posted on May 06, 2011 11:38
How Des Miones , Iowa-based GCommerce became the anti-Amazon of auto parts
By Alexandra Weber Morales
It’s been over a decade since supply-chain software solution provider GCommerce moved from the Big Apple to the Rust Belt, about nine years since it first tried to solve a pesky problem in the US$300 billion after-market auto parts industry, and one year since it finally found the key to the ignition: Windows Azure. “I grew up in the auto parts business,” said Steven Smith, president and CEO of GCommerce, who described it as “a long-tail industry with millions of parts,” some of which have been manufactured for half a century. The drop shipment portion of the special orders market is costly and time-consuming. Not surprisingly, coordinating this vast network of more than 1,000 suppliers was no easy feat. But aggregators such as Amazon have only exacerbated the problem, according to Smith, by siphoning off the high-margin sales, competing with suppliers, and leaving the slowest-moving parts to languish, undiscovered and unconnected, on dusty shelves. “We tried to attack this problem about nine years ago. The problem is, you have an on-premise solution, you are trying to manage data warehouses remotely and you have an entire industry on your neck wondering, ‘How do we know you’re up to the task?’ ” he said. “Windows Azure was a game-changer because we didn’t have to worry about being the infrastructure anymore. We were able to take our domain experience and infuse it into the infrastructure.”......