FRANKFURT - Twenty-one leading European suppliers have formed an online procurement exchange that will change the way components are bought and sold in Europe's parts aftermarket.
The electronic marketplace is called TecCom. It allows manufacturers, distributors and repair shops to handle orders and deliveries online, as well as manage inventories and handle invoicing.
Bosch, Valeo, Delphi, Magneti Marelli and other major suppliers have taken ownerships stakes in the new network.
Europe's $80 billion aftermarket is becoming a crucial battleground for European suppliers.
A change in EU car distribution rules threatens the iron grip carmakers have on spare parts sales. The end of the industry's block exemption may prevent carmakers from making their warranties conditional on using their own branded parts.
All major European suppliers have strategies for increasing parts sales to consumers.
The TecCom venture was set up by Cologne-based TecDoc Information Systems and Siemens Business Services. TecDoc provides CD-Rom parts catalogues for aftermarket garages and traders.
Several suppliers exhibiting at the Automechanika aftermarket show here said they have begun implementing pilot schemes based on the TecCom platform.
'There is enormous room in this sector for streamlining operations and speed more efficient and competitive.'
TecCom is based in Unterschliessheim, near Munich.
Other suppliers participating in TecCom are: Continental, Hella, Bosal, ZF Friedrichshafen, Beru, LuK, Mahle, Kolbenschmidt Pierburg, Sachs, TRW, Varta, HERTH + BUSS, Mann & Hummel, Tenneco, TMD Friction (Textar), and VDO. Federal Mogul is considering a proposal to join.
'We expect to link with even more brand names over the next few months,' says Besting.
Software is provided free to garages and an interface kit allows wholesalers to integrate TecCom with their own inventory control. TecCom runs on Siemens ERP-integrated e-commerce software.
A Bosal spokesman said the company is using the system to go online with customers in Austria, Scandinavia and Belgium. Bosch is using the system in Switzerland.
Major OEM suppliers like Delphi, Visteon and VDO are focusing heavily on aftermarket sales. Independent aftermarket distributors are a crucial customer group for Delphi, accounting for about $450 million in sales in Europe in 2000.
Since formation of Delphi's aftermarket operations was announced last October, the division has almost doubled sales in Europe.
The division employs 1,500 worldwide, compared with 200 a year ago.