Necessity of Spare Parts Catalog Software for OEMs

Efficiency is what every OEM strives for and with the advancements in technology and increasing vehicle complexity, it has become essential to ensure operations run smoothly. The competition is rising today and OEMs bring innovative ideas to ensure their operations run without any bottlenecks. To ensure the dealer network is working at the utmost potential, there should be little or no order errors. This makes a dent in customer satisfaction in a major way. Dealers have to order many parts in a day and it becomes essential for them to receive the right parts. A delay in the parts or wrong parts will cause further delays in the repair process or maintenance of the vehicles.

Even the updates to the catalog should be documented well and have the relevant information a dealer can refer to when ordering that particular part. Traditionally, when there were updates in the spare parts catalog, OEMs had to face multiple challenges of sharing the updated catalog with all their dealer networks. This would mean the costs of printing the catalog and sharing it with the dealer network. And this would be the case every time there was an update in the catalog. A lot of parts change or are updated for better vehicle performance. This value engineering is how OEMs provide performance upgrades to the vehicles.

Why Should OEMs Use Parts Catalog Software?

It has become evident that OEMs need a reliable channel to communicate with their dealer network and that they should be able to order with ease. The identification of parts is a major challenge that the dealers have to undergo. In such cases, the solution provided by the OEM is what they count on. When working on multiple vehicles all day, dealers have to order multiple parts. In such cases, the dealers have to know if there have been any changes in the parts or any updates to the catalog. Such communication can only come from the OEM as they are the ones manufacturing the vehicle.

What are The Benefits of Using Spare Parts Catalog Software?

We have now understood the use of the spare parts catalog system, and now let us understand the benefits of using it. With numerous benefits to both OEMs and their dealer network, it is evident that using such a system is the solution they both require.

Let’s see what the benefits are:

  1.  Savings of Time: When ordering parts from OEMs, time efficiency is what is required. This software streamlines the ordering with options such as quick identification of parts through highlighting and hostspotting features that make ordering parts super easy and time-efficient. When using this system, it should give them information about current parts used in the vehicle and also if there have been any changes in the parts of the vehicle.
  2. Accuracy is Improved: This is an advanced software that has in-built logic and processes to show the right parts are presented when a vehicle is searched. When dealers identify the right parts, there would be fewer errors which would lead to the elimination of returns and exchanges of orders already placed.
  3. Lower Administrative Overhead: When using a spare parts catalog, the paperwork is lowered to a minimum which causes lesser costs incurred while ordering parts in terms of administrative and paperwork costs. When a business can lower its overhead costs, the processes automatically become streamlined and improve customer satisfaction.
  4. Genuine Parts and Quality: When dealers place orders for spares, the quality is one factor that cannot be undermined. In such cases, when using this solution, ensuring genuine and high-quality products is extremely important. A spare parts catalog system provided from the OEM side ensures the spares ordered are of the highest quality and are 100% genuine.
  5. Inventory Management: When using a spare parts catalog software with an integrated inventory management module or functionality, dealers are empowered to take note of the inventory items through stock-in and stock-out options. Through this feature, dealers can ensure their inventory is maintained and they can order as soon as the inventory appears low.

How Dealers Can Benefit from it?

This advanced software improves communication and streamlines the ordering process for the dealers of an OEM. The catalog ensures smooth communication between dealers and OEMs in terms of ordering and returning.

When dealers order parts from an OEM using such a solution, they should have multiple search options to search for a particular vehicle’s catalog. A dealer should be able to view the parts that apply to that particular vehicle and also should have information about any value engineering changes made in the current catalog. There are innovative spare parts catalog software in the market today that offer multiple search options such as VIN search, Model search, Figure search, and Part search. Each search option provides a different flexibility to the dealers.

Traditionally, when dealers were ordering parts, they were unaware of any changes made in the vehicle and since what date are those changes applicable. An ideal solution should have detailed information about any changes in the parts and the same should be reflected in the spare parts catalog of that particular vehicle. For example, when doing a figure search, the parts should have a history highlighted for a particular assembly.
When searching for a VIN, they should provide the supersession done for the part, when are these changes applicable, if the parts are interchangeable and more. This benefits the dealers in understanding that the parts they have can be used in case of a supersession or they need to order new parts.

When looking at assemblies, they should have the option to search for a particular part from the assembly. Overall, dealers should be able to order parts even without the part number or any information. They should have the flexibility to check the compatibility of the part with the spare parts catalog software and ensure that they are ordering the right part.

When placing orders, the dealers should have the option to change the default BOM price and quantity. When an OEM has a dealer network that is global and the users will be spanning across the globe, the system they use should be multilingual and the BOM should be dynamic as per the country being ordered to or from. In this way, the default quantities and the price are ensured, and if there is any confusion from the dealers regarding the quantity or from the OEMs for the default BOM cost and quantity.

What Integrations Should the Said System Have?

The decision to opt for such an enterprise solution for OEMs depends on various factors. It is not only the cost or the applicability but also the functionalities and integrations that the spare parts catalog software provides.

Today, OEMs or any business uses centralized software to manage all their internal processes, called ERP software. In the case of OEMs, they have the complete ordering and dispatching of products done from a centralized software. But this software cannot act as a spare parts catalog so they opt for such solutions. In addition to ERP software, OEMs also use another solution to manage all their dealers from a single platform. This system is called a dealer management system. This enables the OEMs to ensure that the dealer channel is smooth and maintained properly. This software comes with an integrated spare parts catalog but it often lacks the functionalities and granular views of the assembly.

The spare parts catalog should have the functionality to be integrated with the ERP software such that the orders can be communicated to the ERP system to efficiently communicate the current status. In many cases, the orders once placed can be edited for a while. This functionality is provided to the dealers because once the orders are placed and communicated to the ERP, they cannot be changed. In such cases, when dealers need to edit the order, the spare parts catalog software provides an inbuilt logic that orders can be edited for some time after placing them. This is before the latest status is updated on the ERP. In such cases, the spare parts catalog software provides a logic that the placed orders can be edited for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or maybe an hour.

Our Final Take on the Topic

OEMs need a solution to manage the spare parts catalog and streamline the operations and communications with the dealers. They also need a solution to optimize the ordering process and reduce the errors in the ordering process. The spare parts catalog software should also accommodate for any changes in the parts such as revision or supersession. In addition to that, it should also have a cloud solution and be scalable.

As the number of dealers increases or if there are dealers in different regions of the world or even the country, this software should accommodate these with smart and dynamic solutions that should be in the language of the place where it is being logged in from, the default BOM cost and quantity, etc. Such solutions make the ideal spare parts catalog software.

When choosing the right solution or even deciding on the need, OEMs need to understand what they want to achieve from such a deployment.