sizes in the construction industry can use it.
"It brings depth to the supply chain, as companies want to be not only technically competent themselves, but want their entire construction processes to be good enough too.
"And by using XML, it will be easier for suppliers of any size to get involved."
The six contractors are starting to get their key suppliers on board in a bid to reduce the two to three million paper documents they handle each year.