A metals e-commerce success story

G.O. Carlson Inc. has developed an e-commerce system to serve the needs of cut-to-order specialty metals plate users. Called CQO2 (Customised Quotes and Orders Online), its success has bucked the trend of dot.com failures. G.O. Carlson Inc. is a producer of stainless steel, nickel alloy, titanium and copper-nickel alloy plate and plate products. Its president, H.L. (Kep) Kephart, envisioned an e-commerce platform for specialty plate products that targeted the cut piece market. “In studying the emerging metals e-commerce initiatives back in 1999, we quickly recognised that neither auctions nor catalogues could ever satisfy the unique needs of the bill-of-material customer. My idea was to develop an instantaneous, on-line quoting and ordering system built around the business concepts we had successfully computerised for our in-house operations over the previous 15 years.â€? CQO2 was developed entirely in-house and introduced to the market place on 6 September 2000. CQO2 provides instantaneous customised quotations for cut-to-order and random length items in any combination of materials, grades, thicknesses, product forms, dimensions, cutting methods, tolerances, shipping times and delivery points. Within six weeks of its launch, CQO2 was generating positive cash flow. Currently, the system has 1400 individual users from over 900 registered companies, and the list continues to grow daily.

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