Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=6502265
Toyota Motor Sales USA has built a large real-time private network to link 900 Toyota dealers and 200 Lexus dealers with corporate information systems to help dealers manage ordering, financing, insurance, sales reporting, warranty claims, parts, and inbound vehicles.
The network, dubbed Toyota Dealer Daily, is expected to be announced today by Toyota USA's CIO Barbara Cooper. The system is a major step forward in Toyota's quest to build a technology infrastructure that will support build-to-order, a process in which a customer can order a customized version of a vehicle and Toyota instantaneously provides the date on which the vehicle will be delivered. Build-to-order requires a seamless link between auto dealers' order-management systems and the production- and inventory-management systems used by auto makers.
Dealer Daily, a Windows-based system that replaces a legacy AS/400 mainframe system, was developed during the past four years by Toyota's information technology division in partnership with Dell, Microsoft Consulting Services, and WorldCom. The Web-based system is accessed over a managed network rather than the public Internet.
Toyota USA says the system already has increased dealer productivity by nearly 70% because dealers now spend less time at their computers and more time selling vehicles. The centralized information system eliminates unnecessary data entry and reduces potential for errors. Dealers no longer need to re-key information into separate systems to Toyota headquarters or other units. News and notices from Toyota are delivered in the portal so dealers receive them immediately. The cost of the system wasn't disclosed.