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Ai asks ANX president and CEO, Rich Stanbaugh about the recently announced ANX-ENX interconnection

Now, more than ever, the automotive industry depends on strategic collaboration between manufacturers and suppliers. In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, most vehicle design was done by and within OEMs. Collaboration was a challenge consisting of sharing product information between internal OEM locations across geographic boundaries and time zones. From a technology standpoint, OEMs were putting systems in place to facilitate simultaneous development and release of product information from each of the geographies in which they did business. That paradigm has shifted. Today, although the time-to-market has been reduced from 36 months to less than 24 months, more people are involved in the development of a vehicle than ever before. To complicate the matter, the majority of the “hands” that touch the design of a vehicle and its components are outside the four walls of the company. All of the data needed to support Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) must be seamlessly shared between partners involved in a vehicle program. This means that intellectual property is continuously flowing between companies, geographies and time zones. After the release of the vehicle to manufacturing, partners must continue to exchange time critical information to coordinate orders, shipping and manage inventory levels. 

The key to enabling the highly interdependent relationships between OEMs and suppliers is the secure and reliable flow of information. The stakes are high. Even a brief disruption of eBusiness applications can impact the bottom line by millions of dollars each minute. 

The ANX Network was created by the automotive industry to solve the automotive collaboration challenge. In 1998, ANX became the network of choice for exchanging critical and confidential information within the North American automotive industry. With over 20 million transactions processed per year with zero data breaches and zero virus proliferations to the core network, the ANX was a resounding success. 

Over the past decade, the automotive industry has continued to globalize. In 2009 China became the largest producer of vehicles in the world. The number of automobile producers with factories in the United States has tripled since the 1980s to 15 in 2008. Vertical integration has decreased while the number of alliances and partnerships between firms in North America, Europe and the rest of the world continues to grow. Globalization has created new demands to securely exchange data amongst all of the participants, big and small, within the automotive value chain. 

During this same era, Public Internet connectivity has become ubiquitous. Data suggests that growth in Internet utilization is outstripping growth in capacity and that security threats continue to grow in quantity and sophistication. Cyber criminals stole more than $1 trillion of intellectual property last year and that trend continues to grow. Moreover, targeted cyber attacks such as distributed denial of service can severely disrupt business-to-business communications. Although new solutions, such as IPVPNs, have been developed that provide a level of security, CIOs have expressed concern over the rapidly evolving threat landscape and are viewing private cloud solutions such as ANX with renewed interest. Members of the ANX community exchange information using a secure, private infrastructure that’s not vulnerable to threats originating from the Public Internet. In a recent survey, over 95% of ANX network customers indicated they were satisfied with their service. Those same customers expressed strong interest in wanting to secure their information exchange with European partners using their ANX connection. This customer feedback and the trend toward greater supply chain globalization lead to the development of ANX 2.0. 

ANX 2.0 represents the evolution of the ANX network. Whereas the original ANX was used to establish secure, private, business-to-business connections between North American companies, ANX 2.0 adds the functionality of being an “on-ramp” to other services. The centerpiece of this enhanced functionality is the interconnection to the European Network Exchange (ENX). The ENX Association, governing the communications network and managed security service of the European automotive industry, has certified ANX as an ENX Certified Service Provider in record time, creating a solid foundation for the interconnection and cooperation with all other ENX CSPs in Europe. ANX and ENX customers can now establish private connections to more than 1,600 member companies located across North America, Europe and other parts of the world. These connections are covered by stringent service level agreements for availability, performance and repair that are unmatched by Public Internet solutions. 

“Our customers have told us that integration of the European and North American automotive communities is important and would benefit them. ANX and ENX have partnered to provide this global interconnection as a value-add to our existing customers at no additional cost. We believe that merging the ANX and ENX communities while maintaining our stringent requirement for performance, availability and security creates tremendous value for our customers,” said Rich Stanbaugh, president and CEO of ANX. 

“The automotive industry has always been a leader in process optimization, supplier integration and joint product development, even between competitors. Industry standards such as ENX facilitate such collaboration. Recent challenges and trends lead to a new level of global collaboration among independent players of all sizes. 

Providing them with a single unified networking solution for all their applications – ranging from simple file transfer to advanced real-time collaboration – is the objective of our cooperation with ANX,” said Lennart Oly, Managing Director of ENX Association.
Other enhancements are being developed as part of ANX 2.0. ANX customers will be able to use their private ANX access circuit to securely connect to cloud infrastructure providers and 3G/4G networks. This expanded capability will keep more eCommerce on the ANX Network where it is secure and supported by end-to-end SLAs. 

ANX has also leveraged its security expertise and private ownership through One Equity Partners to strategically expand its managed security offerings. Over the past four years, ANX has acquired and integrated four innovative managed security and VPN companies. The expanded ANX product portfolio now includes B2B transaction management products for the automotive aftermarket, PLM products for extended supply chain, broadband and network services capabilities to the entire ANX product portfolio and specialized managed security services. These include cloud-based unified threat management services, monitoring and full management of customer premises security devices, security assessment services and compliance management services (PCI, HIPAA, GLBA, SOX). ANX offers these solutions separately or bundled with their ANX 2.0 connectivity service. 

Automotive Industries asked ANX president and CEO, Rich Stanbaugh about the benefits of the recently announced ANX-ENX interconnection.

Ai. What is the significance of the ANX-ENX collaboration in setting up a global automotive data communication standard? 

Stanbaugh. The interconnection establishes the technical and business framework required for secure collaboration between B2B business partners across North America and Europe. Members of the ANX and ENX can now use their existing infrastructure to securely collaborate with over 1,600 partners across North America, Europe and other parts of the world. Keeping data on our networks improves operational efficiency and prevents data loss and service disruption caused by threats targeting the Public Internet.

Moreover, the interconnection of ANX and ENX further strengthens the technology partnership between the industry’s two most experienced private network overseers. This will lead to further developments in B2B supply chain standards.

Ai. Why is your partnership with the ENX Association important to ANX and how will it impact your international presence? 

Stanbaugh. The interconnection with ENX further establishes ANX as a global eCommerce platform provider. ANX Network customers can securely connect to over 1,600 companies across the world on a high performance, private network at no additional charge.

Ai. Tell us how critical your products and services are to the automotive market. Please give us examples. 

Stanbaugh. Our products and services are mission critical. The automotive industry relies on the ANX Network to support designing, engineering and manufacturing operations. Purchase orders are approved, parts are received, payroll is delivered, insurance claims are settled and credit applications are approved. Partners use the ANX Network to exchange their most vital intellectual property and their most time-sensitive data.

Ai. What are some of the benefits of the ANX-ENX partnership to the auto industry?

Stanbaugh. The value of any network is related to the number of participants on that network. The interconnection of the ANX and ENX networks nearly doubles the number of member companies within this business-only community, giving them more opportunities to share their most private and critical information within a trusted environment while reducing cost and improving efficiency. North American and European companies can securely connect to each other using their existing private connections at no additional cost. Moreover, the exchange of information is covered by stringent performance SLAs. The interconnection also makes it faster and easier to establish secure connections with new partners.

Ai. What are some of the challenges ANX will face? And why is it important for ANX to undertake this at the current time?

Stanbaugh. The global automobile industry must improve efficiency and reduce costs to continue its worldwide recovery. Product innovation is critical and reducing the time it takes to develop new products requires high levels of collaboration. ANX and ENX have provided their community members with more functionality at the same cost. This integration expands the collaboration ready network to hundreds of new potential partners. Our service allows partners to easily establish secure connectivity so that they can focus on their core mission of designing and building the best possible product.

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