“People have different ideas what it means. It has a generic and specific meaning. The generic meaning is anything that has to do with computer to computer business and encompasses what we have called EDI. Talk to people in the aftermarket, they think it’s EDI. In the computer business, we think of e-commerce as the ability for customers to do business on a supplier’s website.
“The aftermarket has traditionally been slow to incorporate technology in their business, and the farther down the chain you get the truer that is; this year warehouses, and then jobbers and some time after that installers.”
He says it’s a symbiotic relationship: everyone is influencing everyone else’s perceptions, expectations and concepts of what e-commerce can offer. “One of the major things that is driving this is the speed at which technology is being made available to the field. All of the different capabilities revolve around the Internet and the expansion of the Internet. One of the limiting factors is the availability of high-speed Internet access.”
He says that availability in major centers is spotty; outside of major centers, it is even worse. That’s an infrastructure issue.
“Regardless of the company or industry, the common denominator is what service is available where. If you don’t have it available, how soon are you going to get it?” And that cuts across all industries.