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AutoFitmentPlus Acumatica Aftermarket Management

How to Manage Your Entire Automotive Aftermarket Business from End-to-End

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Attend our May 5, 2021 10 AM PT webinar and learn about AutoFitmentPlus, a complete and fully integrated solution designed to manage your entire automotive aftermarket business effectively and efficiently from end-to-end. It is built on top of Acumatica Cloud ERP and incorporates resources that make it easy to identify parts in an industry-standard manner.

Please register here.

Graphic of car with translucent exterior so interior auto parts can be displayed.

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 auto parts 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 auto 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 auto 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

Interested in learning more about how AutoFitmentPlus can benefit your organization? Contact us here and tell us how we can help.

A woman working at a computer.

What’s New in Acumatica 2021 R1?

By AcumaticaNo Comments

See How Easily You Can Start Using Functions in Acumatica 2021 R1

 

One of the biggest benefits to using Acumatica Cloud ERP is the fact that you always have included access to the latest, greatest updates to your ERP with no additional maintenance fees. Even better – Acumatica puts the power in your hands as to when you want to activate new updates, so you can make sure you get the latest features when you’re ready for them.

Curious to see what you can do with the newly released Acumatica 2021 R1? In this great, hands-on webinar, the award-winning experts over at PC Bennett walk you through the biggest changes and how you can make them work for your business. Watch the webinar now.

Video Summary – Skip Forward to the Parts that Matter to You!

In this video, our expert Tim O’Sullivan leads you through the step-by-step processes you can take to activate, use, and configure the best new features and functions in Acumatica 2021 R1. Feel free to skip forward to the parts that matter most to you.

Big Ul Improvements (Watch from this point)

  • New “Addresses” tab added to clean up screens in the Shipping and Financial tabs
  • Search history in universal search empowers you to look up the last 300 records you searched with a very organized layout
  • New save and close button helps you do more with fewer clicks
  • Purchase Order is now linked back to Sales Order to help you move between items more easily
  • Also includes handy browser tips that can help you use Acumatica more effectively

Automatic Business Card Recognition (Watch from this point)

  • New machine learning feature in Acumatica 2021 R1 makes it a snap to scan business card data direct to Contacts and display instantly in Acumatica
  • Note that there is a step you have to follow to enable this functionality (see here)
  • At the very end of the webinar during the Q&As, you can also see additional machine learning features from 2020 R1/R2, such as invoice recognition and receipt recognition

Changes in Generic Inquiry (Watch from this point)

  • Now you can change inquiry title and screen ID anytime you want to
  • Modify Generic Inquiry output screen to link to package tracking directly from the Generic Inquiry screen (watch the how to)
  • Use preview functionality to get more out of your side panel
  • New “Attach Notes To” option lets you use notes better and more efficiently (watch the how to)

Dashboard Improvements (Watch from this point)

  • Get step-by-step directions on how to make your dashboards more dynamic
  • See how to use the new widget area to streamline common tasks
  • Learn how to copy and paste a KPI or widget tile

User Defined Fields (Watch from this point)

  • Find out how to create a user defined field once and use it everywhere you want
  • See how easily you can customize your Acumatica 2021 R1 system (you’ll want to start customizing everything)

Dead Stock Inquiry (Watch from this point)

  • Lookup dead stock, including stagnant inventory or inventory that isn’t selling
  • This feature helps you plan fire sales or other sales based on carrying costs, sales frequency, etc.

Get the cheat sheet from Tim with all these features listed in order!

Final Notes

As you can see, there is a lot to learn from this in-depth webinar from PC Bennett. One thing we didn’t cover in the video (but that we feel is one of the biggest updates to Acumatica 2021 R1) is that this latest version of the Cloud ERP now delivers native integration to Shopify and BigCommerce.

If you’re already using either of these eCommerce platforms, please get in touch with PC Bennett to learn how you can save time and improve accuracy in your webstore transactions with Acumatica.

 

Watch the “What’s New in Acumatica 2021 R1” webinar

 

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.

Businesspeople celebrating a win at the office.

Best Way to Ensure Your New ERP System Succeeds

By AcumaticaNo Comments

You hear the stats all the time – 50% or more of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives. And the reasons are as varied as the people that use them. One area where many projects stumble is around user acceptance testing (UAT). It may seem like a small part when compared to the setup, configuration and deployment of a solution, but in fact, it is critical to the project’s success.

Communication

PC Bennett takes a very direct approach to communication with our clients, and we start every project kickoff with a thorough outline of the phases the team will need to go through. It includes a frank discussion about the potential pitfalls, including user testing.

Technology is only as effective as the people who use it. If your team doesn’t embrace the change, the project will never realize its ROI.

Auto Action Group

  • Established in 1978 by Bruce Cohen
  • Located in Kenilworth, NJ
  • 60-65 Employees
  • Provider, distributor, and installer of automotive aftermarket & OEM products
  • Slogan – “Driving Your Lifestyle”

Executive Buy-in

One of the keys to helping users feel comfortable with testing and providing feedback on the new system is having complete support and buy-in from top management. It can come in the form of email communication, company-wide Zoom calls, enlisting department advocates to help reinforce the message, and even gamification with kudos and prizes for those who contribute the most.

