Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. once had 46,000 vehicles stockpiled at the Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal, Ill., and in four port cities.
"Quite frankly, what we were doing was wholesaling cars to dealers," said Greg O'Neill, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors Sales.
"We needed to create an infrastructure that supported that market-driven mind-set."
In 1999, Mitsubishi stopped ordering cars on behalf of its dealers. Instead of pushing cars through the system, the automaker introduced a Web-based order-to-delivery system developed with Manugistics Inc. Dealers determined their needs based on demand in their markets.
Inventory was slashed and port storage fees all but disappeared.
Mitsubishi continued to enhance the system. Last August, it implemented its Order Management System.
Dealers can trade vehicles even while they are still being assembled.
The system was internally developed, runs on an Oracle database and uses the data generated by
Mitsubishi's order-to-delivery system.
Rather than establish an order-to-delivery target, O'Neill said, the automaker lives by the credo "right car, right place, right time."