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Ezysurf to drive motor parts industry online

By Aimee McClinchy

Friday 7th April 2000

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Michael Spencer JOINT EFFORT: Michael Spencer heads both firms and says they're a 'mutual fit'
Internet service provider Ezysurf has announced its first business-to-business initiative - a project to get the notoriously high-charging motor vehicle parts industry switched on to e-commerce.

Ezysurf has provided technical expertise to develop the auto parts sourcing and ordering website, run by a group of industry figures.

The auto-parts industry, made up mostly of small business owners, is traditionally known for wide pricing disparities between retailers and wholesalers.

The site, www.partexpress.co.nz, is the first b2b initiative Ezysurf announced after revealing it had a number of strategic alliances and acquisitions planned (NBR, Feb 18).

Ezysurf is a five-month-old ISP company headed by Michael Spencer, son of NBR Rich List member Peter Spencer. Michael Spencer also heads the business-to-business wireless company eSurf Wireless.

Peter Spencer's Dresden Equities is the majority shareholder in both companies.

"Ezysurf has joined with partexpress.co.nz to develop a sustainable development programme and the joint effort is seen as a mutual fit between an ISP and a business-to-business solution," Mr Spencer said.

Those involved in the project believe the motor mechanics industry, with more than 4500 garages and 1500 crash-repair operators nationwide, is primed for internet connections and e-commerce after many invested in computer equipment last year to access the Land Transport and Safety Authority's warrant of fitness programme.

Partexpress.co.nz's executives include Kul Sharma, the local market chief executive, director and Australian market chief executive George Dixon, a former motor-trade publisher, and Herb Bennett, former regional manager of the Motor Trade Association.

The website had been rolled out locally, with an Australian launch due shortly, Mr Sharma said.

The catalogued site places trade customers and small business owners' orders with major parts suppliers, both locally and internationally, and delivers within specified times.

"The internet allows efficiency in trading parts without the necessity of creating chains or large retail groups," Mr Sharma said.

"We can give [garage owners] buying efficiency without them losing their independence."

Partexpress.co.nz follows a global auto-parts exchange launched by software giants Oracle and Commerce One for DaimlerChrysler, General Motors and Ford.

Other companies, including Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki and Isuzu, are lined up to join as the industry attempts to process $US500 billion of transactions through its site and save millions.



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