Acknowledging the arrival of Covisint, a group of seven Tier 1 suppliers has shifted its focus in Internet research from the original-equipment market to the aftermarket.
The group, known as the S7, announced in April it would study the benefits of new business-to-business Internet technologies, including web-based trade exchanges.
The seven members of the group are Dana Corp., Delphi Automotive Systems Corp., Eaton Corp., TRW Inc., Valeo SA, Timken Inc. and Tenneco Automotive Inc.
By focusing on the aftermarket, the S7 is acknowledging that it need not re-invent the wheel, said Gary Corrigan, Dana Corp.'s vice president of corporate communications.
'A lot of the large suppliers have acknowledged publicly that Covisint will be their portal,' Corrigan said. The suppliers originally had focused on the original-equipment market - possibly even their own trade exchange -before concluding Covisint was destined to become the major arena for original-equipment business.
The group is now focusing on how business-to-business Inter-net tools can help streamline the distribution of aftermarket parts. The study will include evaluating an aftermarket electronic exchange.
'The idea is how do you reduce the handling of a part,' Corrigan said. 'The fewer the hands touching it between its manufacture and its installation, the better you can control the cost.'
He added: 'I think that one of the benefits that's going to be announced is that they understand what Covisint is capable of doing for them. I think that they are accepting the direction as stated by Covisint.'
Peter Weiss, one of the temporary co-CEOs helping to prepare Covisint for operations, said suppliers could use Covisint to streamline aftermarket distribution. Weiss said it would be a duplication of effort for suppliers to build another exchange for the aftermarket.
'We see ourselves as the hub for the automotive industry, and they are the spokes,' Weiss said. 'So why not use the hub?'