It is time to break out your game board once again and play “link the subsidiaries.” I heard this one recently from a Cox person at a conference. I don’t know if they have it in production yet, but it sure sounds good.
If you authorize vAuto to source new inventory as it sees fit, then it can connect to Manheim and automatically place the orders. As soon as the gavel goes down, Dealer.com can pick up images and data from Manheim and immediately begin merchandising the vehicle. Cox also owns the logistics company that hauls the vehicle, so they can report when it will arrive on the lot.
So, you could conceivably have a customer walk in to buy a vehicle that is arriving today, with the entire sourcing cycle untouched by human hands. In fact, this sounds a little like what I described in Cox Automotive Home Game. No mention (yet) of the COXML message format.
Update: Details here from Mark O’Neil. The chain goes: vAuto, Stockwave, Manheim, NextGear, and then Dealer.com.
After Dealertrack, I started noticing how many other companies Cox Automotive has acquired. Many of my old friends are now Cox employees. I wondered if Cox would be able to find synergies among the subs. Acquirers always talk about synergy, which means that the combined entity should make more money than the subs could on their own. For example, listings on MakeMyDeal come from Autotrader, which benefits both.
There are other examples that I am not at liberty to disclose. Strategy buffs can play along using the exhibit below. Click the thumbnail for a larger image, print it out, and then draw lines connecting subs where synergies are possible. Look for cross selling, channel sharing, vertical integration, etc.
Be creative, but don’t be vague. You must be able to identify a project that will exploit each synergy. Extra points for stringing subs together in workflow sequence. Here is one that I spotted while making the chart. Any resemblance to an actual project is purely coincidental.
- AiM snaps a photo of an off-lease vehicle. This photo, plus some data, is uploaded to Manheim, then forwarded to HomeNet and advertised for resale on Dealer.com … all using a proprietary message format which we’ll call, playfully, COXML.
You can see that Cox tiles our function space pretty thoroughly (not to mention the Chinese holdings) so there is plenty of opportunity. Enjoy the game, and feel free to share your results.