Digital Interchanges Info Power Engine, Tire Suppliers Offer Services

Nov. 1, 2000
Engine and tire suppliers are offering more and more services via the Internet. There is everything from catalogs to updates on company racing teams.

Engine and tire suppliers are offering more and more services via the Internet. There is everything from catalogs to updates on company racing teams. One site offers an e-mail service that keeps customers abreast of new products and services.

Keeping up with companies' latest services becomes easier as they take advantage of emerging technologies on the Web. Following are just a few of the examples. More services are added almost every day on a variety of services. Cummins Engine Company (Columbus, Indiana) customers can purchase merchandise and obtain parts catalogs and service manuals with a click of the mouse. They can renew service agreements through the new Cummins PowerStore, an e-commerce site recently added to the Cummins Web site.

From operations and maintenance manuals to customized parts catalogs, customers have a choice of the publications that are presented in picture-driven formats. Customers with access codes can renew their subscriptions for the catalogs via the Web site.

The access-coded service was added so customers would have around-the-clock service to limit unscheduled downtime, according to Cummins information.

In addition to technical services, the online store features Cummins gear, including hats, T-shirts, golf shirts, jackets, Mark Marti collectibles, sunglasses, umbrellas, gloves, and a wide variety of novelty items. A Navistar International Transportation Corp product, International provides information about late-breaking parts and service specials and application specification information.

The Web site brings together data from the Chicago, Illinois, company's business centers and dealer network.

Features include two ways to locate information on product offering by model and application. Links on almost every page provide easy access to the dealer network. Other pages include the latest sales programs for truck, parts, and service divisions, and the used truck inventory can be searched across all 16 used truck centers.

The company's various products, which include heavy and medium trucks and school buses, are discussed on the site as are its mid-range diesel engines, produced in a range of 160 to 300 horsepower.

A Website is also available for the parent company and can be found at Michelin North America, Greenville, South Carolina, enables customers to enter information about a truck application and receive recommendations for which tires will perform best, based on the need of the operation.

The interactive tire selector page is not the only technical information that can be found on the site. The company offers interactive tire data for Michelin products, including cut-away tire images with structural information and product features.

Technical data offers guides that can be sorted according to wheel positions and application, and can be downloaded and printed into full-color product data sheets.

A dealer locator page features a searchable database of the company's dealers, according to location and type of dealership, for example servicing dealer, retreader, or truckstop. Maps and directions also are provided. The Caterpillar Truck Engine Division has a central source for its truck engines, parts, and used truck information, as well as news, special events, and product offers.

The Mossville, Illinois, division Web site features a used truck locator that can be used to type in a year, range, make, model, truck type, price range, search location, and what horsepower engine is desired. A list of trucks in the customer's area is then provided.

Information on specifications for the Caterpillar line of diesel engines can be reached easily. There is data on the ISO 9001 and QS 9000 certification. The products and services pages contain information on parts, protection plans, product specials, and a frequently-asked questions section.

For more diversified interest, an update is accessible on Bill Davis and the Caterpillar NASCAR racing team. PNV INC, CVSA TEAM UP PNV Inc is partnering with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) to offer online safety information and programs to truck drivers. The partnership will extend CVSA's reach to more than one million drivers nationwide.

Together, PNV and CVSA will provide safety information to drivers 24 hours a day, seven days a week through voice messaging, e-mail, and via PNV's web portal. As part of the alliance, PNV and CVSA will jointly develop original safety programs, promotions, and classes. The first provides free PNV memberships, including high-speed Internet access, to CVSA member drivers with million-mile accident-free driving records. This includes the company's full suite of telecommunications, Internet, and entertainment product and services.

DAT ADDS MAP SEARCH DAT Services has added a map search interface to its freight matching web site to allow users to find loads or trucks quickly by clicking on individual states. This new feature can process multiple origins and destinations. The company has added new information resources for DATinternet subscribers: a national directory of carriers and brokers searchable by name, city, or state; and a database of North American truckstops equipped with DAT Load Monitors. DAT Services offers real-time load and equipment availability and transportation information services online via software, satellite, fax and phone, as well as via a network of load monitors at 1,100 truckstops throughout North America. BP HAS FUEL PURCHASE SITE BP has launched a new commercial sales web site aimed at large volume commercial diesel and gasoline fuels buyers.

The new site,, allows users to review the latest product price quotes, place orders, and check the status of existing orders from acceptance to scheduled delivery to invoice at their multiple locations. Users can create and maintain their own company profiles.

