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iForce and eBay.co.uk form joint venture to handle recovered lost, found and stolen goods

Police signed up as first customer for new solution

London - 20th November 2000 - iForce, the UK’s leading e-fulfilment provider, and eBay.co.uk, the internet person-to-person trading specialist, today announced a joint venture to provide the total management and sale of recovered Lost, Found, and Stolen goods across the UK. The solution combines iForce’s newly-developed ‘reverse fulfilment’ software and logistics capabilities with eBay.co.uk’s trading platform.

iForce and eBay have also announced that they have already signed up 15 Police Forces across England and Wales to be the first users of the solution.

In the opinion of iForce and eBay.co.uk the development of the solution is significant in that it takes processes and technologies created from the world of e-commerce and applies them to revolutionise a huge administration problem for the benefit of governments, enterprises, charities and tax-payers alike.

The solution will save public authorities and organisations time and money in the collection, registration and storage of lost and stolen goods and increase their sale value (most of which is donated to local charities) through exposure to a much wider potential audience via eBay.co.uk’s internet auctions.

Matthew Peacock, group chief executive of iForce, explains, "We think that this solution will be of great interest to any organisation which handles Lost, Found or Stolen goods such as airports, train and coach stations, travel operating companies, leisure facility operators, and local councils. This solution is easy to adopt; takes away a huge administrative burden; and can only add to the revenues of the organisation involved.

"The potential of the web to revolutionise traditional approaches has been somewhat forgotten in recent months as the dotcom gloom has been peddled. This announcement shows that there are still many new areas where e-commerce solutions have huge potential to re-engineer inefficient business and organisational processes.

"iForce has pioneered e-fulfilment in Europe - now, in conjunction with eBay, we are taking it to the next stage, by pro-actively creating solutions using internet and e-fulfilment solutions and processes."

The Police Solution

iForce believes that the solution will enable organisations to gain up to 4 or 5 times the revenue for Lost, Found and Stolen goods than currently is achieved through local disposals. Under UK law, if Lost, Found and Stolen goods remain unclaimed by their rightful owner after 1 year, organisations are obliged to sell the goods. Currently most auctions are held locally with a relatively low level of publicity and low prices achieved for many goods.

The new system will see iForce co-ordinating collection and delivery, digital cataloguing, stock management and warehousing of the goods. The goods will then be placed for auction on eBay.co.uk and will be available to all registered eBay members across the UK.

iForce is taking over management of Lost, Found and Stolen goods for Police Forces across the country after assuming the operations of BlueCycle.com, a subsidiary of Norwich Union.

During the initial cataloguing process, there has already been a phenomenal range of goods, in terms of both variety and value, available for auction, including sports clothes, CDs, computers, DVD players, through to precious jewellery, and even a plastic skeleton!

Paul Witten, Director of Business Development, eBay.co.uk added, "There are thousands of bargains to be had from Lost, Found and Stolen goods in the UK, and I am sure all of eBay’s users will be eager to see what’s available!"

About iForce

iForce is one of Europe’s leading e-fulfilment businesses, offering clients an end-to-end e-fulfilment solution including consultancy, e-analysis, stock management, customer service and logistics. Founded in 1998 as a division of a long-established fulfilment specialist, iForce has pioneered the development of traditional fulfilment skills, processes and technologies for the e-commerce world. iForce has approximately 200 staff and over 200,000 square feet of warehouse space in three locations serving the UK and Continental Europe. Clients today include Nokia, Sony, SkySportsStore.com, and Guinness World Records Ltd. In September 2000, iForce established a joint venture with Transportes Azkar in Spain as the first step in the development of its pan-European footprint.

http://www.iForce-europe.com


About eBay

eBay is the world's largest on-line trading community. Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful marketplace for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and small businesses. On any given day, there are millions of items for sale on the site across thousands of diverse categories, including, antiques, toys, books, computers, sports, photography and electronics, amongst many others. eBay enables trade on a local, national and international basis with local sites in 53 markets in the U.S. and country specific sites in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, France and Australia. Founded in the UK in October 1999, eBay.co.uk is now the UK's largest person-to-person trading community.

http://ww.eBay.co.uk

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