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    Product Information Management for Automobile Industry

    Product Information Management works at the core level of the automotive industry.

    With the availability of a large number of products from various channels and harmonising product data to meet the expectations of buyer and supplier, PIM becomes an indispensable part of the section to remove the issue and effectively manage the data.

    Before the final product goes into the hands of customers, the product data of the materials as sold by the suppliers goes through various players.

    Source: Research Gate

    Suppliers provide the materials to the OEMs( like BMW, Audi), Distributors responsible for selling products to wholesalers and the retailers who deal in selling specific items.

    The OEMs and the distributors sell their products to dealers and to the repair shops respectively who finally sells the product to the customers.

    Based on the above scenario, the product data of the material goes through a various section which makes it important to be harmonised so that everyone can speak the same language which will finally contribute and higher sales and efficiency.

    The automotive industry also needs to master two important standards of auto parts data :

    PIES and ACES Standards

    With the continuous technological changes, changing market demands and customer preferences, and to adapt to the business process, companies need to harmonize their master data for vendors, suppliers and distributors.

    Today everyone in this automotive industry requires in-depth information about the parts.

    Source: AutoCare

    Auto standards like PIES and ACES, helps manufacturers and sellers enhance their product data which helps in easy sharing and reducing inefficiencies that can arrive by maintaining data in multiple formats.

    PIES or Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) helps in better management and exchange of product information fields like pricing, delivery information, content, product attributes etc for all members of the supply chain.

    <Items>
    <Item MaintenanceType="A">
    <PartNumber>1234</PartNumber>
    <BrandAAIAID>WWWW</BrandAAIAID>
    <PartTerminologyID>19999</PartTerminologyID>
    <ProductAttributes>
    <ProductAttribute
    MaintenanceType="A"
    AttributeID="Length"
    PADBAttribute="N"
    AttributeUOM="IN">12.5</ProductAttribute>
    <ProductAttribute
    MaintenanceType="A"
    AttributeID="Width"
    PADBAttribute="N"
    AttributeUOM="IN">4.25</ProductAttribute>
    <ProductAttribute
    MaintenanceType="A"
    AttributeID="Height"
    PADBAttribute="N"
    AttributeUOM="IN" >3.5</ProductAttribute>
    </ProductAttributes>
    </Item>
    </Items>
    <------------Sample PIES XML File for Product Attributes---------------->

    ACES or Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard defines the standard for communicating product information among the suppliers and other members of the family.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <ACES version="3.2">
    <Header>
    <Company>AcmeSupply</Company>
    <SenderName>Joe Smith</SenderName>
    <SenderPhone>999-999-9999</SenderPhone>
    <TransferDate>2015-07-01</TransferDate>
    <BrandAAIAID>BBBB</BrandAAIAID>
    <DocumentTitle>Electrical Switches</DocumentTitle>
    <EffectiveDate>2004-08-01</EffectiveDate>
    <SubmissionType>FULL</SubmissionType>
    <VcdbVersionDate>2015-10-27</VcdbVersionDate>
    <QdbVersionDate>2015-10-26</QdbVersionDate>
    <PcdbVersionDate>2015-10-30</PcdbVersionDate>
    </Header>
    <App action="A" id="1">
    <BaseVehicle id="8559"/>
    <!-- 1997 Cadillac Catera -->
    <Qty>1</Qty>
    <PartType id="4472"/> <!-- Electrical/Headlight/Switch -->
    <Part>SW1406</Part>
    </App>
    <App action="A" id="2">
    <BaseVehicle id="8833"/>
    <!-- 1998 Cadillac Catera -->
    <Qty>1</Qty>
    <PartType id="4472"/> <!-- Electrical/Headlight/Switch -->
    <Part>SW1406</Part>
    </App>
    <App action="A" id="3">
    <Years from="1997" to="1998"/>
    <Make id="14"/>
    <!-- 1997-1998 Cadillac Catera -->
    <Model id="398"/>
    <Qty>1</Qty>
    <PartType id="4472"/> <!-- Electrical/Headlight/Switch -->
    <Part>SW1406</Part>
    </App>
    <App action="A" id="4">
    <BaseVehicle id="8559"/>
    <!-- 1997 Cadillac Catera -->
    <EngineBase id="389"/> <!-- V6 181ci 3.0L -->
    <EngineVIN id="18"/> <!-- [R] -->
    <Qual id="23">
    <text>With Air Conditioning</text>
    </Qual>
    <Qual id="929">
    <param value="90487546"/>
    <text>w/Starter 90487546 (1st Design)</text>
    </Qual>
    <Qty>1</Qty>
    <PartType id="4188"/> <!-- Electrical/Starter/Solenoid Switch -->
    <Part>SS769</Part>
    </App>
    <App action="A" id="5">
    <BaseVehicle id="9281"/>
    <!-- 1972 Ford LTD -->
    <Note>Exc. Wagon</Note>
    <!-- Allowed because BodyType is U/K -->
    <Qty>1</Qty>
    <PartType id="4472"/> <!-- Electrical/Headlight/Switch -->
    <Part>SW1406</Part>
    </App>
    <App action="A" id="6" validate="no">
    <BaseVehicle id="5404"/>
    <!--1980 Ford Fairmont -->
    <Aspiration id="6"/> <!-- Turbo (not valid in VehicleTo table) -->
    <Qty>1</Qty>
    <PartType id="10068"/> <!-- Radiator Coolant Hose -->
    <Position id="46"/>
    <!-- Upper -->
    <Part>H9281</Part>
    </App>
    <Footer>
    <RecordCount>6</RecordCount>
    </Footer>
    </ACES>
    <------------Sample ACES XML File for File Transfer---------------->

