Auto Service World
News   November 1, 2010   by Auto Service World

AAIW Daily: Activant Sets Records for Parts-Data Timeliness and Volume

Activant Solutions Inc. set company records for aftermarket parts-data timeliness and volume over the past year, reflecting a comprehensive initiative designed to achieve “fast cycle” availability of fully validated and accurate manufacturer parts data.
Activant in the past year achieved a 50-percent increase in the volume of manufacturer data delivered to end users in 45 days or less from receipt, and a 33-percent reduction based on the new data cycle time. These gains were achieved while the company also dramatically increased the content available through its electronic catalogue, with 40 percent more parts and application information added in 2010 than the previous year. The Activant PartExpert eCatalogue is the industry’s most comprehensive product research and selling tool, featuring significantly more products, from more manufacturers, than any other electronic catalogue.
“We have made significant progress in working with parts manufacturers to streamline their data feeds, and at the same time have aggressively invested in new resources to accelerate the delivery process,” said Paul Magin, senior director, catalogue, Activant. “These are major gains, but they are only the first step in an ongoing process that will help us achieve our vision for minimal data latency combined with Activant’s longstanding reputation for accuracy.”
The cycle time gains in processing and releasing data are the result of programs that will set new industry benchmarks for the validation and delivery of aftermarket parts data, according to Magin. Key elements of this program include significantly improved supplier services, streamlined processes, close attention to customer needs, and the deployment of new technology.
“Gates has always found our product data partnership with Activant to be an important one,” said Lisa Henkel, director, product data services, Gates Corporation. “Activant provides a great way to share our rich content, including images, routing diagrams, installation instructions, with our most important asset, our customer.”
As part of its campaign to maintain superior parts coverage and accuracy while reducing cycle time, Activant established a Supplier Services Organization (SSO) in August 2009 with responsibility to maintain consistent communication with manufacturers. The SSO team is working with manufacturers to help increase the accuracy of their catalog information, thereby providing Activant with cleaner data for processing. Activant is conducting regional forums at which supplier representatives can share best practices information, and will have SSO representatives available to speak with customers in the Activant Aftermarket Supplier Lounge during this week’s AAPEX Show in Las Vegas.
Magin said suppliers now have regular contact with the Activant SSO team to schedule data feeds and quickly resolve issues related to data quality. This service – and inclusion in Activant’s eCatalog products – is provided free of charge.
An average of more than 100,000 new parts and 2.2 million applications are added to the Activant eCatalog each month. The company’s aftermarket parts data set covers more than 390 million North American applications.
The Activant catalogue is published in 15 separate formats to address the requirements of virtually every popular aftermarket computer platform. In addition to the company’s extensive parts database – covering more than 900 manufacturers – the Activant PartExpert eCatalogue suite includes the Activant Cover-to-Cover graphical eCatalogue module, BuyerAssist® electronic buyer’s guide, InterChange® OE and competitive interchange module, and All Lines reference feature.
The PartExpert suite also incorporates a variety of features that help parts businesses to save time and increase profitability. These include VIN Lookup, a comprehensive VIN decoding tool; the MCL-by-Make feature, which enables businesses to prioritize lookup results by brand, product design and price point; and Activant OE Carry-Forward, which updates coverage to the next model year.
“We add tremendous value to supplier data to ensure it is presented in a way that best serves the needs of the thousands of parts professionals and service writers who use Activant eCatalogs,” Magin said. “Our catalogue products are widely viewed as the most accurate, most complete and the easiest to use. Most importantly, they help sell the right part the first time and provide the information to sell more parts for more applications.”

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