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Dot-com frenzy out of control: Hebe

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As a growing number of Internet-based businesses emerge to capture a share of the business-to-business E-commerce market, they've found a frustrated industry leader. Freightliner Cor...


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As a growing number of Internet-based businesses emerge to capture a share of the business-to-business E-commerce market, they’ve found a frustrated industry leader. Freightliner Corp. president Jim Hebe says enough is enough.

“It’s going to be the most short-lived phenomenon we’ve ever seen,” he said of Internet exchange sites, during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show. “The road to hell is going to be paved with the carcasses of people who invest in these things.”

Some companies are simply launching such ventures to appease shareholders looking for a quick jump in their stock prices, he says. They don’t necessarily have a business plan. “Is that a way to launch a business?”

He refers specifically to ventures meant to sell truck parts, and those hoping to become a conduit for sales in the multi-billion-dollar industry.

“Everyone is tempted to jump into this parts business, and think they’re going to skim two per cent off the top of a quick exchange,” he says. “You’re going to finally get under the skin of some of us.

“This is not good for this business,” he says. “Price is not the ultimate way to differentiate ourselves.”

Who’s going to carry the receivables, or handle warranty claims and returned parts? he asks. “That’s what we as a manufacturer do today.”

Hebe adds it isn’t likely that electronic inventories will be linked as seamlessly as these E-com entrepreneurs may think. Most manufacturers work from different platforms. n


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