Uniform E-Business Standard On the Way


Three standards organizations announced last week that they will cooperate to develop common e-commerce protocols for the petroleum, chemicals and agricultural industries.

The organizations – the Petroleum Industry Data Exchange, the Chemical Industry Data Exchange and RAPID – saycommon protocolswill make it easier for companies dealing in chemicals and oil products, including base oils, additives and lubricants, to buy and sell over the internet.

Despite certain business and transactional practices unique to each industry, the chemical, petroleum and agricultural industries have many common processes and practices, PIDX Chairman Randy Clark said. By jointly working toward common standards, we reduce costs and improve business operating efficiencies across our industries.

Telecommunications service providers say the growth of e-commerce has been hampered by the proliferation of operating platforms. Buyers and sellers frequently use incompatible systems that prevent simple transactions.

The situation has spawned efforts in various industries to develop standards for the programs used to pass business data between computers, the goal being to allow seamless exchanges, even between different operating systems. PIDX, CIDX and RAPID – a nonprofit trade association promoting standardized electronic connectivity in the agricultural industry – have previously undertaken their own initiatives. Now they will cooperate to try to develop a uniform standard.

The organizations still must define the scope of their project and work out details before they can set a schedule. A PIDX spokeswoman said it took 18 months to agree to the memorandum of understanding announced last week.

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