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6 Phases of an ERP Implementation Plan

By Automotive Aftermarket, ERP ImplementationOne Comment

There are 6 phases that make up any ERP implementation project: Discovery and Planning, Design, Development, Testing, Deployment, and Ongoing Support.

Though this is an iterative process, there will be a tendency for phases to overlap, and for movement back and forth between phases.

With our team, who specializes in Automotive Aftermarket software solutions and has over a century of combined experience in financial software and ERP implementations, we have outlined the process we use with our customers. See the steps below.

Click the image above to download the infographic!

ERP Implementation Plan

1. Discovery and Planning

This first phase begins during the sales process and then continues post-sale. During this period, the project team will be created. There will be initial meetings and documentation developed as the team works to identify current issues and potential solutions. An important part of this phase is constructing the project plan, which will serve as a guide throughout the rest of the project.

2. Design

We’re not talking about painting the office or rearranging furniture. Instead, what will the new enterprise-wide system look like and how will it be used in the organization? In the ERP Design phase, the project team and implementation team will be working out the various configurations for the new system, defining roles, and documenting standard procedures.

3. Development

The purpose of the development phase is to prepare the entire system for going live. This includes activities such as completing any necessary customizations, developing user trainings, and importing data. With ERP implementations, like any custom software development projects – “First, Solve the problem. Then, write the code.”

4. Testing

Is the system’s functionality aligning with the set requirements for the project? The Testing and Development phases will often overlap, as the implementation and project teams jump between the two – constantly fine tuning the configuration. By the end of this phase, project team members will be comfortable doing their jobs in the new system. This is the final step before diving into the live system.

5. Deployment

The project team and implementation team will assess the situation and make the final go or no-go decision. Prior to going live, the final data will be loaded and validated. The project team will train other employees who will then start working in the new system, and completely stop using the old one.

6. Ongoing Support

Once the ERP system has gone live, the purpose of the project team will shift. Over time, as the way the users work within the system evolves, adjustments and changes to the system configuration may be needed.

 

Next Steps

We hope this article serves as a valuable resource to you and your organization when exploring automotive ERP projects as well as other enterprise systems. Other articles you might find of interest or of use in your ERP research include:

If you are interested in auto parts inventory and management software or automotive aftermarket ERP solutions that can manage your company from end to end, these articles might be helpful:

Specializing in software solutions for the Automotive After Market industry, PC Bennett has been implementing ERP systems and providing ongoing ERP support for companies since 2002, and we are happy to assist as we know ERP selection and implementation can be a large endeavor.

If you’re ready to learn more, contact PC Bennett.

 

 

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. Headquartered in the Seattle area, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

Race car driving on a dirt road.

How to Eliminate Your Auto Parts Inventory Spreadsheet

By Acumatica, Auto Parts Database Software, Automotive Aftermarket

Learn How to Reduce Your Reliance on Spreadsheets and Better Manage Your Business

 

Everybody loves spreadsheets, right?

Spreadsheets are cheap, easy, and convenient — and often frequently contain errors — from a miscopied formula (or a formula initially entered incorrectly) to simple typos. They also require a lot of administrative upkeep and endless formatting.

Perhaps worst of all is that frustrating spreadsheet issue where all the spreadsheets are accurate and well-formatted — but you look at the wrong version (or the correct, but un-updated, version) by mistake and act on out-of-date information.

It’s time to talk about how to get rid of your auto parts inventory spreadsheets forever.

ERP Can Help Reduce Your Dependence on Spreadsheets

Spreadsheet irritations are one of the biggest issues in growing companies. However, most business leaders are so used to dealing with spreadsheet hassles that they cannot fully imagine how much time and energy they could save if they simply replaced their spreadsheets with a better tool.

Most growing automotive aftermarket manufacturers and distributors choose to replace those pesky spreadsheets with an ERP solution.  

Here is why:

  • Less error-prone manual data entry

ERP systems are typically set up to automatically integrate your auto parts inventory information from sales orders/shipping and purchase orders/receiving data. ERP users rarely have to manually update stock counts, which significantly cuts down on errors.

  • No formatting hassles

Modern ERPs are built to display your auto parts inventory information properly on any device: a desktop, a laptop, a warehouse display monitor, a tablet, a phone, or even a handheld scanner – with no formatting tweaks required.

