LOUISVILLE, Ky.-The International Tire & Rubber Association plans a Jan. 1 launch of a new Internet-based service by which tire-industry suppliers can market their products and services over the World Wide Web.
ITRA's new ``Internet Marketplace'' accessed through the association's Web site, www.itra.com, will include a searchable database containing more than 240 product and service categories as well as direct links to supplier Web sites and e-mail addresses, the association said.
ITRA President Tom Raben of Raben Tire Co., Evansville, Ind., said the site will provide visitors with ``one-stop shopping'' for virtually all types of industry-related products and services.
``It represents a unique opportunity for suppliers and manufacturers who wish to participate in the modern global economy,'' he said. Mr. Raben added that ITRA's Web site presently averages more than 100 visitors a day, some from more than 100 countries.
Training Director Kevin Rohlwing, one of several ITRA staff members who have worked over the past 18 months to develop the project, said the site will furnish a means of getting industry buyers and suppliers together now that the association-sponsored World ITRA Expo has gone to an every-other-year schedule. The next such event-still two years off-is scheduled for March 27-29, 2003 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville.
According to the group's Oct. 23 announcement, users will have access to the Internet marketplace without cost, and visiting ITRA members will be able to skip the registration process once they have entered a specific user name and password. Following that initial visit, the site will recognize members' e-mail addresses, thereby allowing them immediate access to its search engine and the company listings.
By using the site's search engine, prospective buyers can call up a list of suppliers for each product or service category of interest. Then,
after selecting the name of one of the companies on the list, they will be given information on how to contact it, including the firm's mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address and the use of a so-called ``hot link'' that takes users directly to that firm's Web site.
ITRA said interested suppliers will be offered a variety of purchasing options when determining how they wish to be represented on the site.
The association's most basic sales package, starting at approximately $1,500 per year, will include an automatic listing of the supplier's name in each applicable product or service category, plus a direct link to the company's site and/or e-mail address.
For about $500 more, participating firms can add to these basic features the ability to include a self-written ``company profile,'' which can include the use of a color logo and a 500-word description of the firm's products and services. The site also will sell banner ads, ITRA said.