Colony Tire Inc. has been in business for 36 years, and for at least 30 of those years it has used computers.
Now, after several upgrades and countless advances in technology, the Edenton-based tire dealer and distributor has an integrated information technology (IT) system that improves every aspect of its business immeasurably, according to Andrew Bergeron, chief operations officer/executive vice president.
The benefits an integrated IT system brings Colony Tire are manifold, Mr. Bergeron told Tire Business. “It's a combination of better customer service, real-time user access, and access to point of sale, email, spread sheets and data,” he said.
Because of the integrated IT system, there is total information access not only for the personnel in all of Colony Tire's 40 stores in North Carolina and Virginia, but also for Colony salespeople on the road, according to Mr. Bergeron and Adam Evans of Colony's IT department.
“Everyone who does business outside the stores is in full communication, no matter where they are,” Mr. Evans said.
Ten or more different programs go into Colony's “Cloud,” or IT infrastructure convergence, according to Messrs. Bergeron and Evans.
Cloud computing, according to the website Wikipedia.org, is the “delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).”
End users usually access Cloud-based applications through a Web browser, the site added, or a light-weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and data are stored on servers at a remote location.
“You can buy a Cloud from a third-party company, but we elected to have ours done in-house,” Mr. Evans said. The benefits to building a Cloud in-house, he said, include quicker access, greater flexibility and better control.
Colony Tire has worked primarily with ASA Automotive Systems L.L.C. for many years, beginning with a predecessor company of ASA, Mr. Bergeron said. However, the tire dealer also relies on other IT providers as well, including Microsoft Corp., CDW L.L.C., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc.
Meanwhile, the firm plans further upgrades, most of them customer-service related, Mr. Bergeron said, including a new website and new applications for smartphones.
“We have a lot of things coming down the pike,” he said.
Mr. Bergeron said he couldn't speak definitively of any new locations for Colony Tire, but new stores should open soon. “We always have our sights on new locations,” he said.