  • Always up-to-date inventory data

With an ERP, you can trust that you, your staff, and your customers are seeing up-to-the-second inventory data at all times, whether they’re looking at your eCommerce store website, a computer in your brick-and-mortar locations, or a mobile device.

How to Choose an ERP

The best way to determine which ERP will meet your needs is to work with an ERP consultant who will help you perform a fair and balanced assessment of all your ERP options.

Here are a few pointers to help you start thinking about your needs before your ERP consultation:

  • Choose cloud-based ERP. The “new normal” of lockdowns and limited staff-in-person counts mean that you need a better way to ensure that your data is securely available to employees wherever they are. Cloud ERPdelivers that flexibility.
  • Select an ERP that integrates with your industry. There are a lot of cloud ERPs out there, but not many of them fit the needs of automotive aftermarket manufacturers and distributors. An industry-specific ERP is necessary if you truly want to get rid of your auto parts inventory spreadsheet.

Ensure that the solution you choose:

  • Integrates with vehicle classification data, including ACES, PIES, SEMA, and VIN Validation & Identification
  • Automatically updates ACES, PIES, and SEMA data for you, so you can reduce or eliminate your manual data entry and database lookup time
  • Filters auto parts inventory by year, make, model, engine type, color, etc.
  • Connects to your eCommerce storefront in real time, saving you the effort it takes to manually copy and paste data between your ERP and webstore
  • Is an all-in-one tool for your business to manage financials, inventory, logistics, sales, eCommerce, production, purchasing, costing, supply chain management, customer notifications, and service management

Start Your Search with AutoFitmentPlus Powered by Acumatica

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 is the right tool for the job when you’re ready to get rid of your auto parts inventory spreadsheet for good.

 

Schedule your consultation to learn more. 

 

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. Headquartered in the Seattle area, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

Blog header image of a fast car for the blog on why Acumatica is the best ERP for the automotive industry from PC Bennett.

Why Acumatica Is the Best ERP for the Automotive Industry

By Acumatica, Auto Parts Database Software, Automotive Aftermarket

Looking for the Best ERP for the Automotive Industry? You’ve Found It.

 

If you run an automotive aftermarket manufacturing or distribution business, you deserve a better way to manage your inventory, operations, and financials.

Let’s face it: those homegrown systems and one-off spreadsheets are throttling your business growth – and those paper catalogs? Don’t even get us started on the time-wasting disaster they are.

By this point, you already know that a better ERP would help you grow your business, but you also know that finding the right ERP takes time to spare (which you don’t have). Wouldn’t it be great to learn about the one ERP that clearly stood out from all the rest as the best ERP for the automotive industry?

Let’s talk about Acumatica Cloud ERP.

What Is Acumatica?

A leading cloud ERP solution, Acumatica handles every aspect of your automotive aftermarket business from end to end.

From manufacturing to distribution to eCommerce to service and install, Acumatica is the one single system that houses all your data, reducing the effort it takes to manage your company. In other words, Acumatica provides the time-saving tools you need so you can focus on growing your business.

Watch Acumatica video

Like all ERPs, Acumatica streamlines traditional time wasters like financial reporting, inventory management, logistics, and sales. You expect that.

However, the reason why Acumatica is the best ERP for the automotive industry is because only Acumatica integrates with the one-of-a-kind automotive aftermarket management solution known as AutoFitmentPlus.

What Is AutoFitmentPlus?

Only available with Acumatica, AutoFitmentPlus is the automotive aftermarket management solution developed by auto enthusiasts for auto enthusiasts.

Watch AutoFitmentPlus video

Combined with Acumatica, this unique tool helps automotive aftermarket manufacturers and distributors:

  • Track, manage, and filter inventory searches for parts based on years, models, style, and color
  • Put the pedal to the metal on format and database lookup time for ACES, PIES, and SEMA data with automatic updates done for you
  • Save time on VIN Validation and Identification, with built-in capabilities
  • Access complete, real-time inventory records from anywhere at any time
  • Right-size inventory levels to meet forecasted customer demand
  • Set up optional alerts and purchasing recommendations that help you avoid “stock outs”
  • Sync up your eCommerce system and ERP for accurate, real-time part inventory data
  • Integrate all your databases, financials, and inventory into a single system that handles everything

A table that compares benefits for manufacturers and distributors showing why Acumatica is the best ERP for the automotive industry

Wait, Wait, How do I Get AutoFitmentPlus and Acumatica?

