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New OEConnection CEO sees opportunities to innovate, raise profile

Written by on October 25, 2020

Automotive software program firm OEConnection LLC bought its begin in 2000 as a three way partnership between Ford Motor Co., Common Motors Co., Chrysler, and Bell and Howell. The unique tools producers had determined that, as an alternative of making an attempt to create on-line options in-house, they’d come collectively to create an outdoor platform.

That basis of innovation continues to be driving the Richfield-based firm ahead at this time.

“Innovation is basically inside our DNA, and evolution is inside our DNA,” mentioned new president and CEO Patrick C. Brown. “And we’ll proceed to do this as we have a look at our product set, as we broaden our product set and as we have a look at our shopper or buyer base and likewise broaden that to essentially serve extra of our constituents on the collision and mechanical aspect of the world.”

Brown was named president and CEO of OEConnection in early October, succeeding Chuck Rotuno, who moved into the position of government chairman.

Rotuno had been CEO of OEConnection since its founding in 2000.

Brown has plenty of expertise on the gross sales, go-to-market aspect of the enterprise, mentioned Rotuno, whose background was in finance. That monetary expertise actually labored out for the corporate to this point, however Rotuno mentioned he thinks a recent standpoint can be wholesome for the enterprise.

Rotuno additionally mentioned Brown has extra expertise in worldwide markets than he did, which can be useful as the corporate continues to develop its attain past North America.

OEConnection works with automakers internationally, whether or not it is U.S.-based firms doing enterprise abroad or abroad producers working within the states.

“We have now to be world,” Brown mentioned. “We will not simply be U.S.-centric.”

Brown got here to OEConnection from expertise, finance and insurance coverage answer supplier Modern Aftermarket Programs, the place he served as president and CEO. He has a background within the monetary and insurance coverage applied sciences markets, in addition to within the automotive business.

Brown mentioned he views himself as a “servant chief,” not taking the lead on the firm however as an alternative taking cues from everybody who’s gotten it the place it’s at this time. He does convey a recent perspective, although, and he is curious about increasing the corporate to new prospects and new markets.

OEConnection’s core enterprise is in expertise options that assist dealerships and restore outlets discover the elements they want from producers. Two of the corporate’s flagship merchandise are parts-procurement platforms CollisionLink and RepairLink, and Brown mentioned OEConnection will proceed to “innovate across the edges on these.” It additionally has helped to convey elements catalogs on-line.

Now, OEConnection is utilizing merchandise like LinkIQ to begin to assist its prospects higher perceive and analyze how they’re performing in contrast with their friends. Presenting the info it is already gathering in easy-to-understand methods is one other manner OEConnection can add worth. That focus has been rising in recent times, however is of specific curiosity to Brown.

“On the finish of the day, OEC has such super information on our platform. It is hundreds of thousands of transactions that happen on our platform,” Brown mentioned.

The corporate’s core prospects are OEMs and dealerships, however Brown additionally sees increasing help for its collision and restore prospects as a “important path” for the corporate’s future. And whereas he plans for the corporate to develop amongst its present buyer base, he additionally sees alternative to broaden into new areas. Already, OEConnection has grown from a deal with automotive to 1 that features heavy truck, and Brown sees potential in areas corresponding to energy sport automobiles and RVs as properly.

“I at all times say if it is bought two tires and a motor, it is a possibility for us,” Brown mentioned.

OEConnection has nearly 1,000 staff across the globe, but it surely calls Northeast Ohio house. Brown mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic and distant work — and the belief {that a} hybrid mannequin may very well be attainable going ahead — has allowed the corporate to broaden its hiring base to a wider radius within the area.

OEConnection is one among “Northeast Ohio’s best-kept secrets and techniques,” Rotuno mentioned.

The corporate has typically operated beneath the radar regardless of its wholesome gross sales, important worker base and relationships with main automakers.

Folks do not typically consider Cleveland as a base for expertise firms, Rotuno mentioned, however he is seeing extra native graduates pursuing expertise as a level and firms like OEConnection and Hyland Software program thriving within the area.

Although OEConnection has grown its choices over time, the “imaginative and prescient and mission” has remained regular, Rotuno mentioned. And he thinks the corporate will proceed to develop and grow to be extra of a recognizable model title sooner or later.

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