DCX cuts dealers in on volume discounts

DaimlerChrysler AG is using the Internet to cut costs for dealers and open up access to information for employees.

2001 Management Briefing Seminars index
The automaker is using its e-business connections to allow dealers to tap into the cost savings of buying commodities such as toilet paper, pens and stationery in bulk, said Karenann Terrell, director of DaimlerChrysler's e-Connect platform.

About half the automaker's dealers have signed on to the program so far, Terrell said. So far, they've saved an average of 15 to 20 percent on purchases. "We're looking at what we buy, what they buy and putting those numbers together," she said Thursday at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich.

The system is continuing to draw more users, with 40 percent sales growth per month, Terrell said.

Later this year DaimlerChrysler will bring its employees online, launching an Internet link called "Dashboard" in the fourth quarter.

The system, which had a brief public debut here Thursday, will allow employees access to everything from health insurance information to details from their pay stubs, Terrell said

"There are all sorts of things that we as a company have to have in our relationships with our employees," Terrell said.

The business-to-employee relationship is part of DaimlerChrysler's overall electronic strategy, she said, part of its "house" of information that also includes its relationships with customers and suppliers.

Just as the company can benefit by linking itself to businesses and buyers, it can improve its relationships with workers by providing them with access to the data they want.

"Our employees want this information. They really want to look at information they need. The Internet gives you access to things you didn't have before," Terrell said. "The employees get what they want in terms of information."

Workers can get information at any hour, without the cost of a 24-hour employment team.

Terrell said: "This is not a touchy-feely kind of thing. This is all about taking us from a full-service (human resources) strategy to self service."

You can reach Rhoda Miel at rmiel@crain.com

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