Health, science B2B spans Tasman

  • Helen Han (Computerworld)
  • 01 February, 2001 07:49

New Zealand laboratory and scientific materials supplier Selby-Biolab will launch a trans-Tasman trading exchange this month, aimed at cutting procurement and business processes costs for health and science companies.

Caroline Calarco, e-business general manager of Selby-Biolab (a merger between NZ companies Selby Scientific and Biolab Scientific, which reportedly form the largest trans-Tasman scientific distribution network) claims the exchange will play more than a mere middleman role.

"The value we will add will come from process improvements and cost reduction. We can do that by building e-business efficiencies into the supply chain, without sacrificing our customers' preferred supplier relationships," she said.

Calarco said this meant that customers need not invest in their own systems, but would be free to focus on their own core business of research, manufacturing or education services.

She said other foreseeable customer benefits lie in having a single access point for multiple suppliers, aggregation of buying power, less "maverick buying" through customised access, and stronger reporting on order and spend status through better systems integration.

The exchange is an extension of Selby-Biolab's first foray into e-commerce, adding a distribution channel to an existing online warehouse Selby Online (known in New Zealand as Biloab.Direct).

Details on Selby-Biolab's initial investment in the exchange were not disclosed.

The marketplace will go live here and in New Zealand this month, offering a line of medical and laboratory testing instruments ranging from stethoscopes to beakers. The range will diversify into gas and engineering supplies, stationery, computers, software and peripherals, and travel services, a company statement said.

The first principal suppliers include resellers Computerland and Dick Smith Electronics and Australiasian office supply companies Corporate Express and OTC Office Products.

Suppliers that join the hub can expect to acquire customers at low cost, increase business volumes, lower their transaction costs, and access better quality of data for supply chain management, Calarco said.

A customer advisory group of New Zealand customers like AgResearch (a health service provider and university) will help refine the marketplace model, which has been developed over the last two and a half years. Details on local customers have not been released yet.

The exchange will run on Ariba software and be hosted by Telecom New Zealand's application services provider arm and virtual B2B solution provider Esolutions. The hub was designed by Arthur Andersen.

The Selby-Biolab marketplace is one of several B2B trading hubs in the trans-Tasman region, some of which include Pacific Health, ExChange, PEG, MedWeb, and Med-E-Serv.