Building supplier invests €500k in e-commerce

4 Aug 2004

Dublin, Cork and Lisburn-based Wavin Ireland has invested over €500,000 in a new electronic trading portal in what is regarded as the first e-commerce project in Ireland’s building supplies sector. Associated Hardware Ltd has become the first retail customer to sign up for the Wavin Exchange.

Associated Hardware members who trade under the Homevalue Ireland brand are the first builders merchants to have access to the 24×7 service, with stores in Wicklow and Cork being the first to go live this week. According to a recent analysis by Irish Construction Industry Magazine it is the most productive organisation in the industry.

Wavin, a pioneer of plastic pipe systems, invested €500,000 in the site, which will allow customers to order direct from an online catalogue of over 3,500 products with 58 alternatives in terms of size and colour.

“The benefits in conducting business in this way are enormous”, said Larry Carr, Wavin Ireland’s managing director. “It will considerably enhance our customer service with an even speedier turnaround and better tracking of orders. The risk of human error with consequent knock-on effects are dramatically reduced,” he said.

Catherine Shiels, CEO of Associated Hardware Ltd, echoed this view. “The flexibility it will give our members will be invaluable. Orders can be place in real-time when it suits the retailer and there is an obvious cost saving in paperwork and the time and cost of follow-up telephone calls.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Employment Mary Harney, who launched the service, complimented both companies. “The internet has transformed businesses and economies around the world. It is bringing us closer to our markets, provides new ways of managing customer relationships and creates productivity gains.

“We have moved a long way from e-commerce awareness to e-commerce adoption as this initiative demonstrates,” Harney said.

By John Kennedy