The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) today announced a new service that enables aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers to audit and certify product information compliance with the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES). The data audit and certification service (DAC) is provided in partnership with Comergent Technologies, Inc., a leading demand chain management software applications company based in Redwood City, California. The Product Information Exchange Standard is the industry standard template for nearly 200 fields of item-level product information. The DAC service is available to test and certify that aftermarket suppliers are in compliance with the standard. The PIES standard and now the DAC service enable complete and accurate product information data exchange between aftermarket trading partners. Agreement and compliance with a common data standard are critical first steps to the long-term goal of industry-wide product information management and synchronization. In 2003, AAIA conducted a PIES pilot study of basic product data essential to automated e-commerce. The research concluded that errors in part numbers, UPC codes, minimum order quantities, units of measure and other related fields contribute to $1.7 billion U.S. in annual wasted expense throughout the aftermarket industry. The study underscores the pressing need for an industry-wide initiative to cleanse product information and synchronize the data between suppliers and their trading partners. “The aftermarket industry has awoken to the staggering cost of product data errors in collaborative e-business,” explained Scott Luckett, vice president of technology standards and solutions, AAIA. “The data audit and certification service will enable suppliers to synchronize clean and accurate data with their customers and to begin lowering their respective costs. Everyone wants to see more ROI from their investments in technology and DAC is an essential step to reaching that goal.” “We are excited to partner with AAIA as the solution provider for the PIES Data Audit and Certification service,” said Jean Kovacs, president and CEO, Comergent. “Ensuring complete, accurate, and standardized product data throughout an industry is primary to realizing benefits from investments in collaborative e-business initiatives such as multi-vendor catalogs, vendor managed inventory, and automated order capture and processing. The aftermarket industry is leading the way for other industries to follow suit.” AAIA and Comergent will co-host a free web seminar to further introduce the PIES Data Audit and Certification service to the aftermarket industry. The web broadcast is scheduled for 11:00 am E.D.T. on Thursday, May 13, 2004. For more information on how to register and attend this presentation, visit www.comergent.com.