NASHUA, N.H.—ASA Tire Systems Inc. is launching new Internet-based services to help tire dealers keep pace with the high-tech "new economy." ASA is offering an application service provider (ASP) service for smaller dealerships that prefer not to have a server or system administrator in-house to manage their business data, said Dave Duchesne, ASA national marketing manager.
The information technology firm will maintain a dealership's point-of-sale, inventory and accounting data at its offices, Mr. Duchesne said, while dealers will access that information via the Internet.
"It's like you're running our software with your data," Mr. Duchesne said. "It's just that the server and all the maintenance issues that take place with that reside at the ASA facilities."
He compared the service to renting software, a trend that already has started in other industries. Companies with Internet-capable, but older PCs can get the full benefits of the latest business software applications provided by another company for a monthly fee and without hiring network administrators.
The purpose of the service is to eliminate computer functions a dealership will never use in favor of a cost-effective alternative, Mr. Duchesne said. He assured that ASA will keep the data confidential.
The cost of managing business data in-house can reach the $20,000 range, depending on the size of the dealership, he said.
Under ASA's ASP initiative, dealers can pay as little as $50 per month for the company to operate its business applications, Mr. Duchesne said.
"That's the new trend of people wanting to reduce the costs of ownership of new computers and have someone else actually house the data and application. It's being done in every industry now, and we're simply the first to do it in the tire industry," he said.
The ASP service is available to anyone, and not just to dealers who run ASA's TireMax software, he added. ASA also is offering a Web site publishing service for tire dealers. Sites created by ASA will include location information, company history, graphical displays, updated news and coupons.
Interactive capabilities such as online service scheduling, e-mail, maps of locations and links to e-commerce also will be provided through the site for a base price of $4,000, not including annual maintenance fees, Mr. Duchesne said. He also noted that the base price will vary according to the number of dealership outlets displayed on the site.