At PC Bennett, we’re auto enthusiasts. We’re big supporters of the automotive aftermarket industry. We’re also the developers behind AutoFitmentPlus and we’re some of the top Acumatica experts in the world.

We agree that you deserve the best ERP for the automotive industry, and that’s why we built AutoFitmentPlus for Acumatica Cloud ERP.

If you’re ready to grow your business with the best ERP for the automotive industry, contact PC Bennett today.

 

As soon as you’re ready to learn more, contact PC Bennett.

 

 

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. Headquartered in the Seattle area, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

Mechanic works underneath a car.

Automotive Aftermarket Parts Management — AutoFitmentPlus

By Acumatica, Auto Parts Database Software, Automotive Aftermarket, Cloud ERP

PC Bennett Announces the Automotive Database Management Solution: AutoFitmentPlus.

 

On September 15, 2020 we announced our automotive database management solution: AutoFitmentPlus.  In an effort to better serve automotive aftermarket customers, we developed this comprehensive tool that combines fitment tracking and parts lookup with ACES and PIES reference specification data, packaged into an award-winning ERP system.

AutoFitmentPlus builds on the Fitment functionality that we released earlier this year, and is 80% through Phase I development. You can currently look up fitment for auto parts by year, make, model and other filters, ensuring that they get the right part, every time.

Save Time on Data Entry

When we asked our customers what they wanted most from a fitment solution, we heard many of them lament having to enter in parts data at least twice, often more than that. Then at the end of the month some of them needed to manually create an Excel spreadsheet to send to SEMA in the PIES format. It was a huge drain on their time each month. AutoFitmentPlus allows customers to enter data ONCE, and then click a button to generate the PIES file they need, in the right format, in minutes.

Quickly Find The Parts You Need

The expanded AutoFitmentPlus tool has the go-to reference specification tables: ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) and PIES (Product Information Exchange Standard) built right into it, allowing fast, easy file preparation and transmission and seamless direct access to the data.

“We wanted to help our customers eliminate manual lookups and have an easy way to quickly find parts that match their customers’ requests,” says our Founder, and CEO Patricia Bennett.  “Integrating it with ACES and PIES just made sense, and saves our customers so much time and effort. Before AutoFitmentPlus, one customer spent upwards of 12 hours each month preparing their data file for upload to SEMA. Imagine getting that time back every month.”

In addition to parts lookup, the AutoFitmentPlus solution includes:

  • VIN validation and identification
  • Vehicle Classification data (Year, Make, Model, Engine Type, etc.) maintained and cross-referenced against your Part SKUs to establish Fitment Application.
  • Industry-standard ‘ACES’ (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) Vehicle Classification data automatically loaded into the ERP database and automatically updated at regular intervals.
  • Parts Fitment used to filter available products on Sales Orders and Service Orders. Fitment will also integrate with your eCommerce website.
  • Industry-standard ‘PIES’ (Product Information Exchange Standard) Product Categorization data automatically loaded into the ERP database and automatically updated at regular intervals.
  • PIES data used to provide information about your Parts in an industry recognized manner, including Attributes and other specifications.
  • Sales and Service performed on vehicles tracked by VIN, including Warranties on parts and service.
  • On-demand export of data in the ACES, PIES, or SEMA prescribed formats with no manual data manipulation or intervention on your part, providing you with seamless integration to your trading partners and the SEMA Data Coop.

For subscribing members of the Auto Care Association, AutoFitmentPlus will also ensure the data you have in your ERP system is always up to date.

You can learn more in our AutoFitmentPlus blog post.

“We couldn’t be happier that PC Bennett is developing this automotive database management tool for their Acumatica audience. It speaks to their commitment to the automotive industry, and their depth of knowledge and passion for the fastest growing cloud ERP solution,” — Geoff Ashley, Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs at Acumatica.

A mechanic works underneath a car at a car dealership.

AutoFitmentPlus — Your Automotive Aftermarket Auto Parts Database Software

By Acumatica, Auto Parts Database Software, Automotive Aftermarket, Cloud ERP

When we started down this Automotive Aftermarket road, we had no idea it would lead to the creation of a custom solution like AutoFitmentPlus. But we are happy it did – it is helping our clients have an edge that no other companies have.

