New Portal Targets n-Tier Auto Suppliers

Tier Solutions launches portal for small to midsize suppliers in automotive vertical

Ann Arbor, MI -- February 7, 2002 -- Tier Solutions made its debut this week
as an automotive industry portal targeting small and midsize suppliers.

"Tier Solutions was formed to help automotive supplier companies improve
their business performance through a wide range of consulting services and
e-business solutions," the company said in a statement. "The company's
primary objective is to support the interests of the small to midsize
suppliers along with fragmented operations of larger suppliers and [original
equipment manufacturers]."

A recent study by The Automotive Consulting Group (ACG) revealed that 81
percent of automotive suppliers surveyed said they either did not have an
e-business strategy or were just starting one.

"Many suppliers, especially medium to small ones, recognize the need to
become more efficient through process improvement and the use of e-business
tools, but they don't know how to get started and how to evaluate the many
alternatives out there," said Tier Solutions CEO Dennis Virag. "Tier
Solutions has kept the needs of suppliers in mind, particularly those
companies that don't need and can't afford the complex, high-end solutions."

Studies by ACG showed that automotive suppliers that outperform their peers
excel in eight key business processes, and Virag said the new portal will
focus its services and solutions around these processes. "We recognize the
tremendous need automotive companies have to improve performance," Virag
said. "Companies should focus on 'mastering' their processes and then
incorporate appropriate e-business tools to take them to the next level.
That's why we provide a combination of consulting and e-business solutions."

Tier Solutions currently offers tools ranging from supply chain visibility
to customer portal and information system and services such as offshore
engineering and design services, failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)
and product development best practices.

"We are very close to adding solutions in supply chain management, supplier
information portals, quality management systems, lean manufacturing and
business performance management systems," Varig said.

Tier Solutions also has launched an automotive portal with information on
the consulting services and e-business tools the company offers.

Technology consultancy AMR Research recently pointed out in a research alert
that the proliferation of portals has left auto industry suppliers facing
mountains of fees and labor costs to keep up with customer portal

AMR cited industry e-marketplace Covisint's efforts to establish itself as
the central portal for the industry as a positive move toward a unified
platform joining the multitude of supplier portals across the automotive
vertical. AMR suggested that widespread acceptance of Covisint's portal
could lower enterprise-wide portal development costs to $1 million, which
suggest there may still be room for a portal solution targeting smaller
suppliers unable to pony up that kind of investment.