Internet Parts Ordering could help streamline up to five million special orders a day. Considering that there are some 5,000 manufacturers in the aftermarket in North America, and some 20,000 customers buying parts, if each one had just one special order a day, that would easily translate into millions of transactions, most by phone and fax, with all the incumbent opportunities for errors. Speaking at the Aftermarket e-Forum being held in Chicago this week, Scott Luckett, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association’s point man on technology, says that new tools, like Internet Parts Ordering (IPO) can provide some real costs savings and streamline processes. "What IPO allows as an industry is for us to talk between our business systems to talk in a specific way. What this does is eliminate the need for two trading partners to negotiate how we are going to do this. "You don’t have to figure out how you’re going to do it, you just look at the standards and do it that way. "What’s exciting about IPO is that this is some really complex technology. This is ugly stuff. But it is commercially available and you don’t have to figure out what an XML baud is, you can jut take advantage of the solution. "That’s pretty exciting standards that impacts a lot of transactions every day." Luckett says that some companies are now beginning to adopt IPO: Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly, Global Accessories, Carquest, to name a few. "Special orders are just one type of business communications." Stock order and information exchange represent a large about on communications. The Partnership Network was one of the outcomes of O’Reilly’s sharing of its experience. It allows VAN-like communication, without the cost. "The first of the third party solution providers is now able to bring this technology to those who don’t have EDI translators, who don’t have IT departments. "Between the IPO and the Partnership Network I think our industry can save some money on communications costs."