e-marketplace Exostar completed a formidable line-up of industry heavyweights when Rolls-Royce joined as its fifth founding partner.
The UK engineering giant’s decision to take a 17% stake in the online venture was announced at last week’s Paris Air Show.
Rolls-Royce joins BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon in the Exostar consortium, along with e-business technology provider Commerce One, which also has a stake.
Rolls-Royce said Exostar would become a major platform to help it do business with its suppliers, and highlighted opportunities for increased design collaboration as a particular benefit.
Chief executive John Rose said: ‘Exostar will allow design teams to hold shared, secure information which can receive input from around the world.
‘This will allow us to bring ideas to life more quickly, enabling a rapid response to customer requirements.’
Rolls-Royce indicated it would continue to develop separate customer-facing e-business services such as aeromanager.com and enginedatacentre.com. These are provided by its joint venture company Data Systems & Solutions.
BAE Systems – until now Exostar’s sole European founding partner – was upbeat about the decision of its fellow UK behemoth to join.
‘We’re delighted’ said Rod Leggetter, group procurement and IT director. ‘Having two of the leading Europe-based aerospace companies on board will significantly strengthen Exostar’s presence.’
Buoyed by the news, Exostar used the Paris show to release details of an expanded range of services for industry participants.
It eventually plans to connect more than 300 procurement systems used by the five founders in 20 countries, and involve more than 4,000 suppliers.
The e-marketplace aims to be accessible to buyers and sellers at all stages of the supply chain, and will offer a customisable set of applications.
These include ProcurePass, which allows users to tap into Exostar’s supplier database to purchase products via a standard browser and internet connection.
Exostar said this would offer a low-cost way into e-procurement for companies without complex back-end enterprise resource planning systems.
Another service called Publisher is designed to help companies build electronic catalogues.
Exostar estimates the value of global transactions in the aerospace and defence industries at $400bn.