    Suppliers can maintain data in standardized attributes or in XML format for exchanging large amounts of data digitally.

    Now, even Amazon and eBay also follow ACES and PIES standard to get data in the prescribed format from the suppliers in the respective categories.

    How to synchronize your data for PIES and ACES?

    A PIM solution helps the automotive companies to easily organize their data in the standard format and maintain the data quality.

    Using PIM, companies can easily enrich their data with various attributes to provide in-depth information about the product which vastly reduces the operational cost.

    Source: Akeneo

    Centralizing the data in one place also remove the inaccuracy and make the process efficient.

    Problem Statements for Automotive Industry

    Before we move on with the PIM solutions for the industry, let us discuss few common scenarios.

    Multiple Data Sources

    The whole automotive industry is actually a conglomeration of many independent divisions. The information is distributed to multiple systems which makes them difficult to manage.

    Source: McGraw Hill/Irwin

    Let say, a scenario where we need to manage New Number Association. The process requires gathering data from multiple sources and manually checking each one them which further delays the time to release new products.

    If a product arrives early in the market, it proves to be profitable for the supplier but with the process being followed, it usually delays the time frame by 3-5 months

    Distribution to Multiple Platforms and Markets

    The product information of the automotive parts also needs to be distributed to various distributors, retailers and wholesalers by the suppliers.

    For a long time, suppliers have been using traditional inventory management system for keeping their product information.

    Nowadays, with the technological advances, the other parties of the supply chain have been using data in their prefered format.

    To prevent the inaccuracy of data, the supplier usually creates a copy of master data and distribute to other vendors. Over a period of time, the system

    becomes complex and create hindrance in the regular functioning of the business.

    PIM Software Proposition

    The centralization of data and harmonising them for multiple sources have put PIM solution at the forefront of every section eCommerce including the automotive industry.

    Connection to Multiple Sources

    If you have your data on multiple data sources and want to synchronize them at one place, PIM software is the one to have.

    The speciality of the solution is, either it is ERP, excel sheets, Websites or any platform, you can easily connect your sources with PIM solution.

    Once the sources are connected, you can redefine the attributes and categories for a particular product based upon the information.

    You can even add custom attributes to your product to enhance the information.

    Now the automotive supplier does not have to spend time collecting data, manually checking it and storing them all at one place and harmonising each data collected from various sources.

    Distribution to Multiple Platforms

    Once the data has been harmonised on the PIM platform, next comes the task of distributing that data to various vendors or platforms. The product can be available online or in offline version to the vendors.

    PIM platforms make sure that you can easily export your data in whatever you want. For Online Shop, like eCommerce platforms or marketplaces, you can use connectors to connect your PIM platform and export them to respective platform.

    For retailers who want data in the printed format, you can export the data in XLS/CSV format or in the form of magazine, brochures and leaflets.

    Boosted ROI

    When accurate data is passed on to multiple systems, and from one centralized source, operational costs are reduced for maintaining the data and removing inaccuracies.

    When the data information is correctly fed to systems, it reduces the time of product availability in the market for the demand to fulfil which gain high profit to the suppliers.

    Data Consistency

    If you are a distributor and dealing with products from various suppliers, you can easily connect with them and provide an instance of a PIM solution to them.

    You can assign the access level to various sellers from where they can easily upload their products and add additional information if required.

    Source: Akeneo

    The data gets accumulated to one place and you can send the same data to multiple retailers and wholesalers.

    Since the data is being sourced from one place, you can rest assured of data accuracy as it remains consistent at every single place.

    The above scenario very much presents the facts as to how much PIM can be proved as beneficial for the automotive industry.

    If not for the less resource needed to handle PIM, it’s much worth to handle the data in one place solving the biggest problems of data sourcing and inaccuracies.

    . . .

    Comments (4)

    Add Your Comment

  • Vijay Patel
    Hi Saurav, I am interested in discussing with your for this solution. we are an online aftermarket autoparts company and would like to have a PIM solution for our inventory, Can you help?
    • Adarsh Shukla
      Hello Vijay,
      Thanks for your comment. Sure we will help you in this case. Can you please raise a ticket over here: https://webkul.uvdesk.com/en/
  • ankit
    Nice blog, very interesting to read
    • saurav pathak
      Thank you for the feedback.
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