Fresh from gaining new WebEDI-based business with near-neighbour BMW in July, SupplyOn, the Munich, Germany-based e-marketplace has secured a further contract which extends its business relationship with the OEM significantly.

The July deal involved a new call off process for prototype parts, based on the SupplyOn internet platform. Around 400 suppliers are being linked to BMW's Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ - Forschungs-und Innovationszentrum) as well as prototype departments at a number of BMW plants.

The new deal, the first of its type with a vehicle manufacturer, will be implemented in December and involves integration of the SupplyOn platform with BMW's supplier portal.

This means that, as from December, any supplier registered in the BMW portal who wants to use the EDI functionality of SupplyOn can do so with one click, being automatically redirected to SupplyOn with a single sign-on.

This seamless linking of OEM portal and external marketplace, which BMW refers to as a hybrid strategy, should be repeatable with further OEM and other clients in the future.

The technology has potential with any OEM or supplier that has a dedicated portal providing an interface with suppliers, especially where the portal has limited functionality compared with the integrated marketplace solution available from SupplyOn.

A key to SupplyOn's recent growth has been flexibility - the ability to tailor functionality and cost to individual client needs, rather that a one-fits-all strategy.

The new technology and infrastructure created to deliver the new deal with BMW extends this flexibility further, allowing BMW to retain functionality in some areas but to 'outsource' in others, dispensing with the need for multiple usernames and passwords in the process.

SupplyOn's pricing model has also been given a further tweak in order to advance flexibility a step further. This adjustment was introduced on 1st October.

Companies who now want to use SupplyOn services may choose between an 'easy-entry' offer and an 'all-embracing' offer. The price follows the external company sales benchmark system already in place, whereby fees are based on a sliding scale depending on turnover.

The easy entry option for new customers with turnover below €1m a year, now allows them to use one package of services (Sourcing/DMS; Supply Chain Management; or Quality Management) free of charge with one of their customers.

For new customers with sales above this level, the fee scale is half what it is for users of the unrestricted, all-embracing package. New customers can thus use the first application free of charge to get to know SupplyOn's services and functionality, but subsequent migration to further, fee-paying services must be the ultimate objective.