How the Automotive Industry Uses MDM to Tackle Data Management Challenges

August 14, 2023
7 mins.
Martin Kjeldsen

How the Automotive Industry Uses MDM to Tackle Data Management Challenges

Not since the early 1900s, when model T Fords were rolling off the production line has the automotive industry faced such a transformative time with as many new regulations, technologies, and consumer preferences.

The modern automotive industry, although constrained by strict compliance and regulatory requirements has grown into a vast and intricate network of auto manufacturers, aftermarket suppliers, parts distributors, and dealerships. A typical vehicle is made up of around 30,000 parts, each with their unique attributes, requiring precise management within a complex supply chain. 

Add to the mix a rise in global automobile sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs), expanding model inventories, advancing technology, evolving consumer expectations and data management emerges as a key area of concern. 

To succeed companies must be able to manage and process the growing volumes of operational and product information, and address the increasing complexity of data. So, from car makers to aftermarket parts manufacturers, the need for a robust and efficient Master Data Management (MDM) system has become crucial.

Read more: What is Stibo STEP?

Navigating the Complexities of Maintaining Make, Model, and Year Information in Auto Parts

One of the most challenging aspects of data management in the automotive industry is the need to maintain and update make, model, and year information for auto parts, also known as application data. This requirement holds true for both the OEM and aftermarket parts manufacturers, distributors, and retailers all of whom are locating / placing replacement parts.

The challenge is twofold. Firstly, this information must be accurate and up-to-date to avoid selling incompatible or incorrect parts to customers. A slight discrepancy in this information could lead to significant costs due to the fact that most parts are not resalable once they've been attempted to be installed and are thus deemed unusable. 

Secondly, the data comes in various formats and needs to be harmonised and standardised. This is particularly true for the interchange information, which cross-references the part number for an auto part with other part numbers for hundreds of thousands of products/SKUs and vehicle configurations, as well as millions of part-to-vehicle relations and interchange records.

Oftentimes, this data is not in a uniform format, making it challenging to manage and use efficiently. Plus, aftermarket parts manufacturers must determine whether an existing part can be utilised or if they need to produce a new part.

Read more: How B2B Distributors can successfully leverage MDM

The Stibo Systems' STEP MDM solution elegantly navigates these complexities. The solution provides a unified and single source of truth for all the product data, including make, model, and year information for auto parts. This capability is vital as it allows companies to manage data from different sources, in diverse formats, and of varying quality levels. 

The STEP MDM solution also supports the adoption of automotive aftermarket data standards, ensuring that the data meets these requirements.

With Stibo's STEP platform, automotive companies can seamlessly manage and update their product attribute data and digital assets. They can validate, process, and deliver this data into the information supply chain in near real-time. This ensures accurate and timely availability of make, model, and year information for auto parts across all stakeholders.

As a result, the STEP solution not only mitigates the risks of incorrect parts installation and returns, but also boosts efficiency and productivity by ensuring all data is up-to-date, accurate, and compliant with industry standards. Therefore, navigating the complexities of maintaining make, model, and year information becomes much simpler and streamlined with Stibo Systems' STEP MDM solution.

Read more: Use Stibo STEP to accelerate digital transformation in manufacturing


The Need for Standardised Exchange of Product Information

Exchanging product information about car parts in the automotive supply chain is a crucial yet complex process, given the diversity in part types and characteristics.

As industry stakeholders, the consumers and businesses continue to evolve their digital behaviour when it comes to purchasing parts and managing business relationships. The implication is that product information needs therefore to seamlessly feed online product pages with product descriptions and images to ensure stakeholders have access to the correct vehicle make, model, and year data.

Therefore, the need for a standardised framework for data exchange is paramount to ensure smooth, efficient, and error-free communication across the entire supply chain. This is where ACES/PIES in the US and TecDoc in Europe come in.

The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) are systems developed by the Auto Care Association in the US. ACES standardises the communication of vehicle applications (which parts fit which vehicles), while PIES standardises the communication of product attributes (sizes, colours, images, descriptions, prices, etc.). These standards are used by manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and software providers to ensure everyone "speaks the same language" when dealing with product data.

Read more: CEOs should consider MDM to help address their top concerns for the next 10 years.

