Auto parts players synch-up in Chicago
August 2, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
If your car breaks
down, you expect your mechanic to have the parts to fix it pronto.
That's top of mind for the folks who manufacture, distribute and
install auto parts as they open their Aftermarket eForum at the
Hyatt Regency O'Hare today.
find better ways to use technology to reduce costs and improve
efficiency in a market worth $248 billion according to the Automotive
Aftermarket Industry Association, hosts of the event.
eForum is a good thing," says Tim Ford, president of Chicago's
J.C. Whitney, which grew out of Warshawsky Co., founded in 1915
at State and Archer. Today, J.C. Whitney is the leading automotive
aftermarket parts provider on the Internet, according to Ford,
and the top auto parts Web site according to Ranking.com.
percent of Whitney's business is conducted over the Internet,
though Ford says he still mails out tens of millions of paper
recently the automotive aftermarket was the last safe harbor for
technology Luddites," says Jerry McCabe senior vice president
at Dana Corp., a $9 billion player in the auto parts market, with
facilities in Naperville and McHenry. "The big problem with
auto parts is inventory."
be one of the star speakers at the eForum. He will report on an
experimental program that integrates auto-parts manufacturer systems
with their distributors.
trying to come up with an industry-wide way to do e-commerce,"
says Scott Luckett, vice president of technology standards for
the association. "We want to get everyone on the same page
in ordering parts."
will attract a who's-who of the automotive aftermarket including
manufacturers like Federal-Mogul and Cardone Industries as well
as parts distributors and service providers like AutoZone, Carquest,
Napa Auto Parts and Pep Boys.
Why hold the
e-Forum in Chicago? "The honest answer," quips Luckett,
recorders make it easy to zip past commercials. That's causing
advertisers to look for new venues. One solution: place advertising
in shopping malls. The problem: counting the people viewing the
CEO of Chicago-based ShopperTrak, has the solution. Her company
places video cameras in shopping malls, retail stores and casinos.
The cameras use a smart chip and a sophisticated mathematical
algorithm to zoom in on blobs of people. They give accurate headcounts
without violating individual privacy.
camera's just look for blob size. No faces. There is total anonymity,"
recently returned from the Worldwide Audience Measurement conference
in Geneva, Switzerland. She says ShopperTrak's approach received
a warm reception. "We have over 30,000 cameras installed
worldwide," adds Davis, whose technology measures blobs in
Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico and the Mideast.
bacon for Spyglass
sold Naperville-based Spyglass for $2.5 billion in 2000. He still
lives here, but his latest tech venture, Webplan Inc., a software
company serving the manufacturing industry, is located in Ottawa,
It's the incentives. Colbeth reports there's a 50 percent tax
credit on product development salaries. Canada has supportive
immigration policies, and its embassies host events to help him
enter overseas markets. Ottawa hosts events for hi-tech companies
to leverage experiences.
says, the Canadian government provides hi-tech employees with
a $750,000 tax exemption on the sale of hi-tech company stock.
trade commissioner in the Canadian Consulate here says, "Canada
has the best R&D tax regime in the G7." He says Colbeth
might have old data on the capital gains exemption, which is a
a Midwest sales office in Chicago.
Jr., vice president of marketing for Aurora-based Westell Technologies,
reports his company's modems will be used by the Associated Press
for Athens Olympic coverage. ... Will Democratic presidential
candidate John Kerry's call for "investment in technology
and innovation that will create the good-paying jobs of the future"
spur Gov. Blagojevich to articulate a tech agenda in Illinois?...
Morton Grove native and Maine East alum Alan Cohen is heading
west as the new chief marketing officer for Napster.
Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.