Service Parts: The Sweet Spot Between Engineering and eCommerce
Two decades ago, the Convergence Data team began working with Engineering teams to help classify and enrich their service parts - no small task when you consider how large and complex a legacy parts data landscape can be! What happens when a service part's data lifecycle gets extended through other divisions such as eCommerce? The efficiency gains may surprise you! ❤️
With decades of experience working with PLM, PIM, and service parts data, CDS is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between these two critical functions. Many customers have asked, "What else can we do with this data?" -- a challenge that we eagerly take on!
Service parts unexpectedly became the common denominator that allowed us to also support eCommerce teams through marrying up their technical and marketing product data. While uniting the Engineering and eCommerce functions is typically an afterthought (or not usually attempted), we believe it's imperative for organizations to take steps forward in that evolution. The opportunity cost is significant!
Engineering and eCommerce have a lot in common in that they both face similar data challenges. For example:
- Data is not centralized and often siloed across the division;
- Data is stored and updated manually in spreadsheets and legacy systems;
- Enterprise legacy systems are rigid, with data models that are difficult to update and maintain over time.
"The Engineers Started It!"
⚙️Engineering data has been around since the creation of parts, features, and assemblies, playing a key role in initiating the lifecycle of a service part. While PLM systems provide a landing spot for technical engineering data, these teams frequently struggle to classify their parts, maintain consistent and normalized attribution and units of measure, and integrate third-party component data. Unfortunately, PLM solutions frequently become 🏦 "CAD vaults" (one of the most common challenges our team encounters) and:
- Parts aren't easily findable by Engineering, resulting in duplicates;
- Technical parts data ends up scattered across disparate siloes, resulting in parts data inconsistencies;
- Technical parts data doesn't traverse outside of Engineering -- a missed opportunity to reuse that data to enhance findability for eCommerce.
"eCommerce Can't Sell It!"
Within eCommerce, accessing the upstream technical data of a service part and reinforcing it with marketing content to create a sellable aftermarket SKU can be challenging. 💔 This often occurs when Engineering and eCommerce aren't integrated and do not actively collaborate.
For many teams, the process of maintaining both technical and marketing content is both manual and time-consuming. (Don't worry -- it doesn't come naturally to most teams!) Difficulty integrating the upstream technical data from enterprise systems, such as ERP or PLM, can result in incomplete and inconsistent sellable SKU data. 👎 Pushing lower-quality data to the customer-facing eCommerce site will typically result in reduced part findability, cart abandonment and, ultimately, lost revenue. 📉
Fortunately, there’s a better way!
The intersection of data between Engineering and eCommerce can be a significant accelerator for an organization. It all starts with a manufactured part number. From there, key technical attributes and marketing description data can be added. The end result would look something like this and represent a sellable SKU for the eCommerce team: 👇
This structured data can then be used to search and filter parts in an eCatalog to allow the end-customers to find what they need. Imagine the deep efficiencies that can be gained by focusing this approach on the high margin aftermarket parts that drive the most revenue for your team. The net result will streamline the path to eCommerce success and can dramatically increase financial performance! 💰
"How Do We Get There?"
➕To achieve this critical intersection between Engineering and eCommerce will require the technical and marketing product data to be consolidated and managed in an easily accessible and flexible manner. This means harnessing a solution that is engineering-centric, but also:
- Affords the flexibility to integrate and maintain product and marketing data into the lifecycle of a part;
- Promotes standardization and governance via workflows (such as data normalization, new part introduction, etc.)
From technical attributes to marketing data, CDS can help demystify your landscape and power your team's next generation commerce goals. Our services and solutions are specifically designed for companies that struggle with rigid enterprise solutions, data models that are difficult to update, and sprawling legacy data.
Looking to harness our extensive knowledge of engineered parts data, PLM, PIM and eCommerce to compliment your business? We can help!