What You Need Is Not Always What You Get with an Automotive Aftermarket ERP
Shopping for a modern ERP solution? Make sure you jot down these tips, which will help you ensure that you get the high-quality automotive aftermarket ERP you deserve.
Expectations vs. Reality in the Automotive Aftermarket ERP Landscape
When you invest in a new ERP, you expect that you will get the seamless experience you were promised by your consultant. If you are an automotive aftermarket manufacturer or distributor, you are right to expect that you will finally achieve paperless, painless inventory management for all those parts – but, unfortunately, most ERPs cannot deliver that to you.
In reality, automotive aftermarket businesses usually end up with half the ERP they were expecting. The system they invest in can manage financials and inventory stock levels well, but advanced inventory management tailored to your industry’s complex part classifications still requires frustrating workarounds.
In short: the expectations and reality for ERPs do not add up. But there is an easy way to overcome this challenge. You just have to ask your consultant a few extra questions.
Ask About These 3 Critical Capabilities Before Making Your Decision
When you know what to ask your consultant specifically, you can make sure that you get the ERP that is right for you.
- Database Integration and Updating
You expect that the latest, modern ERP solutions will empower you to finally get rid of all those spreadsheets, homegrown systems, and paper catalogs you have been using to look up ACES, PIES, and SEMA data.
The reality is that most automotive aftermarket ERPs do not seamlessly integrate with ACES, PIES, and other data catalogs. The range of makes, models, years, and engine types you handle all count as custom data, and ERP vendors presume that automotive aftermarket business leaders want to manage custom data themselves. This leaves you with halfan ERP – and a lot of work on your hands.
Ask your ERP consultant if the system you are considering will allow you to catalog inventory based on your specific requirements (such as, year, make, model, etc.) — or if it contains VIN Validation and Identification capabilities and can catalog your inventory by Fitment information. Choosing an ERP with these capabilities will offer built-in savings on labor hours and customization.
- eCommerce Integration
You expect that your new, modern ERP will help you increase your online sales with ease. This helps you deliver the seamless online and in-store experience your customers demand after a year spent purchasing so much online for curbside or delivery.
The reality is that many ERPs provide only online shopping cart integrations. Shopping carts empower you to sell online, but they require you to perform a lot of duplicate data entry to keep your inventory totals up to date in separate, disconnected systems. At best, this frustrates customers who want real-time inventory information. At worst, this hurts your reputation because outdated inventory numbers can cause significant order delays and result in bad reviews.
Ask your ERP consultant if the ERP you are considering automatically integrates with a full eCommerce solution. This type of integration links up a variety of data between your ERP and online sales platform, including real-time inventory data, as if they are one seamless system. True eCommerce integration cuts down on your labor hours and is likely to increase customer satisfaction.
You expect that a solution marketed as an automotive aftermarket ERP will contain all the tools and capabilities your industry will need, out of the box.
The reality is that most ERP solutions are not actually purpose-built for the automotive aftermarket industry, even if they are marketed as such. Instead of getting the industry capabilities you need out of the box, most ERPs require additional customization, integrations, and other costly consulting work. These add-ons drive up your costs and lengthen your implementation timeline.
Ask your ERP consultant if the ERP you are considering includes the industry-specific capabilities listed above in the quoted price, or if each of these capabilities will be considered an add-on. Clearly, if critical functionality results in added costs, you will want to recalculate your numbers.
Get the ERP You Deserve: AutoFitmentPlus Powered by Acumatica
ERP experts focus on software development, so it is rare to find an ERP developer who also understands the true joy of working with a powerful engine that comes alive under your fingertips. Perhaps this difference explains why it is so rare to find an ERP solution that meets the real-life needs of automotive aftermarket manufacturers and distributors.
AutoFitmentPlus powered by Acumatica is the automotive ERP designed by auto enthusiasts for auto enthusiasts – and it is also one of the most comprehensive automotive aftermarket ERP solutions on the market.
Developed by PC Bennett, the high-performance driving and motorsports team of Acumatica experts, AutoFitmentPlus turns your ERP expectations into reality by delivering seamless ACES, PIES, and SEMA updating and integration along with effortless eCommerce integration.
PC Bennett Solutions offers a personalized, full-service experience for customers by implementing business management technology. Through a hands-on approach, PC Bennett Solutions helps companies get the most out of their software system. The team provides training, implementation and customization of Acumatica.