MIAMI, FL — For all the talk of e-commerce, the distribution chain of the hvacr market has been relatively slow to tap into the economies and efficiencies it promises.

If the new technology works as advertised, contractor customers of Watsco, the huge, $1.5 billion hvacr wholesaler, will experience improvements in product delivery and data processing.

The company announced last week that it has formed alliances with four providers of Internet business-to-business (B2B) services. They are Ariba, Inc.; Commerce One, Inc.; Intelisys Electronic Commerce, Inc.; and Cephren, Inc.

The systems will enhance the increasingly complex online purchasing transaction, said Watsco chairman Al Nahmad. It “pushes the boundaries of traditional purchasing and procurement activities,” he said.

The wholesaler will be the premier supplier to the Commerce One MarketSite Global Trading Portal, used for exchanging goods and services among businesses worldwide.

This system automates the complete supply chain of indirect goods and services from requisition to payment. The agreement also streamlines buyers’ abilities to access purchasing services like those of larger proprietary transactions.

Also available is an e-commerce framework representing customers in more than 800 firms and 10,000 registered users on five continents, with a construction value of more than $40 billion and over $1.5 billion in potential online procurement transactions annually.