30 October 2002 | Robin Parker
Utility industry e-marketplace Eutilia is to develop a directory of up to 3,000 international suppliers over the next year.
The database will accumulate supplier responses to detailed questionnaires usually sent out by individual utility companies, enabling would-be buyers to search for a wide range of specific criteria.
By aggregating such surveys into a single format, Eutilia expects to attract suppliers by offering a one-off fee of about 1,200 euros. It aims to register about 1,000 suppliers by the end of this year.
The service builds on Eutilia's Supplier Scan, which helps individual customers conduct a market analysis to identify suppliers of a specific commodity or service.
In several of its first 20 such projects, Eutilia has helped customers introduce new bidders into online tenders and auctions, helping to force down the prices of incumbent suppliers.
Jean-Philippe Massin, recently appointed chief executive of Eutilia, said he expects Supplier Scan to be used less frequently as the database becomes a standard, but it will not be phased out entirely.
"We have been very successful in building our marketplace model over the past two years, but we have been lacking a utility-specific service," he said.
"Supplier Scan went some way towards this but on an individual basis and because it allows customers to ask their own specific questions, it can still help them manage isolated contracts."
Eutilia will also develop online question-and-answer forums in the next year as a first step to creating more of a community between buyers and suppliers.
More than 1 billion euros has so far been transacted on the marketplace, whose customer base comprises 15 large European utility firms.