· Information products such as an accessible catalog database related to parts,
tires, labor estimates, scheduled maintenance, repair information, technical
service bulletins, pricing and product features and benefits, which are used by
the different participants in the automotive aftermarket;
· Online services and products that connect manufacturers, warehouse
distributors, retailers and automotive service providers via the internet.
These products enable electronic data interchange throughout the automotive
aftermarket supply chain among the different trading partners. They also enable
procurement and business services to be projected over the internet to an
expanded business audience. Some
their own websites and intranets; some clients in
information via the internet; and
· Customer support and consulting services that provide phone and online support,
implementation and training.
Need for Technology Solutions
A variety of factors drive the automotive market's need for sophisticated technology solutions, including the following:
Industry sources suggest that approximately 35% of parts produced are never sold and 30% of parts stocked are never sold. Approximately 25% of parts sold are eventually returned due to insufficient knowledge or capability by either the parts supplier counterman or the auto service provider installer. Clearly, there is substantial inefficiency in the automotive aftermarket supply chain. This inefficiency results in excess inventory carrying costs, logistical costs and the over-production of parts and tires at the manufacturer level. Overcoming these challenges requires the combination of business systems software, information products, and connectivity services we offer. Competition
In the U.S., the need for technology solutions has been accelerated by the expansion of large specialty parts retailers such as Advance Auto Parts, Inc. and large auto service chains like
Monro Muffler and Brake, Inc.This expansion has driven smaller competitors to computerize or upgrade their existing systems with more modern business management solutions enabled for information products and online services. Many of the systems used by smaller competitors today are older, character-based or systems developed in-house that have a limited ability to integrate current information products and online services.
Volume and Complexity of Information
Businesses in the automotive aftermarket manage large volumes of information from numerous sources with complex inter-relationships. There are over 4.5 million different stock-keeping units ("SKU") available to parts sellers in the product catalogs used by the U.S. automotive aftermarket. The numbers of SKU increase in the order of some 5% each year. Moreover, manufacturers update product information and product prices with increasing frequency as they improve their internal processing and try to keep pace with consumer trends. As a result, most automotive aftermarket businesses require sophisticated inventory management systems, accurate and timely information on parts, tires, and repair delivered through online services to communicate, manage and present this volume of data effectively.