A major year-long study of aftermarket IT practices and data management has been released, confirming what many executives already know: accurate parts data is the lifeblood of the aftermarket, and improving its overall management and finding better ways to distribute timely, synchronized information between trading partners is critical to the industry.

The study was commissioned by the Autocare Association, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in a cooperative effort to examine industry requirements and assess the feasibility of improved methods of data management in the aftermarket.

The report revealed that better methods of distributing higher quality data are indeed needed to help drive cost and other inefficiencies out of the supply chain, but that there was no clear consensus on the form of the solution.

Among its findings, the research paper identified the following three key points:


  • The aftermarket needs a conduit for distributing timely, standardized, complete, accurate, synchronized data that is easy to use.
  • There is no shared vision for a solution within the aftermarket. However, whatever the solution is, most participants expect the manufacturers to pay for the solution, but there is no industry incentive in place to provide ROI to the manufacturers.
  • The data standardization issue must be resolved. The study noted that “Solving the data standardization and data integrity issues is an important part of maintaining the industry’s competitiveness and even its long-term viability in a rapidly changing business environment” because of the cost of inefficiencies due to bad data. This affects manufacturers and resellers alike.


Nearly 1,000 individuals participated in a combination of focus group sessions, telephone interviews and an online survey as part of the study conducted between August 2005 and July 2006. Supply chain research specialists The Catevo Group were retained to conduct the research and write the report.

To download the report, visit www.aftermarketdatavision.org. A forum has been provided for industry comments and feedback online.