The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) announced the kick-off of an industry-wide project to define thousands of product-specific, performance and physical attributes in support of resellers throughout the aftermarket. Pricedex Software and Direct Communications Inc. (DCi) were chosen to provide project leadership and a collaborative technical environment for subject matter experts to use. “Performance and physical attributes are essential to help customers understand the difference between products of different grades, quality and price,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. “The expectations of customers for full, rich content about products of all types have never been higher. By commissioning an industry-wide effort to define attributes for products across all industry categories and segments, AAIA aims to develop the very best and most complete hierarchy available anywhere. The scope of the AAIA effort will include application and non-application automotive products, tools and equipment, performance and accessory products, paint and collision products and more.” “We invite the participation of subject matter experts from across the full industry and from both suppliers and their distribution and retail partners,” said Scott Luckett, AAIA vice president for technology standards. “No one knows the product better than the folks who make it. But no one understands the needs and wants of the customer better than their retail and wholesale partners. We have designed a process that will give everyone with expertise an opportunity to contribute to these attribute definitions.” Pricedex Software and DCi proposed to partner for the purpose of providing project leadership and the software and online technology to compile and manage the resulting attributes. DCi has been actively developing attribute definitions in the performance and accessory segment for many years and will donate their attributes and expertise to the project. Pricedex Software is donating software used to manage hierarchical product information. Upon completion, the attribute definitions will be made an extension of the Parts Classification database (PCDB) published by AAIA as part of the industry data standards. In addition, AAIA has agreed to collaborate with The NPD Group and members of the Category Management Committee to ensure close coordination between this effort and the work on attributes that has been done previously. “We recognize that we are not the first to take on this important project. But we want to lead the broadest and most inclusive attribute definition project in service to all of our members in the vehicle aftermarket,” Luckett said. “We believe the interests of the industry are best served by eliminating the redundant cost of supporting multiple attribute hierarchies. If we do it best… we’ll only have to do it once.” To learn more about the AAIA Product Attribute Project and to sign-up for project updates and notifications, visit http://www.aftermarket.org/Technology.