Auto Supplier Revs Covisint's Engine

Delphi will be first to use exchange's private supply-chain portal for wide range of activities
Delphi Automotive Systems Corp., which spun off from General Motors Corp. in 1999, is ready to replace GM's Supply Power software, which provided messaging and problem-reporting services for the company and its supply-chain partners. Delphi will be the first supplier to use a private portal on auto exchange Covisint to conduct a broad range of activities with more than 5,000 of its suppliers. The company will start using Covisint's Internet architecture and software with suppliers by the end of summer.

Delphi first will use Covisint's basic messaging services and problem-reporting technology in North America only, says Richard Radecki, E-business director for the $26.5 billion auto supplier. It plans to use Covisint's supply-chain visibility tools and its collaborative-design and procurement applications on the portal later this year. Delphi also will manage requests for quotes and purchase orders via the exchange and use Covisint's vendor-managed inventory capabilities. Delphi suppliers will be able to check its accounts payable system, to see when they'll be paid.

As many as half of Delphi's suppliers use electronic data interchange to some extent; a few hundred of the largest ones rely heavily on EDI to conduct day-to-day business, says AMR research analyst Kevin Prouty. Even though Covisint's messaging capabilities won't take the place of EDI for those using that technology, Prouty expects that creating connections to a new exchange platform will be a hurdle for these users. "It won't be excruciatingly painful, but moving from SupplyPower to Covisint will be time-consuming," he says. Smaller suppliers who never implemented EDI will be able to take advantage of Covisint for EDI over the Web, as well as for XML-based transactions.

As Covisint ramps up its ability to provide secure, quasi-private exchanges, it's making it easier for customers to move among apps without logging on to each tool once they're logged on to Covisint. Company officials last week said Covisint would use integration tools from webMethods Inc. to connect its primary suite of applications from multiple vendors for product development, procurement, supply-chain management, and quality.

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