Archive for February, 2009

CarbonBlack launches a turnkey ecommerce solution

Australia February 24, 2009CarbonBlack.com.au, Australia’s leading independent online destination for tyres and other auto services, today announced the launch of both its ecommerce and fulfilment services for the auto parts and accessories sector with over 900,000 parts listed for over 7,800 vehicles.

In addition to finding leading service centres for services (such as tyre fitment, logbook servicing and pre-purchase inspections) consumers will now be able to research and buy parts by vehicle make, model and year as well as popular accessories such as car reversing cameras and ipod chargers, all at competitive prices.

Parts and accessories suppliers may sell their parts products online through CarbonBlack, as well as make use of CarbonBlack’s new fulfilment services. CarbonBlack has partnered with Magnamail Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading direct marketing companies since 1974.

Magnamail delivers products to all parts of Australian and New Zealand for leading Australian suppliers from its state-of-the-art 5000 sq meter warehouse. “CarbonBlack operates on a very professional level, and has significant industry networks. We are pleased to join forces to service some of the auto industry’s leading clients,” outlined Mr. Rafique Majam, Managing Director of Magnamail.
CarbonBlack Managing Director Jodi Stanton says she is pleased to continue to bring new opportunities to its growing base of consumers and trade participants.

CarbonBlack’s existing clients include the Motor Traders’ Association, Hunter Holden, Pirelli, Continental, most Victorian Mazda stores, Lube Mobile, Sydney City Toyota and the new entrant Benchmark Auto. Already they have signed on significant parts suppliers as well, providing both parts and accessories. “We are not seeking to replicate existing channels, but work closely with a smaller number of key clients on converting their sales. Most suppliers do not have the processes and IT systems in place to deliver the small shipments or provide adequate customer service and CRM”, states Ms. Stanton. “It’s a complete turnkey solution.”

CarbonBlack.com.au is leveraging its mass marketing partners such as CatalogueCentral.com.au and dozens of niche automotive partners such as the Australian Women’s Motorsport Network to market the ecommerce site.

Carbon Black is an online community with voting, recommendations, reviews and useful search capabilities that become more helpful over time as more people contribute. CarbonBlack.com.au uses interactive tools to provide a targeted experience for visitors. Since establishment in mid 2007, CarbonBlack has increased its marketing services to include market research and email marketing to over 600,000 profiled consumers.

Sell your products on CarbonBlack
More about CarbonBlack Fulfilment

If you would like to discuss ecommerce or fulfillment with CarbonBlack please email Nigel nigelm@carbonblack.com.au or contact us.

February 27, 2009 at 3:58 am Leave a comment

Should Tyres have a use-By Date?

Channel 7’s “Today Tonight” program on Friday 5th December, picked up on earlier publicity originating from an American T.V. program “Twenty-twenty”. An aggrieved customer in South Australia complained that he had been sold Light Truck tyres that were already 14 years old when fitted. One tyre had separated its steel belts from the tread ring, causing damage to his mudguard, and raised the risk of an accident.

The British Rubber Manufacturers have recommended that tyres more than six years old should not be sold, but there is no law requiring this anywhere in the world at present. The American Rubber Manufacturers Association states that there is no scientific evidence to support a six-year limitation on the life of a tyre.

The Channel 7 program cut pieces from the sidewall of the tyre, and did a “tensile test”, pulling on the test piece till it broke. Pieces cut from the (used) 14 year old tyre broke at a lower tensile than from a new tyre. Why they tested the sidewalls, which are a different rubber compound to the tread/steel belt area, it is not known, but it is not surprising that testing two tyres made 14 years apart would give different test results. The reason? The tyres were different!

Tyres are warranted for their life by the manufacturer. Occasionally tyres, like many products, are subjected to a recall program. To enable identification of these, a code is branded into the sidewall, which is used world wide, and is a requirement of the American Department of Transportation. It is called the DOT code. Practically all tyre manufacturers worldwide use this code.

