You can buy and sell just about anything else on the Internet nowadays, so why not logs?
That’s what a group of 13 Olympia area entrepreneurs have set out to do through their new Internet company, e Resource Systems.com, LLC, (ESRC) which has set up a real-world office at 222 N. Capitol Way, Suite 109A in Olympia.
The limited liability corporation hopes to be active on-line in May.
The advantage to selling logs on-line at www.eresourcesystems.com is a greatly expanded market base, explains Anthony Kolb, secretary-treasurer of the company that formed in January. Kolb, who also is a broker at Hodges Commercial Real Estate, says instead of being limited to marketing logs to local mills, timber owners can look upon any mill practically anywhere in the world as a potential customer.
But just putting logs up for sale isn’t enough, says Nick Adams, president of both e Resource and Hodges. You need to provide a way for the logs to get to the buyer through transportation links, whether by ship, rail or across ground.
“We’re linking with that profit center through the marine and trucking industries,” Adams says. Roy Nott, an e Resource board member who holds a Yale MBA, is advising the company in developing seamless logistics to do the integrated rail transportation job the company’s website requires.
It’s also not enough nowadays just to set up a web shop and hope people will come, Kolb says. Potential buyers are sought out and prospective buyers are sent e-mail alerts on what’s available.
While there are sufficient numbers of local timberland owners to keep e Resource busy at first, the number of buyers is limited in South Sound, says e Resource Vice President Troy Dana. By putting logs for sale on the Internet, he’s able to expand the market for the sellers.
Dana, who previously managed the land and timber services division for Hodges, says that at the moment, e when buyers from Japan, Korea or China will post their needs on-site, including everything from what kind of trees they want to the date they want delivery.
While initially the site will focus on logs, other forest products are planned to be added onto the site.
The market efficiencies created by online selling of forest products gives the seller more options because there are so many more potential buyers, says Adams.
“There’s so much excitement in the industry about this,” he says.
Some might not have to be as aggressive in harvesting to make their operations pay, he says, while others have opportunities to sell more.
E Resource gets its revenue from both buyers and sellers, Kolb explains. Buyers pay $360 a year to subscribe for information from sales alerts to employment opportunities in the industry. Sellers, on the other hand, pay a software bidding platform fee.
By Kamilla K. McClelland, Business Examiner staff