Product Information Management in the automobile industry works at the core level. With the availability of a large number of products from various channels and harmonising product data to meet the expectations of buyers and suppliers.
Before the final product goes to end customers, the product data of materials sold by suppliers go through various players.
Then, OEMs and distributors sell products to dealers and repair shops respectively who finally sell products to customers.
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Based on the above scenario, the product data of the material goes through various sections 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 continuous technological changes, market demand, customer preferences, and adapting business processes, companies need to harmonize their master data for vendors, suppliers and distributors.
As a result, today everyone in the automotive industry requires in-depth information about the parts.
Auto standards like PIES and ACES, help manufacturers and sellers enhance their product data which helps in 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---------------->
Above all, suppliers can maintain data in standardized attributes or in XML format for exchanging large amounts of data digitally.
How to synchronize your data for PIES and ACES?
A PIM solution helps automotive companies easily organize their data in the standard format and maintain 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.
Centralizing the data in one place also removes inaccuracy and makes the process efficient.
Problem Statements for Automotive Industry
Before we move on with the PIM solutions for the industry, let us discuss a 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.
Let’s say, a scenario where we need to manage New Number Association. The process requires gathering data from multiple sources and manually checking each one 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 systems for keeping their product information.
Nowadays, with 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 distributes it 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 solutions at the forefront of every section of eCommerce including the automotive industry.
Connection to Multiple Sources
If you have your data on multiple data sources and want to synchronize them in one place, PIM software is the one to have.
The speciality of the solution is, whether 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 on 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 in one place and harmonising each data collected from various sources.
Distribution to Multiple Platforms
Once you harmonise on the PIM platform, next comes the task of distributing that data to various vendors or platforms. Following that, products can be available online or in offline versions to the vendors.
PIM platforms make sure that you can easily export your data in whatever you want. For example, in online shops, like eCommerce platforms or marketplaces, you can use connectors to connect your PIM platform and export them to the respective platform.
Moreover, for retailers who want data in printed format, you can export the data in XLS/CSV format or in the form of magazines, brochures and leaflets.
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 gains high profit for the suppliers.
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.
The data accumulates in one place and you can send the same data to multiple retailers and wholesalers.
Since you source data from one place, you can rest assured of its accuracy as it remains consistent at every single place.
The above scenario very much presents the facts as to how much PIM is proving as beneficial for the automotive industry.
If not for the less resource needed to handle PIM, it’s much worth handling the data in one place solving the biggest problems of data sourcing and inaccuracies.