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Double-Duty Procurement Platform

A project undertaken on behalf of a major retailer also can provide services to Dana's distributors and dealerships.
Automotive-parts supplier Dana Corp.'s Automotive Aftermarket Group this summer will go live with an E-procurement system. It's one of several suppliers participating in a project spearheaded by a major auto-parts retailer.

The Automotive Aftermarket Group, which generated $2.2 million in 2003 revenue for Dana, spent $2 million on the project to build out a Web-services-based procurement platform. It purchased software, including IBM's WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Business Integration, and WebSphere Web Studio, to build out a system that will let the retailer have instant access to product availability, price quotes, order submissions and changes, and real-time shipping status on parts. The job required integrating three enterprise-resource-planning systems.

While Dana declined to disclose the name of the retailer it's working with, analysts say AutoZone, Carquest, and O'Reilly Auto Parts are all working on major IT projects to collaborate with aftermarket suppliers.

The new platform lets Dana standardize, says Nick Reddall, VP of IT at the Automotive Aftermarket Group.

The new platform lets Dana standardize, says Nick Reddall, VP of IT at the Automotive Aftermarket Group.
The advantage to the retailer is that it will be able to quickly locate parts among its suppliers and receive them within 24 hours of placing the order, thus reducing its inventory. Dana's Automotive Aftermarket Group, which this month was sold to New York private-equity firm Cypress Group for $1.1 billion in cash, has something to gain, as well. The transaction layer that now exists for parts ordering for the retailer can be extended to other customers, such as distributorships and dealerships, providing them with custom Web-ordering capabilities.

"A service-orientated architecture is enabling us to standardize across a service or process without changing the back end," says Nick Reddall, VP of IT at the Automotive Aftermarket Group. "We can offer a similar catalog system to other customers using the same infrastructure."

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