August 22, 2003
Bradford?s Wool Traders Go Electronic
According to BBC News, the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) has introduced a computerized auction system, based around that used by Dutch flower sellers.
The BWMB says it wants to cut costs and make the sale process more transparent. ?There was a lot of skepticism and a lot of fear that it was going to change the structure of the industry,? say Ian Hartley, BWMB managing director. ?It is a very traditional industry in some respects, and therefore, we have had to take it slowly.?
The BWMB was set up in 1950 as a non-profit making cooperative, aimed at getting the best price for the UK?s thousands of sheep farmers.
With the electronic system, wool buyers can sit at a terminal anywhere in the world and take part in the bidding. Many of Britain?s sheep farmers, who control the BWMB, are keen to see the auction thrown open to the world. Small quantities of raw wool are even starting to crop up on the on-line auction site, eBay.
Wool trading has taken a giant step into the electronic age of trading.