During a six-month pilot run of the web site, two large-volume fuel users purchased more than 40 million gallons of gasoline and distillates. Both companies reported high levels of satisfaction with the BP web site.

MOTIENT WILL SELL DIVISION Motient Corp, formerly called American Mobile Satellite Corp, has agreed to sell its wireless data services for the trucking industry to Aether Systems Inc.

Originally formed to launch and operate a wireless communications satellite, Motient also created an integrated terrestrial/satellite communications network that offers two-way messaging and data services to some 200 transportation fleets with about 15,000 vehicles.

Under the agreement, Aether will obtain all of Motient's retail customers in the transportation sector as well as the company's transportation-related products. Motient's contract to provide land-based wireless communications for UPS was not included in the sale.

Aether will pay Motient $45 million plus an additional sum of up to $22.5 million based on revenue and other incentive targets in 2001. The agreement also calls for Aether to resell $25 million worth of Motient satellite and terrestrial services over the next three years. VOLVO, ONLINE SERVICE PARTNER Internet marketplace has announced partnership agreements with Volvo Trucks North America and Volvo Commercial Finance LLC The Americas. will provide services such as online truck configuration and quoting, customized financial services, and roadside assistance, which are services aimed at small- to mid-size carriers and private fleet operators.

In return, Volvo's truck configuration program, which lets customers spec their own truck online, will be made available to customers. The program provides a suggested retail price and a referral to the nearest dealer.

Volvo will offer its Most Valuable Package (MVP) program, which includes a free laptop computer with software and free Internet access, to customers who spec trucks on The online service's loadmatching benefit also will be a part of Volvo's MVP program. PETROLEUM EXCHANGE WEB SITE GOES ONLINE The American Petroleum Exchange (APEX), an attempt to bring the world of fuel contracts to the Internet, has gone online. Its site,, is the first of several online fuel purchasing sites that will be unveiled in upcoming months. APEX offers access to 36 suppliers - from oil companies to independent refiners - that will provide diesel and gasoline fuel at negotiated prices for six-month minimum contract periods.

United Parcel Service will be the first to test the exchange, putting its 13-state southern region fuel needs up for bid. That region alone consumes 69 million gallons of diesel and 18 million gallons of gasoline every six months, the company says.

Federal Express' ground system will try the APEX system out next, putting 4.7 million gallons worth of diesel up for bids.

Arkansas-based retailer Wal-Mart will follow FedEx with a 30-million-gallon low-sulfur diesel bid. MATLACK SELECTS AVICON Avicon, an Internet solutions consulting company focused on the supply chain, has been selected to formulate an e-business strategy and deliver implementation services for bulk transportation expert Matlack Systems Inc.

Matlack is a 120-year-old bulk transportation company serving the chemical industry. It uses a combination of central dispatch and local terminal service management to provide smooth and seamless load management throughout the United States.

Avicon will work closely with Matlack to apply new information technologies that will enhance Matlack's delivery system by improving visibility of loads, simplifying dispatch, and making it easier for customers to do business. TMW RELEASES ELINK TMW Systems Inc has released eLink for both the Client/Server platform and the IBM AS/400, designed to let shippers place orders and track their own loads via the Internet.

With eLink, shippers have direct access to the carrier's system to view their own loads. The load information they see includes an up-to-date status of each load as determined from check calls, fuel purchases, mobile communications, or GPS reports. They can also find the details of any trip order or display the precise location of their loads on a map.

Shippers also can place their orders through the same system. Orders are completed electronically and go directly to the dispatcher's screen for assignment. Reporting is based on the customer's own criteria, access via the Internet, and automatically e-mailed to an end-user. The customer service report gives notice on early and late loads.

NEXTEL ONLINE SET TO LAUNCH Nextel Communications will begin Nextel Online wireless Internet services in 43 markets, including more than 750 cities, across the United States. The service is scheduled to become available by mid-2000. Nextel Online features wireless business applications designed to move data instantly between mobile workers and headquarters.

eDispatch, a web-based productivity tool for the transportation, construction, and field service industries, is available in the initial launch phase through Nextel Online. eDispatch allows dispatchers to receive job status and job completion information in near real-time from the field, while also enabling field workers to receive, acknowledge, and close out work orders from the road.

