Compiled ByDoug Bartholomew Private online exchanges continue to attract the interest of manufacturers seeking to streamline connections with customers and suppliers. Melbourne, Australia-based steelmaker BHP Steel, with worldwide sales of more than US$3.9 billion (A$7.4 billion), has launched an e-commerce site with the help of e-STEEL Corp. BHP is using the online marketplace to connect with its more than 7,000 customers in over 50 countries. "BHP Steel's objective is to improve our value proposition to our customers by providing them with a compelling transactional e-commerce environment," says Kirby Adams, president of BHP Steel. The new site will handle transactions for BHP Steel's entire family of steel products. It also will facilitate several business processes, including handling of purchase orders, order tracking, checking of order status, re-ordering, shipping, and processing of mill test certificates. BHP Steel is the market leader in Australian, New Zealand, and Asian markets for flat and coated steel products. E-Steel Corp., based in New York, provides e-commerce technology for connecting the global metals supply chain.