Case Study: With SHIFTMobility, Specialty Products Co Gains Competitive Advantage
Specialty Products Company, designers and manufacturers of innovative automotive suspension parts and tools since 1971, began by selling alignment tools out of a rented space in the back of a tire supply company. Today, they are the world leader in alignment parts and tools with a vast distribution network spanning the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
As an increasing amount of automotive information goes digital, Specialty Products required a modern means of promoting its products, illustrations, and alignment adjustment methods to ensure they would never be out of date. “Printed books have long been the industry standard, but with paper there is no way to keep it updated with the latest information. Our paper alignment specification document was immediately outdated the minute it came out as new car applications are constantly being released,” says Mina Cox, COO of Specialty Products Company. “Due to this, our call center became inundated with alignment specification calls.” In today’s fast-paced, mobile-enabled world, this approach was anything but viable.
To solve these unique challenges and adapt to the continually evolving market, Cox determined that Specialty Products needed a mobile alignment app that was “extremely easy to use, update, and cost appropriate.” With the guidelines clear, Specialty chose SHIFTMobility and its Private Label as a Service (PLaaS) to create and manage their first bespoke app: AlignGuide™. With its standards based platform, innovative automotive modules, business processes, private cloud environment, user and subscription management, mobile payment processing, and maintenance, PLaaS delivered the advanced capabilities Specialty sought with no IT department required.
Built on the only all-in-one platform specifically designed for the automotive industry, Specialty Products was able to leverage SHIFTMobility’s “unique understanding of automotive data and data delivery to quickly and cost-effectively make the leap to mobile,” says Cox. All told, AlignGuide was developed and deployed in just three weeks, leaving plenty of time for its big debut at AAPEX 2015.
To realize maximum value from its jump to mobile, the company needed to ensure that locating information within the app was both fast, intuitive, and accurate. Cox explains that “SHIFTMobility was the only company with the alternative approach of utilizing VINs and license plate data to get specifications. Not only does this ensure our users get accurate fitment information, it allows them to do so faster than ever before. As an added benefit, SHIFTMobility had prior automotive experience and the ability to work with Auto Care Association standard ACES and PIES data.”
With AlignGuide, users can use their smartphone or tablet to get alignment specifications for any vehicle, whether they are in the shop, garage, or at the track. Besides saving a ton of time, it has made everyone’s lives easier. Cox says that along with helping customers quickly find the information they need, AlignGuide has also made Specialty Products more efficient. “Our customer service team uses the app exclusively because it is faster than reaching for paper.”
AlignGuide – powered by SHIFTMobility
AlignGuide provides manufacturer’s alignment specifications for makes and models since 1985 as well as information on available service parts to correct any problem.
Users can scan a vehicle’s VIN, enter the license plate ID, or pull down the year, make and model to quickly get the information they need to diagnose and correct an alignment problem or suspension issue. Once the vehicle and preferred specifications have been identified, AlignGuide displays illustrations of alignment adjustment methods and service parts to install.
Mobile applications are rapidly transforming the process of making, selling, and buying in the automotive industry. Smartphone driven business applications are already facilitating closer ties between manufacturers and distributors due to their ability to share and integrate the collective use of product, sales and market information with which they run individual operations and serve their customers – wherever they are. These trends are fundamentally changing how value gets delivered from integration or disintegration of complex network of wholesale and retail distribution channels. The interesting thing about mobility is that it is more than just a way to improve efficiencies and competitiveness. Digital catalogs are now embedded in SHIFTMobility technological innovations, allowing quick access to aftermarket parts using smart VIN, license scanners, and telematics. For companies like Specialty Products, it offers an easy way to acquire new markets for the sale of automotive parts that is also appealing to buyers accessing their products on mobile devices from anywhere, anytime.
With the measurable improvements that Specialty Products Company has realized with AlignGuide, plans to expand its use are already in the works. “Specialty Products is known for being on the forefront of the wheel alignment industry, so when we made the decision to deploy our first mobile app we knew it had to be done right – and SHIFTMobility delivered. By being the first alignment parts and tools manufacturer with a complete alignment specification mobile app, we will continue to be the manufacturer that professional installers turn to for their alignment solutions,” says Cox.
SHIFTMobility’s innovative All-In-One platform was designed from the ground up to support the automotive industry’s mobile application needs. We integrate manufacturers, distributors, repair centers, and vehicles on this common platform to enable faster connectivity, light up your ideas, and help the industry embrace enterprise mobility and e-commerce. Every application that is built and deployed on this platform inherits a mobile cloudlet with embedded features such as communication frameworks, integrations, scanners, automotive standard support, and security.