How It Began

While working with customers, we realized a major struggle for them was centered around parts database management. Order departments were relying on paper catalogs or were looking up parts on multiple websites, which was frustrating and time-consuming. Not only were they spending more time taking orders, but they ran a bigger risk of selling incompatible parts to their customers. Which at a minimum disappoints the customer and results in costly returns. At worst, it can cost them their business. There had to be a better way.

The Birth of Fitment for Acumatica

As you know, managing fitment information is an ongoing process. Vehicle standards change often. Without an integrated solution, you are left to manually maintain your database. Not only is it a huge task, but it is prone to errors and creates a lag in accurate data, paving the way for a bad customer experience.

Additionally, customers often search for parts by brand, not realizing that there can be parts that fit multiple brands of vehicles.

We realized an integrated fitment lookup that connects to your web store would allow you to educate your customers on how to search and serve up more compatible options. This also keeps them on your site, buying parts from you instead of your competition.

We developed and launched our fitment solution earlier this year, which allows you to quickly and easily look up fitment data by year, make, model, and other filters like trim and engine type. And did we mention that it connects to shopping cart? You can also quickly create new items with images, color options, finishes, descriptions, specs and manufacturer’s data with just a few clicks.

The Evolution to AutoFitmentPlus

We know there’s always room for improvement. So, we took our Fitment product to our clients for testing and recommendations. They did not disappoint. We came away from those meetings and conversations with a host of recommended features. And we got to work.

The expanded AutoFitmentPlus tool has the go-to reference specification tables: ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) and PIES (Product Information Exchange Standard) built right into it, allowing fast, easy file preparation and transmission and seamless direct access to the data.

Auto Parts Database Acumatica Fitment

How Good is AutoFitmentPlus?

Auto Parts Software Acumatica FitmentWhen we talk about the features with any current or potential client, you can feel their interest grow. It’s no longer an ERP solution and our knowledge around how to implement. It’s a passion for the automotive industry that has resulted in a truly unique offering, designed from the ground up to save you time, money, and frustration.

We are 80% through phase I of development, so we are still a bit away from launching, but this product builds on a solid foundation of the fitment functionality we already created, and promises much more, including:

  • VIN validation and identification
  • Vehicle Classification data (Year, Make, Model, Engine Type, etc.) maintained and cross-referenced against your Part SKUs to establish Fitment Application.
  • Industry-standard ‘ACES’ (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) Vehicle Classification data automatically loaded into the ERP database and automatically updated at regular intervals.
  • Parts Fitment used to filter available products on Sales Orders and Service Orders. Fitment will also integrate with your eCommerce website.
  • Industry-standard ‘PIES’ (Product Information Exchange Standard) Product Categorization data automatically loaded into the ERP database and automatically updated at regular intervals.
  • PIES data used to provide information about your Parts in an industry recognized manner, including Attributes and other specifications.
  • Sales and Service performed on vehicles tracked by VIN, including Warranties on parts and service.
  • On-demand export of data in the ACES, PIES, or SEMA prescribed formats with no manual data manipulation or intervention on your part, providing you with seamless integration to your trading partners and the SEMA Data Coop.

Why Did We Focus on the Automotive Aftermarket?

Auto Parts Database Software Acumatica FitmentWe have a passion for classic cars, fast cars and the racing industry. This love of cars and racing started a generation ago and it continues with me, my brother and my son. It’s one of the reasons people choose us over anyone else. It’s why we find it easy and actually fun to help automotive aftermarket industry. It’s why we’re continually updating and improving our solution to make sure it provides everything our clients need.

Get to know us a little better…peruse our gallery of photos, and lots of other handy resources on our Acumatica Automotive page.

Stop “Getting By” with an Outdated Fitment Process

And start using a solution that eliminates errors and takes guesswork out of fitting parts to vehicles. A solution that won’t cost a fortune, take forever to deploy, or be hard to use. A solution that:

  • Helps sell the right part
  • Reduces research time
  • Improves customer service
  • Drives up repeat business
  • Eliminates silos of information

Take a tour of our fitment module, and let us know what you think! Your comments could lead to an even better solution!

See Fitment in Action