TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.-- Automakers have long exchanged data, such as production forecasts, electronically with Tier 1 suppliers.
Now automakers want their Tier 1 suppliers to do the same with their own supply base.
That means more business for companies such as Agilisys Automotive, formerly Future Three Software Inc., of Northville, Mich. Agilisys provides electronic data interchange and related services for 270 Tier 1 suppliers and automakers in the United States.
We have a third of the top 150 suppliers in the automotive business, said John Flavin, senior vice president of global product development at Agilisys. We offer something that replicates the business that happens between the OEM and their Tier 1s. We replicated that business down between the tiered suppliers throughout the supply chain.
Some of its supply-chain customers include Dana Corp., Lear Corp. and Tower Automotive.
Its becoming more of a demand from the OEMs, Flavin said. Its also being driven by the Tier 1s because of the efficiencies you can get out of getting connected to your supply base.
Tier 1 suppliers now using Agilisys software are connected to about 20,000 suppliers in the lower tiers, Flavin said. With 30 percent growth, Flavin expects Tier 1s using Agilisys technology to be connected to between 50,000 to 60,000 suppliers within the next few years.
Agilisys purchased Future Three Software in early June.
One of the main reasons we sold to Agilisys was for global growth, said Flavin, who was Future Threes CEO. For 20 years Future Three was a highly profitable North American company. But we couldnt garner the capital and the footprint in Europe and the Pacific rim to continue to grow.
Now, with a global footprint, an automaker or Tier 1 supplier in the United States can use Agilisys technologies in Europe as well, Flavin said.
Flavin said it is too early to tell how the new Covisint Connect, to be offered to suppliers on Nov. 26, will affect Agilisys business. Covisint is launching its central data messaging service after testing by the Big 3, Lear, Delphi Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc.
It will depend on the depth of which they implement it and the depth of the functionality, Flavin said. And theres strong competition between us and other companies that provide services like us.