Pricedex, Inc., and Illumaware Corporation, two of the automotive industry’s leading providers of product information management (PIM) software and data management services, have forged an alliance to enable them to offer comprehensive, scalable end-to-end PIM and data management solutions to aftermarket manufacturers, distributors and retailers that can be tailored to their specific financial and performance requirements.

Pricedex, whose enterprise-class end-to-end PIM solution is used by several major automotive parts suppliers, and Illumaware, which is known for its unique combination of DIY and DIFM subscription software solutions for small and medium size companies, will cooperate in the further development and marketing of software and consulting services to aftermarket companies, distributors and retailers of all sizes to help them solve critical product and business information management issues.

“Our two companies are extraordinarily compatible and complementary in terms of business philosophy and service offering with very little overlap,” says Terry O’Reilly, president and CEO of Pricedex.

“Illumaware’s offering is specifically oriented toward the small and medium size company with up to 6,000 parts SKUs, while Pricedex’s PIM solution is oriented toward larger firms, groups and associations and can handle millions of parts. We see an opportunity here to leverage our respective solutions in order to better serve manufacturers, WDs and retailers alike with a complete easy-to-use, ACES-PIES compliant, cost-effective solution.”

Adrian Klingel, president and CEO of Illumaware, agrees. “I wanted to position Illumaware as the ideal on-ramp point for the small and medium size company and our DIFM/DIY subscription model has achieved that goal. Having said that, we also saw a hole in our services in our ability to offer these services to large companies and groups. Our alliance with Pricedex provides the solution.

“Now, Illumaware provides the ways and means to on-ramp the data of a very large number of smaller companies, while Pricedex provides the means to aggregate a huge volume of data for commercial use by the larger manufacturers, WDs and retailers, and the engine to manage and quickly publish that data. It’s a perfect match.”

In recent years, both companies have become increasingly well known in the aftermarket for their work in helping aftermarket companies and association members utilize their data more effectively through their respective approaches. They have also been very supportive of the industry associations in promoting the need for companies to adopt the ACES/PIES standards for the benefit of all the players in the aftermarket: manufacturers, resellers and the associations themselves.

Klingel is known in the industry as the original author of the CARQUEST XML standard which is the basis of PIES XML. Both Illumaware and Pricedex are actively involved with the aftermarket industry associations, being supporters of the efforts of the Autocare Association, SEMA and MIS Council of MEMA to promote uniform product data standards in the industry.

“What’s especially interesting to me is that our two companies have such a similar philosophy in doing business,” says O’Reilly. “While working on separate paths, we’ve both approached the issue of synchronization of product information between trading partners, asking ourselves, ‘What’s really the best way for companies and the industry to address this issue?’ and have aligned in common interest from that standpoint.

“One of the major problems the industry is experiencing right now and which is slowing the adoption of PIM and standards within the industry, is that there is currently too wide a range of narrow ‘point’ solutions, which result in confusion and uncertainty. Industry leaders, particularly on the SEMA side, have even spoken at conferences of point solution providers who promote under the PIES and ACES banners, but cannot actually deliver an efficient process of ongoing product information management. Such disappointments only amplify the uncertainties. We believe the industry is going to need fewer, but stronger solution providers who can truly deliver effective, working solutions.”

Says Klingel: “We both have a unique approach to business and we see a shakeout coming. We believe the days are numbered for point solutions, as they are becoming increasingly inefficient and uneconomic. Companies – all companies – need to own, control and manage their own data – and with the technology that’s available today, there is no reason they can’t and shouldn’t.”

“A solid set of data adds tremendous value and a competitive advantage to its owner. So what companies need is a better way to manage it, control it, and get it to market faster, cheaper and in flexible formats. Our new alliance will allow us to do this for any size company.”

O’Reilly added, “This alliance opens a new door for both companies within the automotive aftermarket industry, but even more importantly, this alliance opens a new door for industry businesses to more confidently take that step now to move forward to capture increased revenues and data management efficiencies with accurate, automated processes.”