The code details the actual factory in which the tyre was made, the design, and among others items, the last appearing group lists the week and year the tyre was made. 3 digits for the ninetees, four digits for the noughties. Examples then are 489 for the 48th week of 1989, 2604 the 26th week of 2004.

Tyres are generally 6 months to 2 years old by the time they are fitted to your car as replacements. The original equipment tyres are generally one week to six months old, dependent on whether the car was made here, or imported.

The Australian tyre market is so fragmented, with many makes and models of vehicles sold, that the supply chain for replacement tyres is very long, and large stocks are held at distribution points to meet market requirements. For example, the 11 hectare distribution centre at Somerton, Victoria, can hold up to 11 million tyres. Naturally, efforts are made through inventory control to ensure quick turnaround of stock going into the store, to reduce holding costs.

Eventually, tyres are shipped out to your local tyre store. Here they should be stored in racks, in a “cool, dry place”. Many tyre storage areas paint their tyre storage area windows with blue paint to screen out U.V. This is because tyres get harder with age. The vulcanisation process continues at a very slow rate, and protective agents such as antioxidants and antiozidants incorporated into the mix diminish in effectiveness with prolonged storage. Walk into a darkened tyre store, and you can smell the rubber. A somewhat doubtful farming practice used to be that tractor tyres were stored by the farmer to “harden them up”, and possibly improve tread wear. Really, all it did was increase the risk of buttress cracking.

Unless stored correctly (read “All About tyres/Storing a tyre” on our http://www.carbonblack.com.au site), the tyres will eventually craze or crack most severely where the tyre is resting on the pipe rack. This is because stretched rubber is attacked by ozone in the air. Ozone is generated by electric motors and lightning, so maybe the shop compressor is the culprit. However, tests done in the past have never been able to show that tyres stored this way will not give a satisfactory life. The deformations caused by the pipe rack run out as soon as the tyre gets run in on the vehicle- say 10 kilometres, depending on the temperature.

The real sleeper in all this is your spare wheel. Stored in the boot, or under the tray of a light truck, it is subjected to high summer temperatures, and may lay there undisturbed for six years or more if you don’t have to use it. Our discussion on what to do about that is contained in “All about tyres/original equipment”. Basically, it has missed out on six years of design improvements whilst sleeping in the car boot, or lying in the dealer’s racks waiting for a sale, or in the South Australian’s case, 14 years.

So should tyres have a “Use by Date?” It would appear that provided they have been stored correctly, there is not a problem with tyres encountered in the usual course of trade. Besides, somewhere out of Broken Hill or Wilcannia or somewhere like that, you will be pleased to find that the tyre service has your badly needed tyre, even if it is a bit dusty.

All that applies to tyres also applies to automotive car batteries of course, for all the same reasons, except that a lead acid battery does in fact have a finite life, and has to be stored correctly with its charge maintained until it is sold. The warranty period then kicks in once it is sold.

February 15, 2009 at 4:44 am 3 comments

Mazda 3 outstripped Holden VE and Toyota Corolla, previous market darlings

Someone once said “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”.

Build a pretty little car that looks good, drives well, and doesn’t cost a fortune to run, and it will attract buyers into the showrooms faster than a plain Jane, reliable, but conservative looking car.

It’s all about emotion- and you must admit, the Mazda 3 is a pretty looking motorcar!

January sales of the Mazda 3 outstripped Holden VE and Toyota Corolla, previous market darlings. The Holden defeat could be explained by the fact that fleet sales are always low in January. Petrol prices remained high for most of January, when there didn’t seem to be any logical reason why it was so.

The Australian dollar hovered around the US$ 65 cents mark, and crude oil around US $40 a barrel, so some price gouging of touring holiday makers seemed apparent. Yet prices as low as 97 cents/litre, and as high as 127 cents/litre, were recorded in Sydney in that period.

No wonder sales of small cars are booming, as it’s apparent that high petrol prices will be around for some time. Just can’t see them driving Sydney to Melbourne comfortably in 8 hours with a full load of passengers and luggage to see the Australian Open, or the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Yet that is what’s happening with the newer designs of small cars. Bring them on!

February 15, 2009 at 4:29 am Leave a comment