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Sterling Commerce and Edibar Systems, Inc., Help Drive e-business Success for Auto Industry Supplier.

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Company Background

ACK Controls, Inc. supplies automotive cables to manufacturers of automobiles and light trucks, as well as industry OEMs. From company headquarters in Glasgow, Kentucky, ACK Controls ships 20 million cables annually-including brake, release, accelerator, shift and panel cables-to customers across the United States, Canada and overseas. ACK customers include General Motors, Honda, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of North America, NUMMI, Ambrake, CAMI, GECOM, and Dura Mechanical. ACK Controls, Inc. has more than 400 employees and is a joint venture of ACCO Controls Group, CHUO Spring Co., Ltd. and KOKOKU Steel Wire, Ltd.

Business Need

The automotive industry, a pioneer in just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, is known for using E-Business technologies to streamline supply-chain processes. This industry has been so successful in reducing excess inventory that auto manufacturers today typically have fewer than five hours of materials on hand for their production lines. They've been able to achieve this reduction through fast, accurate electronic communication with suppliers, which ensures that inventory continues to flow smoothly through the supply chain.

"Because of the importance of JIT and efficient supply-chain management in the automotive industry, our customers require electronic communication capability as a condition of doing business," observes Tracy Connor, network administrator at ACK Controls, Inc. "We must be able to send and receive various electronic business documents, while maintaining a high level of fast, accurate and reliable customer service."

Sterling Commerce and Edibar Systems Inc.

To meet these customer demands, ACK has implemented solutions from Sterling Commerce and its alliance partner, Edibar Systems, Inc. With 250 installations in the United States, Mexico and Canada, Edibar Systems, Inc., is a leading provider of integrated bar-code inventory tracking software for the auto industry, as well as solutions designed to integrate E-Business technologies such as electronic data interchange (EDI) with bar-code printing.

Through their alliance partnership, Sterling Commerce and Edibar Systems, Inc., jointly provide ACK Controls with offerings tailored to meet the needs of automotive OEM's for integrated software, bar-coding capabilities and value-added E-Business services in a JIT environment.

Solutions from Sterling Commerce provided as part of the alliance include GENTRAN:Director, PC-based software for E-Business message management, and COMMERCE:Network, Sterling's E-community management and E-Business processing service. Offerings from Edibar Systems, Inc., include the Automotive Release Management System (ARMS), which performs numerous functions such as managing daily shipping schedule applications and producing data for an electronic advanced ship notice. Edibar Systems, Inc., is also delivering automotive OEM template kits designed to be used with GENTRAN. These kits provide suppliers such as ACK Controls with the print and screen templates required by their E-Business partners in the automotive industry, and they include sample automotive partner profiles and communication scripts.

"We recognize Sterling Commerce as a leader in its industry, and so do automotive OEMs," explains Wayne Metcalfe, president of Edibar Systems, Inc. "Because of Sterling's reputation and name recognition, this alliance assures our OEM customers that we are providing reliable, leading-edge solutions, and that we are positioned to pursue the direction the industry takes in the future. For example, Sterling Commerce is making a dynamic presence with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to promote the Automotive Network eXchange® (ANX®)."