Tackling PIES and ACES Automotive Standards with PIM and MDM

By Kerry Young on Nov 15, 2017

Here at EnterWorks, we talk a lot about driving digital transformation with a Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) platform. There is one industry that takes this “drive” to a literal level—the automotive industry. With thousands of products available through a variety of channels, it’s no surprise that a new era of auto parts standards was needed.

And so, the Auto Care Association (ACA) stepped in to help master this mountain of auto parts data with two important standards: the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) and the Aftermarket Catalog Enhanced Standard (ACES). Let’s take a quick look at:

  • Understanding the scope and use of the standards
  • How you can get your data aligned for PIES, ACES, and beyond

PIES and ACES Standards Explained

The automotive industry has undergone a revolution. Now, everyone from in-store clerks to installers and even hobbyists demand easy access to in-depth information about parts.

To be competitive in this crowded and evolving marketplace, companies must provide specific data, digital assets, and other valuable marketing materials. This level of content helps demonstrate the quality of their products and services. Auto standards help those in the automotive industry, like manufacturers and sellers, provide this enhanced product data in a cohesive way, while reducing the costs and inefficiencies that result from maintaining multiple data formats.

Ed Heon of DATAgility breaks the primary standards down for us:

“The ACES standard defines vehicle configurations, enabling part applications for light duty on-road vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles). Most aftermarket resellers (distributors and retailers) utilize ACES as the basis for part-to-vehicle selection.

“PIES is more universally used for all vehicle parts and components, also utilized by the heavy duty (truck) segment, off-road vehicles, etc. PIES would be useful to suppliers for all products, whereas ACES would be applied to the light duty vehicles they service.

“It is also interesting to note that the likes of Amazon and eBay are fully ACES and PIES compliant for those related categories and require this from their auto parts suppliers.”

Heon goes on to explain how these standards control the relationship of marketing copy and digital assets—both vital information areas in today’s digital environment:

“Both ACES and PIES utilize (depend on) the ACA part terminology (aka part type) categorization. It controls the relationship of market copy and digital assets to parts, and from parts to vehicle applications. There are more than 20,000 part types, structured by category and sub-category and further specified by vehicle position (e.g., multi-purpose light bulb used in several places).

“And then there is the PAdb (part attribute database). This is a huge ACA undertaking that assigns standardized physical and performance attribute labels to most of the part types.

“Alternative formats such as NAPA and TecDoc, as well as supplements to the industry standards like those of Advance Auto, are often accommodated by third-party conversions from ACES and PIES.”

With several industry standards in place, the aftermarket must ensure that their data meets the requirements for each. This can be a tall task for those who lack a centralized “single view” of product information, assets and data.

Getting Your Data In Order for ACA PIES, ACES, and Beyond

A PIM/MDM solution helps automotive companies ensure overall data quality and accuracy, along with adherence to standards. Operations, costs, and efficiencies are greatly improved through streamlined workflows. Users can also engage better with customers and trading partners by using clean, accurate, and compelling information, content, and assets.

To read a case study on how the advanced, flexible EnterWorks PIM/MDM platform has helped the automotive aftermarket parts industry, click here. And contact us for more information about EnterWorks’ solution for the automotive industry.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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