February 16, 2016

Automotive Aftermarket Standards Evolve
Unified. Digitized. Simplified for Mobility.

Automotive aftermarket standards define vehicles and product characteristics such as: part definitions, shape, size, and fitment information.  These industry standards are used to categorize vehicle products in online catalog systems and eCommerce solutions.  Since 1999, Auto Care (autocare.org) has provided the technology standards used for the sale of automotive products in North America.  A parallel initiative has been implemented since 1994 by TecDoc, now marketed under the umbrella of TecAlliance (tecalliance.net), to provide technical specifications for Europe and Asia while supporting 29 languages. 

The Auto Care organization provides the taxonomy for hard vehicle components such as body, brakes, engine, steering, suspension, transmission, and wheels. The standard comprises of five databases and includes over 3,124,562 vehicle definitions.  The European standards evolved from a proprietary Transbase database deep-rooted in supplier vocabularies and includes over five million parts libraries with three million images.

While the classification of automotive parts is inherently complex due to vehicle variations, the standards are rapidly evolving to cover additional products like accessories. The scope of these standards are also rapidly expanding to include other regions and BRIC countries such as China. Quite frankly, standards are the foundation for all transaction systems and it is difficult to imagine trade without industry standards. Hence, we are actively working to accommodate products with unstructured data as well.

These standards, implemented with ERP applications, help to ensure manufacturers and distributors are able to receive product information and process orders seamlessly from their point-of-sale and online systems. However, this requires common standard definitions, rich automotive vocabulary, flexible information architectures, and fluid interoperability to support different segments of the automotive industry.

With increasing globalization, manufacturers also have a need for digital connectivity with suppliers and service providers now more than ever. As such, there is a need for a solution to harmonize product information with American and European/Asian automotive standards across various platforms. For manufacturers, a digitally connected ecosystem would address a broad spectrum of issues as well as make information systems compatible with standards and simplify collaboration with distributor’s systems, thus allowing them to introduce products more efficiently, further market access, and increase ROI from technology investments.

A mobility based approach that further standardizes standards and product information systems to review and certify products would offer manufacturers a higher level of conformance to standards, consistency in part product characteristics, greater flexibility to manage part reliability, and provide unparalleled responsiveness to meet customer expectations – wherever they are.

Unified, digitized, and simplified for mobility is the mantra for modernizing aftermarket. 

How it works: A manufacturer launches a smartphone app, accesses the latest automotive standards and checks product compliance. Next, they simply select regions to target and approve new products for launch, which are then instantly shared with distributors and made available for purchase on all mobile devices.

Automotive aftermarket standards already support commerce applications around the world. The trend is increasing towards standards interoperability, data pipelining, telematics codified commerce, and digital interactions between business entities within the automotive hierarchy. All trends converge to the same end: developing and rolling out new products to global markets.  With SHIFTMobility’s CarSpeck, organizations can finally showcase the strategic value of the unified standards system  to corporate decision makers and help them understand the importance of product collaboration. Their participation in the global standards organization will unite the automotive market.

Arvind Jain, President & Co-Founder