On the other hand, TecDoc is a Europe-based system that offers one of the world's most comprehensive and current automotive aftermarket databases. It provides standardised data for identification and ordering of parts, supporting the seamless exchange of high-quality data within the automotive industry. It simplifies the process of data transfer between manufacturers and traders, enhancing business transactions and customer service.

Stibo Systems' STEP solution recognises the critical role of these standards in facilitating efficient data exchange within the automotive supply chain. As such, STEP fully supports ACES/PIES and TecDoc standards, helping automotive companies across the supply chain leverage these established benchmarks.

STEP creates a central repository where data is consolidated, standardised, and maintained in line with ACES/PIES and TecDoc requirements. This ensures that all the product data, including make, model, and year information for auto parts, adheres to these standards. 

By leveraging these industry standards, STEP enables automotive companies to improve the accuracy and consistency of their product information, reduce errors, streamline business processes, and enhance overall efficiency across the supply chain. 

In this way, Stibo Systems' STEP is playing an integral role in transforming data management in the automotive industry.

Read more: What is the expected financial impact of investing in your Master Data Management (MDM)?

A Single Source of Truth

The STEP MDM solution by Stibo Systems is designed to help manage all product, vehicle, and equipment information all in one place, integrating with and updating internal business systems with the latest product content. 

This approach ensures the delivery of accurate data, reducing inaccuracies that can lead to negative customer experiences and high product return rates. By consistently providing high-quality, complete content to all receivers in the required data formats, manufacturers can improve their brand value and strengthen relationships with their retailers and distributors by building trust.

And with a single view of the customer based on the data, marketing can execute digital activities with targeted, more effective messaging and product offerings.

Cost Reduction through Efficiency

Stibo's MDM solution allows for a more efficient view of procurement information and facilitates a quicker, more informed response to changes in demand and opportunities to make cost savings. 

Centralised data management also decreases costs related to IT and data administration, while leveraging data insights helps collaboration with suppliers, retailers, distributors, and trading partners - enhancing procurement efficiencies, sourcing capabilities, and overall purchasing power.

Key Business Drivers and Benefits

By adhering to industry standards, reducing operational waste and inefficiency, and engaging with customers with accurate, up to date product data, it powers the growing online world and helps provide a better overall experience for customers.

With streamlined workflows and optimised data management, automotive businesses can identify gaps and bring new products to market more quickly.  

STEP helps organisations maintain data quality, adhere to data protection regulations, and avoid potential fines or penalties associated with non-compliance.

Read more: Tips on how to internally sell Master Data Management in your organisation

Key Features

Stibo's MDM STEP solution offers a single, trusted view for the automotive industry for parts and their unique identifiers, enabling efficient data governance, automating data management processes, and reducing manual efforts. It also provides a systematic approach to share that information consistently across all traditional, retail and digital channels.

In conclusion, Stibo's MDM solution presents a comprehensive approach to data management that addresses the complexities and challenges faced by the automotive industry. It leads to improved operational efficiency, reducing costs, and enabling trusted action based on reliable data, providing the agility and single version of the truth needed to act on customer, product and supply chain information.

What is the maturity level of your data management? Do your own Data Maturity Self-Assessmment test.

How Unit of Measure Empowers Businesses Through Expert STEP Implementation

Unit of Measure is a trusted partner in the implementation of Stibo Systems' STEP solution. Our team is composed of seasoned professionals with an in-depth understanding of STEP's features and capabilities and we guide businesses in leveraging this powerful tool to meet their specific needs. 

Our approach includes a comprehensive analysis of your current data management processes, followed by a customised implementation plan designed to optimise and streamline your operations.

Let us know if you are just starting out on your MDM journey and are interested in Unit of Measure performing a remote audit of your status quo. 

We also provide continuous support post-implementation to ensure that your team is proficient in utilising the STEP solution, helping your business make the most out of your investment. By working closely with your team, we facilitate a seamless transition towards a more efficient, standardised, and data-driven operation.

Are you ready to harness the power of Stibo Systems' STEP solution and overcome your data management challenges? Let Unit of Measure be your guide on this journey. Our team is ready to support your business with expert implementation services, continuous guidance, and industry-specific insights.

Transform your data management processes, enhance efficiency, and drive growth in the competitive automotive industry landscape. 

Get in touch with us today and let us demonstrate how STEP can take your business to the next level. Together, we can make your data work harder for you.

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