29 Jul 2004

What is it?
It’s a directory site that brings the local manufacturing marketplace to the world.

Who is it for?
The site is aimed at both local and international buyers seeking prompt, concise access to suppliers and partners. For example, the materials purchasing manager of a local multinational seeking a local sub-supplier could find it very handy. Local manufacturers seeking to sell to big customers could use the site to identify potential partners to form linkages.

What features does it contain?
In many ways it’s the Outlook/Lotus Notes address book of your dreams, insofar as the information contained appears to be up to date and easy to access. As mentioned, the site is constantly updated and company information in its database is filed by company names, contacts, products and regions. The site also boasts a nifty search engine if you want to spare yourself some browsing. You get the feeling that the people behind the site are doing their best to foster a community spirit in the site as it already boasts a bulletin-board forum on a range of issues impacting local manufacturing and supply. The site owners are currently compiling a series of notes enabling manufacturers and suppliers to avoid the growing threat of fraudulent orders and requests from outside the EU. As well as this, the site claims to be committed to combating spam and accordingly all email addresses on site have been converted to Unicode. This code is visible to all browsers but isn’t recognised by the email harvesting programs that are responsible for most spam emails. The site also contains useful economic data about Ireland and links to other useful directories and sites.

How does it look?
Subtly slick. The site is no-frills in terms of design but still tastefully current in appearance.

Best feature?
The best feature about this site is another subtle design trick. Along the right-hand side of the page is an A-Z address book guide, which reinforces the feeling of a personal address book of manufacturing company names. It’s definitely worth bookmarking if you believe in speedy access to names.

The verdict?
The site owners have found their way inside the minds of export-oriented local manufacturers as well as buyers looking for a speedy solution to their supply problems. Clearly, it is still early days in terms of content, but there is a definite feeling that this is a site on the move.

By John Kennedy