Top priority

Nov. 1, 2002
SERVICE to customers continues to be one of the top priorities for suppliers as they contend with a competitive market. As a result, they are making better

SERVICE to customers continues to be one of the top priorities for suppliers as they contend with a competitive market. As a result, they are making better use of their Web sites to provide not only information, but a way for more customer interaction.

ArvinMeritor, Troy, Michigan, is using its Web site to survey supplier performance to better serve customers. BF Goodrich, Greenville, South Carolina, makes it easy to find dealers on a new site designed exclusively for truck tires. International Truck and Engine Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois, has redesigned pages to attract and retain customers. Rand McNally's Transportation Data Management subsidiary, Skokie, Illinois, has created a new site that features commercial trucking software solutions.

Following is a look at the companies' Web site content, which demonstrates their efforts to use the Internet in a variety of ways to serve their customers.

ArvinMeritor has introduced a supplier performance rating and feedback section on its Web site. The section is designed for suppliers in North America, South America, and Europe, collects data from each of the company's plants, and combines it in a web-based tool that measures and tracks supplier performance in such areas as quality, delivery, and program management.

The company plans to reduce its supply base over the next four years in an effort to drive improvement throughout the supply chain, according to company information. Use of the Web site will support the company's plans to determine which suppliers will continue as one of ArvinMeritor's key partners.

After registering to use the tool online, suppliers can generate reports for complaints per million, complaint rate, production part approval process (PPAP) on-time delivery, and PPAP rejection rate, delivery and premium freight. This information will show suppliers how they rate in quality, delivery, and program management, which will ultimately help them improve their performance, according to ArvinMeritor.

In addition, the site serves as a communication channel for key suppliers.

BFGoodrich Commercial Truck Tires has introduced a new Web site to assist customers in obtaining complete information about everything from tire construction, to tire applications, to dealer locations.

The site contains sections on tire information, dealers, history, news, products, and tire sizes. The tire information link takes users to a page containing links to sections on load index, tire construction, tire recommendations, tire dimensions, and tire markings. This page also contains a link which accesses the 24-page BFGoodrich Commercial Truck Tires Data Book, with information on all BFGoodrich brand truck tires.

Users who want to find out the best BFGoodrich tires for their trucks and trailers can enter the tire applications section and click on one of six links, which will access the selection of tires designed for their application. For example, the long-haul link recommends the ST234 long-haul steer tire, the TR134 shallow tread trailer tire, or the DR444 deep tread long haul drive tire. The motor home, recreational vehicle, and local pick-up and delivery link recommends the ST230 tire.

Customers can access a page with a map of North America showing the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A click on a country brings up a screen with a search section for locating dealers. They can select all the dealers in a chosen state, a dealer by name, or a dealer within a given number of miles.

Another page allows customers to download a Cool Rigs Screen Saver and information on how to enter the Cool Rigs Contest. Each year, BFGoodrich Commercial Truck Tires sponsors a Cool Rigs Photo Contest in which owners of Class Six, Class Seven, and Class Eight trucks enter their “cool” looking rig. Winners are pictured annually in the BFGoodrich Tires Cool Rigs Calendar.

International Truck and Engine Corporation, Warrenville, Illinois, has redesigned its Web site to provide current and prospective buyers with a continuous supply of information. New features include full site search capabilities, downloadable PDF brochures, a large catalog of International photography, and the ability to search for trucks by model or vocational-specific applications.

Visitors to each of the vehicle center pages will find flexible messaging, or direct links, to the latest news and promotions for International products.

Future additions to the Web site will include sales and customer economic value tools, as well as a section that will allow for online assistance for generating bid specifications. The site will eventually include complete information about warranty, maintenance, and recall information for International products.

Rand McNally's Transportation Data Management subsidiary, Skokie, Illinois, has introduced a new Web site featuring a line of commercial trucking products. The site replaces as the online location for shippers and carriers seeking route management solutions.

The Web site is designed for users to research Rand McNally commercial trucking software solutions based on their business needs and requirements. They can analyze the benefits and applications of each of the Rand McNally commercial transportation products, including MileMaker, IntelliRoute, IntelliRoute Deluxe, IntelliRoute Online, RouteTools — professional driver edition, RouteTools — small fleet edition, RoadTax, and the Motor Carriers' Road Atlas.

One of the new site features, “Which Product is Right for Me?,” contains a tool that recommends the appropriate Rand McNally product based on the customers' technology platform, company type, and integration needs.

Users can view product demonstrations that focus on features and benefits of each product, and they can review system requirements for each mileage and routing product.

Rand McNally's information technology alliances and partnerships also are explained on the site. Case studies and customer profiles are provided.

Some of the company's products can be purchased through the site, including RouteTools and the Motor Carriers' Road Atlas.

About the Author

Mary Davis