Another Nextel Online feature is IBM Mobile Connect, a component of IBM's Websphere Everyplace Suite. Mobile Connect is designed to allow remote access to e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks with a personal digital assistant using a Nextel Internet-capable phone as a wireless modem. ESRI NETENGINE 1.2 SHIPPING ESRI has announced that NetEngine 1.2 is now shipping. NetEngine software is a programmer's library designed for geographic network analysis such as networks defining streets, railways, utility and distribution facilities, or rivers. NetEngine provides the capability to define, store, traverse, and analyze many kinds of networks through a C application program interface or through Visual Basic via a type library.

NetEngine 1.2 includes new solvers, improved performance, and options that add flexibility for programmers. The new hierarchical shortest-path and origin-destination solvers enhance the performance of NetEngine, and support for bit map and heap data structure allows implementation of custom network solutions. NetEngine 1.2 also includes samples that show how to construct networks with turn information and how to use the allocate view and the new hierarchical solvers. WMCA ENDORSES PREPASS The Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association (WMCA) board of directors has voted to endorse PrePass, a technology that could enable qualified motor carriers to comply electronically with Wisconsin safety, weight, and credential requirements at highway speed.

Only motor carriers with proven safety records qualify to participate in PrePass, and participation is voluntary. As qualified trucks approach a PrePass-equipped inspection facility, an in-cab transponder identifies the vehicle to a computer, which verifies compliance with state requirements. Vehicles in compliance receive a green light on the in-cab transponder instructing them to bypass the inspection facility at highway speed. DESCARTES, TELETRAC PARTNER A distribution arrangement has been announced between the Descartes Systems Group, a provider of business-to-business Internet logistics solutions, and Teletrac, a company involved in the wireless metropolitan location and data solutions market.

Teletrac will offer Descartes' web-based route optimization software, which provides routing and scheduling on a fee-per-transaction basis, to subscribers over the web. The service will be offered to Teletrac's existing customer base, as well as new prospects for its fleet management services. YELLOW FREIGHT JOINS EXCHANGE Yellow Freight System, the largest operating subsidiary of Yellow Corp, will participate in the design, functionality, and integration of the American Petroleum Exchange.

Yellow is joined on the exchange by United Parcel Service, Wal-Mart, Ryder Transportation, Tyson Foods, American Freightways, Federal Express Ground, The Pantry, and Moran Towing as charter members.

To be launched in summer 2000, the exchange makes auctions, reverse auctions, forward fixed and variable contracts, and indexed-based deals available. Other benefits include the option of using dynamic pricing tied to NYMEX quotes and other real-time and same-day indexes. LABELMASTER OFFERS 49ONLINE Labelmaster's new package can help shippers, carriers, or freight forwarders. For $99, subscribers to receive a one-year subscription, including updates via e-mail, downloadable forms for immediate use, and a history of regulation changes. This package also includes a spiral-bound edition of the government's 1999 edition of the 49 CFR (parts 100-185), and Labelmaster's Early 49 CFR 2000 edition.

SITE LINKS PETROLEUM BUYERS, TRUCKING INDUSTRY Seventeen of the nation's biggest petroleum buyers have joined the American Petroleum Exchange (APE), an Internet-based exchange, to link refiners and marketers with the commercial and government fuel accounts they supply. The site can be accessed at

Expected to open for business this summer, APE aims to give suppliers of all sizes a single point of access to fuel buyers. Larger suppliers will be able to target accounts that previously were too costly for them to acquire, while jobbers will be able to zero in on business once beyond their reach.

Charter members of the supply site include United Parcel Service, Wal-Mart, Ryder Transportation, Tyson Foods, Yellow Freight System, American Freightways, Federal Express Ground, The Pantry Inc, and Moran Towing. Combined, the charter members buy more than six billion gallons per year of gasoline and diesel fuel.

Several refiners also are acquiring a stake in APE. To ensure that neutrality is maintained, no refiner will be allowed to own more than a small minority interest, and - combined - refiners will be limited to 30% of the equity.

Controlling interest in APE will be held by neutral third parties that do not buy or sell petroleum. Refiners that take a stake will provide committed gallons, plus their expertise in supply chain management and payment processing to assure the liquidity and efficiency of APE.

Auctions, reverse auctions, forward fixed and variable contracts, and indexed-based deals are available. Other benefits include the option of using dynamic pricing tied to New York Mercantile Exchange quotes and other real-time and same-day indexes. APE has also entered into an alliance with Oil Price Information Service to provide current and historical pricing data, indexes, news, training, and risk management expertise.