E-CityDesk is the latest company to jump into the online hvacr distribution business. Company officials plan to offer thousands of products as well as technical information for hvac, plumbing and electrical contractors.

The site plans to utilize an electronic catalog and ordering system with a specialized search engine so that contractors and technicians can find just the part or equipment they're looking for. Real-time order tracking, a flat invoice rate regardless of the number of items purchased and a 45-day guarantee on price quotes are just some of the promises of E-CityDesk.

The time-consuming world of tracking orders with paper and pencil is obsolete, according to Larry Best, E-CityDesk president and CEO. "This is the future for residential contractors," he said. "It used to be that a contractor would have to spend 1/3 of his time ordering and picking up materials. At E-CityDesk, we gather and display all the available choices, and the supplier sends supplies directly to the contractor site. Now the contractor can spend that time at the job site, getting the job done."

The Minneapolis-based company is run by a management team with experience in the contractor-supplier marketplace and includes former executives for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Malt-O-Meal Cereals and Arthur Andersen. E-CityDesk has also forged agreements with other e-business companies such as BroadVision, Oracle and HVACjob.com. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) home improvement television show host Dean Johnson has been tapped to be a spokesman for the site.

"The Internet has created a entirely new paradigm for the industry," said company chairman Dave Eike. "Our business model will act as a catalyst for improving supply chain efficiency, and at the same time we will enable our customers and suppliers to deliver best-in-class products and services, in the most efficient manner possible."

Go to www.e-citydesk.com to learn more.