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Ronald Garand :


Ronald Garand :
By automating their catalog data with e-Publisher from Vertical Development, Inc., Foster Parts Inc. has all the application data needed to introduce new part numbers into the marketplace, keeping them ahead of their competition. What’s more, they can issue updates monthly, assuring that their customers always have the latest information.

Since 2000, Foster has been supplying a broad range of premium brake rotors and drums sold through Advance Auto and more recently through Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance and CARQUEST. Foster had been using Excel spreadsheets to organize and manage their data. “But as new part numbers were introduced, we began to see overlapping information,” said Doug Labac, Vice President of Sales – North America. “We realized how seriously we needed to upgrade our catalog data, so we asked Vertical Development for help.”

Because the overlapping information could likely result in errors, “we threw out all of our existing data and started from scratch,” said Labac, who began by purchasing OEM parts research from Technologue. VDI helped link Foster’s part numbers with the newly purchased data to create a single relational database with over 1600 part numbers and tens of thousands of unique vehicle applications.

Within a few months, Foster not only had its first automated catalog management system, but the system’s unique mapping process enabled them to map their files in the industry standard AAIA ACES format for delivery to Activant, Wrenchead and other e-Cat companies. They have since used e-Publisher to create CDs as well as a Web-based catalog.

What is particularly exciting to Foster is the speed at which they can introduce new products into the marketplace. “Before e-Publisher, we waited for our competitors to introduce new parts and get application data into the market,” he said. “Now we have our own excellent application data, so we can be proactive and get new products into the marketplace faster – ahead of our competition,” he added.

Labac credits VDI with the company’s success. “What attracted us to VDI was the professionalism of their organization,” he said. “I would absolutely recommend them to other companies. Their location is also very close to ours, so I can go there to get issues resolved or receive additional training.”

With their catalog data organized and mapped to ACES, Foster is now planning the next step in the process – synchronizing their data with the latest PIES standards. “And I’m counting on getting advice from VDI,” added Labac.

Vertical Development’s e-Publisher program is ideally suited to all types of companies, especially businesses like Foster Parts. By consolidating part numbers from multiple spreadsheets into a single user interface, they enable companies to map to AAIA standards, generate catalogs in print and on CDs, and offer online lookup systems, easily and economically. Solutions in place range from small 32-page catalogs to 3,000-page mega-catalogs.

A leading provider of content management systems, Vertical Development, Inc. offers e-Publisher, e-Catalog, and e-WebCatalog systems that support simultaneous publishing to print, web and CD-ROM formats from a single data source. Their ShowMeTheParts system is dedicated to publishing catalogs on CD. Vertical Development also offers mapping services to companies without systems, allowing them to export their data in AAIA (ACES, Legacy, PIES), Activant, NAPA (Attribute, PartsPro), Wrenchead and other retailer formats. VDI’s software has streamlined data management for companies nationwide in a variety of industries, including many of the largest manufacturers in the automotive market. Founded in 1983, the company has offices in Downers Grove and Huntley, IL, as well as Fremont, CA.

To find out more about the systems and services available from Vertical Development, please call (847) 609-9540, or e-mail More information can also be obtained by visiting the company’s web site at

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