Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

This chapter is from the book

Horizontal e-markets

Horizontal trading communities, on the other hand, cut across the boundaries of industries and focus on broad categories of goods—office supplies, furniture, travel services, janitorial help—that are common to large numbers of cross-industry organizations. Horizontal e-markets are often sponsored by e-procurement software groups or leaders in specific areas of these types of indirect goods and service provision. Horizontal exchanges have, at least in the past, been driven primarily by indirect materials and tend to develop in highly fragmented markets.

W.W. Grainger, the powerful MRO supplies group, provides a perfect example of the horizontal trading community. Their exchange, OrderZone.com, went online in May 1999, and provides a single Web portal that gives customers access to six industry-leading MRO suppliers. The service includes online ordering and invoicing and provides customers with a single point of contact for access to a wide variety of indirect products. Only one registration on this single Web site is necessary to gain access to not only Grainger.com and its MRO catalogs, but to catalogs of other leading indirect suppliers for items such as office and computer supplies, laboratory equipment, and uniforms.

Some would also contend that companies such as Ariba and Commerce One are in fact not only software providers, but horizontal exchanges as well, in that they provide a trading community for a broad spectrum of suppliers of ORM and MRO materials, regardless of vertical industry. For example, Office Depot has aligned with Commerce One's MarketSite to provide an online trading community for their ORM goods in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan. Ariba has purchased SupplierMarket.com, which is an online marketplace for manufacturing materials. The fact that various vertical industry exchanges have begun to use their software and exchange networks means that the lines between vertical and horizontal markets are blurred even farther.

There are a number of variations on this central theme, but basically all of these groups—whether known as trading hubs, exchanges, or e-markets—are focused on creating a global electronic hub based upon their single, industry-focused portal, which will provide seamless integration through the entire supply chain, allowing buyers and suppliers of every size and type, and from any country, to transact all their business through a single electronic marketplace. Supported by a broad mix of hardware, software, communications, and industry specialist companies, they differ significantly—in focus, size, level of service, and market—and range from enormously powerful collaborations between automakers to tiny e-marketplace hubs for buying specialty products, such as motorboat equipment or wine.


In business since 1927, W.W. Grainger, Inc. has a number of Web properties, but Grainger.com is the granddaddy of them all (in terms of sales as well as time on the Net). In 1999, Grainger had $4.5 billion in sales, with more than $100 million over the Web, the majority of which was placed through Grainger.com.

More than 560,000 brand name maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) supplies are offered at Grainger.com, with a growing number of Grainger's 1.5 million customers actively ordering online. The Web site continues the same kind of customer service and wide range of industrial products provided in the traditional business, with the additional convenience of 24/7 ordering.

This convenience is what first hooked Isaac Pendarvis, assistant buyer for BFGoodrich Aerospace in Pueblo, Colorado. As Pendarvis says, "I'd known about Grainger since I was a kid, so one day I was on the Internet and tried out their site and was hooked. It's one of the most convenient and easy sites to use."

Pendarvis makes purchases for the entire BFGoodrich plant of approximately 250 employees. He used to call in orders to suppliers, give the salesperson a part number, and wait until the price could be pulled up. There was also the chance that numbers could be transposed. Now he can place orders online in a matter of minutes, and his display has BFGoodrich's pricing built in. Pendarvis claims he can get just about anything he needs from Grainger.com. "They interface with other suppliers," he says, "so if I need something specific that they don't normally carry, they'll research and find the items through their FindMRO.com site, and with their buying power, they can get better prices than I can, so I save money as well as time."

BFGoodrich has achieved additional savings from the tremendous decrease in paperwork. Individuals in each department now have access to purchasing cards (P-cards), which allow them to do some of their own ordering. "Before, we had to issue purchase orders for every little thing," says Pendarvis, "but now employees with P-cards and passwords can place orders according to the spending limits that have been set up for their positions."

Last year, the BFGoodrich Pueblo operation made $100,000 in purchases from Grainger.com, which reflects a 10 to 15 percent savings. BFGoodrich has now signed a companywide enterprise agreement that allows every BFGoodrich facility in the country to order through Grainger.com, with an expected savings of at least 10 percent....

In fact, a good deal of criticism has been leveled already at some of these exchanges—both large and small—because it is alleged that they are simply industry leaders who, although experts in the provision of goods and services to their own markets, understand little about technology or the complex interaction of software and new business processes over the Internet. Accordingly, almost every trading hub and exchange is moving toward becoming a consortium of various ASPs, software vendors, and other third-party support organizations. Many e-marketplaces are in fact now run by ASPs.

All of these types of trading hubs typically make their money by charging a 1% to 15% fee for each transaction, depending on volume and materials being sold. Even then, the buyer usually comes out well ahead-often saving up to 40% on the price they would have paid through their traditional distribution channels3.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020