Tire and auto parts wholesaler U.S. Tire & Exhaust (UST&E) and commercial tire dealers/retreaders Ozarko Tire Centers Inc. and Royal Tire Inc. have chosen business software packages by CarParts Technologies Inc. (CPT) to help them streamline their businesses by moving customer services online.
``(CPT) will help us reduce costs, convert paper orders to more accurate online orders and help us provide better service to our fast-growing customer base of tire and automotive repair shops in five states,'' said Randy Groh, director of marketing at Combined Locks, Wis.-based UST&E, in a prepared statement.
``We expect 20 percent of our customers to be ordering online within 12 months-with our ultimate goal being 50 percent,'' Mr. Groh said. ``Our research has convinced us that online ordering embedded inside our customers' point of sale will make adoption occur faster.''
UST&E is using CPT's Intelligent Trading Network system to provide its customers with application-to-application e-commerce trading capabilities, CPT said, along with the VAST auto service management system for its electronic trading and point-of-sale needs.
``UST&E will be able to reduce the amount of time their sales people are on the phone,'' said Dave McCann, CPT's CEO. ``They can increase sales without reducing staff by having their salespeople be more productive.
``Although many wholesalers have attempted to construct their own browser-based e-commerce systems,'' Mr. McCann said, ``we have found that retail service stores tend to look at their inventory on-hand first while quoting the customer. Logging into the wholesalers is often a long, time-consuming process, as is phoning the wholesaler to find out if tires are available.''
UST&E traces its roots to 1951 and the founding of Schmidt Oil Co. by Albert Schmidt and his sons Art, Ray and Bill. The Schmidts built a tire and auto parts warehouse in Combined Locks in 1958, and renamed the company U.S. Oil to reflect the range and diversity of its products and services.
Today the company has five tire and exhaust distribution centers in Milwaukee, Combined Locks, Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis.
UST&E is affiliated with American Car Care Centers Inc. and last year helped set up TreadPros, an organization of approximately 25 Midwest-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. dealers.
West Plains, Mo.-based Ozarko Tire Centers Inc. has moved online all billing and record-keeping related to its Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. (MRTI) retread plant in West Plains, thereby improving customer service and cutting costs by as much as 15 percent.
Ozarko Tire has achieved the online upgrade with the help of CPT, which worked with Ozarko and MRTI to create a successful interface between CPT's Tradera Tire Management System and MRTI's Bib Tread software, according to CPT.
Ozarko Tire, which operates six commercial tire centers in Missouri and Arkansas, opened its MRTI retread plant in mid-2000, switching from the Bandag Inc. system.
``The ability to provide up-to-date, accurate information on tire sales or retread information gives commercial tire dealers a competitive advantage in servicing existing clients and winning new customers,'' said Paul Van Den Berg, vice president of product marketing and services for CPT.
``The new interface has already reduced my monthly administrative costs by 15 percent because updates from Bib Tread to the CPT inventory management and point-of-sale system are automatic,'' said Ozarko Tire owner Gary McGinnis in a prepared statement.
``With Tradera, we can bank customer retreads, and the system gives our salesperson the ability to quickly access inventory information from within our point-of-sale,'' Mr. McGinnis said.
The interface allows all retread billing information to be passed directly from Bib Tread to Tradera the moment the finished product is released from the retread plant.
``With one mouse click we can bill out a customer,'' Mr. McGinnis said. ``This level of online information gives us a competitive advantage in servicing our biggest customers with better information by eliminating manual searches and by eliminating at least 15 keystrokes per tire on multiple tire orders.''
``Moving retread data directly from Bib Tread into Tradera will eliminate all double keying, making the process faster and reducing data entry errors,'' said Jack McCammond, manager of eBusiness products for Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
``For our fleet customers this will produce more timely and accurate billing, thereby reducing their administrative costs,'' he added.
Royal Tire Inc. said it turned to CPT to help it improve dealer and customer support services for its Tire One dealer buying group and its commercial tire and retread customer network.
St. Cloud, Minn.-based Royal Tire, a leading commercial tire dealer in the Midwest since 1948, will use CPT's Tradera Tire Management System and OpenWebs Commerce Server software to help it manage inventories and deliveries to its expanding customer base, said Pat Duininck, Royal Tire president.
``We selected Tradera and OpenWebs Commerce Server because of CarParts Technologies' commitment to integrate with other industry standard systems, such as Bandag's Open Road Retread Management System and Michelin's dealer communications system Bib Net,'' Mr. Duininck said in a prepared statement.
``...CarParts Technologies is the only company that offers a Microsoft-based supply chain solution that efficiently supports the direction we're going in technologically.''
The software programs, designed by San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based CPT, automate warehouse management, inventory management and electronic ordering. CPT claims the programs reduce operational costs, increase revenues and improve customer service.
Besides being one of the 35 largest commercial tire dealerships and retreaders in North America, Royal Tire operates Tire One, a dealer buying group in the upper Midwest with more than 246 independent dealers throughout Minnesota and four bordering states.
CPT is a developer of extended supply chain software solutions for the automotive aftermarket.