Our Customer Auto Action Group, came up with a creative way to make sure their employees test Acumatica, their new ERP system.  They started wearing badges to spark conversation about the user testing, “What have you done in Acumatica today?”

Auto Action, a lot like other companies, get caught up in the day-to-day challenges business presents. We try to find ways to reinforce the need to focus continuously on things outside this daily scope. The badges help us give friendly reminders each day that Acumatica testing needs to be part of those daily tasks.

Jared Cohen (shown here wearing the badge)CEO / Owner, Auto Action Group

I love their creativity and can’t wait to see them live on the software so they can experience all the benefits of running their business on Acumatica Cloud ERP!

Project Snapshot

Auto Action Group started this project right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which presented its own challenges. But we approached it with a plan to document their processes with flowcharts and swim lane diagrams, videos of their day-to-day activities, and collaboration tools to keep everyone in sync.

The Project Team

Auto Action Group involved several key team members, including the CEO, from the beginning in the project, which has enabled the success to date. Involvement and buy-in from top management is essential to manage the change that is required of an organization when they upgrade to any new ERP solution.

Key Drivers for Change

Auto Action Group was on a very old DOS-based system, DB3, that just could not keep up with the demands of today’s business, particularly timely and accurate reporting. They also wanted to be on a modern system.

In addition, they were using a home-grown web application for job management.

New System Requirements

The team at Auto Action Group agreed that what they needed was something packaged that could run their business from end to end. A configurable, off-the-shelf application, as they were tired of depending on one person to maintain their legacy system. In addition, they wanted:

  • A solution able to support formal processes and procedures – in order to see operational efficiencies, they needed to improve their day to day processes and wanted a system that could help them stay true to those processes.
  • An intuitive interface that is easy to learn – they wanted to minimize the learning curve for their team.
  • A scalable, secure and accessible – they needed a true cloud solution that would enable their teams to work efficiently from anywhere, including the field. They also wanted to be able to add staff without adding technology costs.
  • Robust, native reporting capabilities – possibly the most critical requirement they had was for management to have a 360-degree view of the business health and profitability through dashboards, alerts and KPI monitoring.
  • Field service management specifically for automotive industry to replace their custom job management system, which PC Bennett brought to life with AutoFitmentPlus.
  • Streamlined CRM capabilities.After failing with many off the shelf products such as salesforce, they found they needed the CRM to be embeded in the solution to achieve better company buyin.

Now that Auto Action Group is in the final stretch of their Acumatica deployment, they can see the benefits on the horizon, and are diligently testing and trying out the features.

 

Keys to Success

Now that the bulk of the project is in the rearview mirror, they had this advice to anyone looking to update their systems.

  1. Keep it simple, streamline, and eliminate special needs wherever possible
  2. Focus on the why and not the how
  3. Crawl, walk, run
  4. Prepare well and communicate often
  5. Pick your partner wisely; it’s a relationship you’ll have for a long time
  6. Know that it will involve change and growth, which will be challenging
  7. Try to have a little fun with it

Considering an update to your legacy software? Read
5 Critical Considerations When Selecting Software for Your Business.

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 disassembled race car in a racing garage.

Sell More Parts and Reduce Your Costs: Fitment for Acumatica

By AcumaticaNo Comments

The Cost of Inaccurate Fitment Data

How many times have you had a customer order the wrong part?  It sounds like a small thing.  But if your order department is relying on paper catalogs or is looking up parts on multiple websites, not only are they spending more time taking orders, but you run a bigger risk of selling incompatible parts to your customers. At the least, it disappoints the customer and results in costly returns. At the worst, it can cost you their business.

As you know, managing your 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.

Customers Don’t Realize They Can Search by More Than Brand

Additionally, customers often search for parts by brand, not realizing that there can be parts that fit multiple brands of vehicles. With an integrated fitment lookup that connects to your web store, you can educate your customers on how to search and serve up more compatible options. This will keep them on your site, buying parts from you instead of your competition.

Our fitment solution allows you to quickly and easily look up fitment data by year, make, model, and other filters like trim and engine type. It can be linked to ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard), as well. And did we mention that it connects to shopping cart?

Automotive ERP Fitment Acumatica

You can also quickly create new items with images, color options, finishes, descriptions, specs and manufacturer’s data with just a few clicks. This will integrate to your shopping cart.

How Good is Our Fitment Solution?Fitment Automotive ERP Acumatica

We were demoing the software to a prospective customer last week. You know how those go, you can read the room, even if it is virtual, and feel how interested the audience is. We sensed that they were going through the motions, and hoping to get this final bit of research done so they could go with another product (for whatever reason). That is, until we showed them our fitment feature. Suddenly the energy of the room changed and the engagement level shot up. They were asking questions left and right and wanted to see more of the screens and options. They chose our solution over the rest.

Why Did We Focus on Fitment?Automotive ERP Acumatica Fitment

We have a passion for classic cars, fast cars and the racing industry. This love of cars and racing started with my father 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!

Patricia Bennett at SEMA 2018 Booth