The subject of “Globalisation” in one of great interest to businesses worldwide, and particularly important for companies serving the transportation aftermarket. In this review we will cover this important tropic from the perspective of TecAlliance and from that of one of its founding shareholders, TMD Friction, which is a global leader in brake pad technology, and where data quality is of strategic importance.
TecAlliance works continuously with industry partners to improve data quality in its global TecDoc Catalogue, the world’s leading aftermarket catalogue with more than 800 brands. The TecDoc standard has been recognised for over 25 years because it ensures the highest data quality, comparability, efficiency and transparency in the global automotive aftermarket. In order to accompany parts manufacturers and dealers across borders in their digitisation programs, TecAlliance is well established in many international markets.
At TMD Friction:
For over ten years, a specialised data team at TMD Friction has been continuously improving product and catalogue data. It is a fact that increasing customer requirements and the growing complexity of the international environment continuously demand new solutions. TMD Friction relies on TecAlliance to help it ensure that optimal product and catalogue data is available at points of service worldwide, thereby providing a foundation for sustainable, global business success.
High data quality eases replacement part identification and reduces returns costs:
To be successful in the automotive aftermarket, replacement parts manufacturers must ensure that customers at points of service (PoS) have access to up-to-date and correct product information at all times. Customers have a positive shopping experience when they can reliably and quickly identify the right product based on the available catalogue data.
In his role as Vice President at TMD Friction, Marco Loth is responsible for category management, global data management, pricing, sourcing and engineering. In addition, as Commercial Director MEAAP, he manages sales in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
“Data quality is the guarantee of all important processes for TMD Friction. For this reason, it is a very important area, in which we have invested heavily in recent years. Catalogue data quality is an important means for us to communicate with our customers,” explains Loth.
“It is important for us to make it as easy as possible for our customers. The customer should be able to enter his data or vehicle into the catalogue or database, for example, and identify his parts directly. In this way, we want to ensure that, on the one hand, the selection for the customer is reduced as much as possible so that he can assign the parts precisely. On the other hand, we want to avoid customers ordering several parts because they are not sure which is the right one. Then, they have to send back the parts that do not fit. This is time-consuming for the customer and causes unnecessary costs for both him and us. Thanks to high data quality, a workshop can always offer its customers the right part and install it quickly in the respective repair job. This affects the workshop’s perceived quality,” says Loth.
Internationalisation leads to new challenges
For years, internationalisation has been one of the most important topics in the automotive aftermarket – after all, it is the prerequisite for growth and long-term business success. In order to remain fit for the future, companies must orient themselves to the dynamics of the various markets and the specific needs of international customers and sales partners. TMD Friction has been focusing on the establishment of regional sales teams, production and warehouse facilities since 2016. The increasing complexity due to different standards, market conditions and customer requirements required adjustments in data management at TMD Friction, among other things.
“We used to look at data at the level of Central Europe. Today, we collect data worldwide, which of course presents us with new challenges,” explains Loth. “For example, in China or Brazil, there are different vehicles in circulation compared to Europe. There are different conditions, a different way of communicating with the market. The whole world of data has become more complex and global for us in recent years. Our teams are now not located only in Europe but are spread all around the world.”
Worldwide success through maximum customer proximity
In China, for example, WeChat is by far the most popular app; in addition to a chat function it includes its own web browser, a mobile payment system and numerous other functions. A WeChat profile is more important for companies there than their own website. In order to meet customer requirements, the TecAlliance office in Shanghai introduced the TecAlliance WeChat Catalogue in 2017. Based on this, a custom WeChat catalogue solution was developed for TMD Friction so that customers can quickly and conveniently identify the right replacement part within the TMD Friction product offerings.
“We wanted to understand exactly what Chinese customers needed in their catalogue. That’s why we worked with TecAlliance China to develop the presentation of our WeChat catalogue. Since we are represented in China by a local team (including various warehouses), we are able to fulfil customer requirements much better,” explains Loth. Thanks to TecAlliance’s global orientation, parts manufacturers and dealers in the most important worldwide markets can find a reliable local partner. They can work together closely to develop the best possible solution for each market.
A detailed interview on the growing importance of data quality with Marco Loth and Markus Leister, who heads the “Global Data” division at TMD Friction, is available at: https://www.tecalliance.net/en
For more than 25 years, TecAlliance has been one of the world’s leading data specialists connecting the global, digital aftermarket for automotive, heavy duty and other product applications. In addition to up-to-date vehicle and parts data using the TecDoc Standard, the TecAlliance portfolio includes comprehensive repair and maintenance information, as well as integrated solutions and consulting services for digital order handling, fleet management, market analysis and data analysis for global aftermarket industries. The TecDoc Catalog is one of the world’s leading and most comprehensive transportation aftermarket catalogs. Today, around 800 qualified TecAlliance employees from 26 nations are working around the world, using their profound technical and business knowledge of local aftermarkets and collaborating with local TecAlliance, parts supplier and distributor resources in the development of the best information to make data and processes more efficient and effective.
Given TecAlliance’s global footprint, in North America represented by OptiCat LLC, it can nonetheless serve the needs of unique local markets with product solutions able to accommodate the requirements of local product users, their applications and utilizing whatever data standards are unique to the respective regions. TecAlliance – a leader in standardized data, digital processes and integrated solutions for aftermarkets worldwide.