OEConnection LLC has discovered that linking dealerships and collision repair shops electronically is not as easy as it sounds.
"To motivate a collision shop to adopt a new technology has been a little more challenging than we thought," says OEConnection CEO Chuck Rotuno.
He says many repair shops are content with using slow but reliable phones and fax machines. More importantly, they don't have to invest in the computers required to run OEConnection's CollisionLink Web tool.
While marketing CollisionLink has been a challenge, OEConnection says it is faring better with D2Dlink, which links dealers to dealers.
Dealerships have driven the bulk of business for OEConnection, the joint venture formed by the Big 3 and technology provider ProQuest Co. in 2000 to streamline the parts business.
Rotuno says the last two quarters have been profitable - the private company does not release revenue or profit figures - and that the company is growing.
"Our goal going in was to have the business be self-sustaining within the first 24 months," Rotuno says. "We've done that. Now we can think about growing the business."
OEConnection has a database of 750,000 unique parts. Dealers pay for the software through an annual subscription.