FreeMarkets said Monday that it has renewed contracts for its online auction services and software with DuPont and J&L Specialty Steel, a subsidiary of The Arcelor Group. The company plans to release a new version of its software, which allows companies to negotiate prices and other contract terms with suppliers via the Web, in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian next month.
FreeMarkets also plans to introduce new training courses to encourage customers to use its tools more effectively and to take advantage of new contract terms and pricing they negotiate through its auctions. Some companies wait months or never get around to purchasing from new suppliers because of unanticipated switching costs and close relationships with incumbent suppliers. "It does represent a change," said Rebecca Thompson, vice president of marketing at FreeMarkets. "Most buyers are used to an old-fashioned handshake."