New Business Model, New Technology

Bell Automotive Products finds app to streamline its overseas product sourcing

Bedford, MA  August 28, 2002  Scottsdale, Ariz-based Bell Automotive Products Inc., a supplier of automotive accessories, has picked The Progress Co.'s Apprise Distribution application to support its overseas product sourcing. The Progress Co. is a business unit of Progress Software Corp. and a supplier of technology for building business applications.

Based on Progress OpenEdge technology, The Progress Co. said Apprise provides tools for distributors to manage product importation, anticipate and respond to changing customer purchasing patterns, support high-volume transaction environments, and provide charge-back support.

With the recent acquisition of Cobb Manufacturing, a supplier of auto convenience products, and the creation of new non-automotive business units, Bell decided to streamline operations by outsourcing its manufacturing to Asia. This business model change sent Bell hunting for a distribution application flexible enough to handle the complexities of distinctly different business units, while still meeting the stringent demands of mass merchandizing giants in the retail, office supply and auto parts markets.

Bell was looking for an application that could support product sourcing from Asia, customize to meet customer demands and keep up with the company's growth rate. During the evaluation process the company said they contracted with a consulting company to see what distribution-focused solutions were available in the marketplace.

In the end, Bell said the Apprise Distribution application not only provided the best fit from a technology and budget standpoint, it also allowed the company to quickly address the needs of their demanding customer base.

"We selected Apprise because they understood our industry and requirements," said Jim Neitzel, vice president of information technology for Bell. "We needed something that had growth potential, without forcing us to change platforms in the near future. The Apprise application had the flexibility and power to meet our needs today and well into tomorrow."

In addition to meeting Bell's functionality needs, leveraging the Apprise application has provided Bell with significant overhead and productivity savings. Bell said it currently has three warehouses with about one million square feet of space to manage. Due to the efficiency and increased management capabilities of the Apprise application, the company is consolidating its three distribution facilities into one 600,000 square foot warehouse.