A record number of attendees participated in the fourth annual Aftermarket eForum in Chicago this week. The event is the only e-conference exclusively focused on the automotive aftermarket. AAIA, AIA Canada, AWDA, MEMA and SEMA organized he event which drew more than 350 people. The eForum kicked off Monday in Chicago with a two-hour overview of supply chain technology. Chris Gardner of MEMA’s MIS Council was part of a panel that provided a detailed breakdown of supply chain technology as it relates to the automotive aftermarket. Utilizing technology to automate business transactions and find new markets, e-commerce and e-business are quickly becoming familiar terms in the business world. In the mature aftermarket industry, now more than ever, many businesses are finding it’s time to try something new – stepping into the heady territory of supply chain technology. During the presentation, Gardner focused on communications throughout the supply chain, explaining such systems as Translink and Translink WebDX. Gardner provided an overview of MEMA and AAIA standards for XML and EDI as well. On Tuesday, it was discussed that the next big issue ahead for aftermarket ecommerce is not synchronization of data but the “us vs. them” mentality prevalent in the industry, according to Jerry McCabe, vice president of Dana’s Underhood Group. “What good will it do to have data in harmony where people are not,” McCabe said. McCabe also called for an industry incentive to spread broadband Internet as far down the supply chain as possible. The 2005 Aftermarket eForum will take place July 18-20, again at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. Coverage of this year’s eForum will be available to Canadian readers in the September issue of Jobber News Magazine.