LIVERMORE, Calif. Representatives of Activant Solutions Inc. and leading aftermarket parts manufacturers held their first “Electronic Catalog Forum for Manufacturers” during last month’s Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas.
Sponsored by Activant, the goal of the event was to help manufacturers identify ways to accelerate delivery of their latest parts information to the thousands of distributor, jobber and service dealer businesses that rely on an Activant electronic catalog or other data products or services. The forum included a detailed presentation covering Activant’s proprietary quality assessment and data publishing processes as well as a discussion of the opportunities for manufacturers to increase their presence in Activant electronic catalog products.
“Fast, efficient processing and delivery of parts data is an important goal for everyone in the aftermarket,” said Tom Aliotti, senior vice president and general manager of the Activant automotive business. “But we also understand that the data that is delivered to the street must be accurate, complete and compatible with a broad range of business management systems being utilized by distributors, jobbers and service dealers.
In addition to a detailed discussion of “time to market” issues for parts data, the event included a strong appeal to manufacturers to provide additional product information including parts images, installation instructions, technical service bulletins, warranty details, interchange information and pricing and UPC files along with their application data. “Our ultimate goal is to pack as much value into our catalog as possible so the end-user can be faster, more efficient and more accurate on the job. This benefits everyone in the aftermarket supply chain, including the manufacturer,” Aliotti said.
Compatibility of aftermarket product data with the industry’s disparate technology platforms was discussed in-depth during the forum. Many North American jobber locations rely on older “green screen” computer platforms that require Activant to perform time-intensive data conversion, said Aliotti.
Additionally, Activant licensed application, interchange, labor and other data also must be formatted for use in a variety of service dealer shop management systems. “We know that manufacturers want their products to be available through all of these businesses,” Aliotti said, “which is why we have invested in the personnel and capital resources necessary to deliver our catalog to the entire aftermarket.”
Activant’s aftermarket parts application data includes more than 5 million parts from more than 800 manufacturers. The company’s electronic catalog integrates this data with an array of related databases such as parts interchange, labor, service intervals and product images and value-added tools such as VIN lookup and OE Carry-Forward Analysis. Activant electronic catalogs also are tightly integrated into leading business management and point-of-sale platforms to ensure exceptional efficiency and ease of use.