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Ford scraps Oracle-based procurement system

Automaker dumps Everest procurement system to revert to older technologies.

Auto giant Ford Motor confirmed Wednesday that it is abandoning its Oracle-powered online procurement system in favor of technologies it had used previously.

Ford representatives said the company has been evaluating all of its product-related procurement tools and decided to shelve the project, known as Everest, in favor of other "proven systems." Paul Wood, a Ford spokesman, declined to comment on Oracle's role in the decision, but said that Everest would be phased out over a period of "many months." Wood said Ford partners currently using Everest would continue to do so for the immediate future as the changeover progresses.

"Not all of our suppliers touched a piece of Everest, but those that have will transition back to the other systems over time," Wood said. "Ford felt it was in its partners' best interests to make this decision."

Oracle declined to comment on the announcement, citing a nondisclosure agreement with Ford. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company did say it will continue to "support Ford on its back-to-basics strategic initiatives and IT projects." Wood confirmed that the automaker has no plans to stop using the software maker's database applications, among other products. He did not elaborate on the systems that would replace Everest.

At the time of Everest's announcement in late 2002, Ford had already been working on the project for two years and hoped the system would allow it to replace its proprietary procurement applications, known as the Ford Supplier Network, which had been in use since 1998.

The Everest system was built around Oracle's 11i e-commerce software and was used for everything from creating purchase orders to sending pricing quotes between companies. The installation of Everest had been slated for completion in 2003, but Ford said Wednesday that some suppliers still hadn't adopted the Everest system.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker's Everest procurement effort existed independently of the company's involvement with Covisint, a formerly high-flying company created by a coalition of major car makers that has since fallen on hard times and been purchased by software maker Compuware. In August 2001, Ford hired Covisint to develop and host the next generation of the Ford Supplier Network.

However, Covisint has also come to be considered a failure across the auto industry. The company's business failed to take off because its e-commerce technology proved more complex than anticipated, and suppliers soured on the idea of competing for business online. Wood did not comment on Ford's current involvement with Covisint.