July 2, 2001 — Schneider Electric, along with three other European partners, Rhodia, Thomson Multimedia and Usinor, have created KeyMRO, a joint company specializing in purchasing via the Internet.
The new company will purchase general and industrial goods and services not directly involved in production. Initially the company will cover Europe and the United States before expanding its business to the rest of the world in 2002.
A Schneider spokesperson says KeyMRO marks the first time that a group of industrial companies has created a company for other industrials to negotiate their purchasing via the Internet, without creating an actual marketplace.
The venture forms a relationship between e-business operators, customers and suppliers, enabling the founders to optimize purchasing and procurement processes and reduce their total costs of buying non-production goods and services.
The role of KeyMRO is to:
– select and maintain suppliers,
– co-ordinate a network of e-business operators, including the marketplace,
– negotiate a framework contract for goods and services purchasing,
– provide advice on sourcing and assistance for e-procurement projects.
KeyMRO, which is already operational, is a completely independent company with its own management team and start-up capital of four million euros. From the outset, its four founding companies have agreed to become its initial customers by contributing a minimum of 20 per cent of their global general and industrial goods and services purchasing (excluding production), representing around 12 billion euros.
Schneider Electric, which has four international brands — Merlin Gerin, Modicon, Square D and Telemecanique — manufactures equipment for electrical distribution, industrial control and automation. Rhodia provides specialty chemicals and services. Thomson Multimedia offers technologies, systems, finished products and services to the entertainment and media industries and distributes products under the Thomson and RCA brand names. Usinor is a European steelmaker.