Improving Data Integration with Customers, Suppliers at Cooper Tire

Manufacturer taps Sterling for solution to automate business processes

Manufacturer taps Sterling for solution to automate business processes

Columbus, OH — September 13, 2004 — Cooper Tire, a manufacturer of replacement tires, has selected business integration specialist Sterling Commerce to enhance data sharing and multi-enterprise integration to expand supplier relations and decision-making support.

Cooper Tire & Rubber, headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of products for the global automotive industry. Cooper has more than 20,000 employees and 52 manufacturing facilities in 13 countries.

By implementing Sterling Commerce's Gentran Integration Suite, a modular business integration solution, Cooper Tire could automate and modify its business processes, meeting its customers' changing business requirements while supporting a service-oriented architecture (SOA). In addition, with the product's Web extensions and perimeter services, Cooper Tire can securely exchange data over the Internet.

"The Internet has made it possible to send files to anyone, anywhere, anytime," said Dave Drake, lead systems architect with Cooper Tire. "But because the information we exchange is business critical, we needed an extra layer of services that provides the necessary security and tracking capabilities."

Gentran Integration Suite is a modular business integration platform that provides a range of capabilities, including support for Internet B2B, Web services, electronic data interchange (EDI), business process management, enterprise application integration and enhanced file transfer, according to Sterling.

The provider also said that Gentran's perimeter services provides a high-performance, scalable and secure data pipe by providing lightweight server components that can be easily deployed to a demilitarized zone (DMZ) between firewalls to securely manage all message flows.

Cooper Tire also wanted to receive more data electronically to improve its supply chain management. The company could only accomplish this by integrating with partners outside the firewall to receive accurate and timely information about customer sales, individual store orders and product delivery status.

"To maintain and grow our market share, we needed to overcome all the complexity involved with sharing and integrating the information necessary to conduct business," said Drake. "Many of our customers and vendors are smaller, without sophisticated systems, so we needed to open up the playing field and offer numerous options for data integration."

Added Drake, "Many of our customers and vendors were asking if we could support SOAP, Web services and secure FTP communications, and we needed a way to meet these customer requests with repeatable business processes that could be easily managed and supported."

Drake said that after evaluating a number of business integration solution providers, Sterling Commerce emerged as the partner to handle the tens of thousands of electronic business documents that Cooper has per month, while supporting Web services and secure Internet communications, which are paramount to the tire company's daily operations.

"We continue to press for more efficiencies in our supply chain," Drake said. "One area where we will focus in 2004 and beyond is electronic connections with freight carriers since many still communicate with faxes or phone calls." Sterling said that Gentran Integration Suite provides Cooper Tire the necessary tools to bring carriers into an electronic environment, including support for secure FTP and other Internet-based communications.