The AAIA’s (Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association) Aftermarket Catalog Enhanced Standard (ACES) enables suppliers to author, validate and distribute standardized vehicle application data in a readable XML format to their trading partners throughout North America. In turn retailers, wholesalers, and ecommerce companies can consume large amounts of application data (vehicle attributes, parts classification and qualifier statements) into their electronic systems without expensive and time-consuming human translation. The net result for both reseller and supplier is that better (more standardized) data gets to market faster and costs less to publish.
The AAIA updates their ACES Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) on a monthly basis, which is only available by subscription. This update includes any new makes and models entering the aftermarket. It also includes additional research for existing makes and models, as well as changes/corrections to vehicle attributes in the VCdb going back to 1896.
From a supplier’s perspective this means they should validate their parts data against the ACES standard on a monthly basis for any new vehicles entering the aftermarket and to see if any of their data became invalid because of a change. Having standard compliant data limits the amount of undamaged returns coming back to suppliers because of improper fitment. Monthly validation can also identify application holes in a supplier’s data.
Evokat, Illumaware’s online do-it-yourself data authoring and distribution system provides subscribers with a current VCdb every month and automatically validates their data against it. Evokat’s validation identifies and prevents distribution of invalid records and direct conflicts in a subscriber’s database until they can be fixed, which prevent costly delays to market arising from assessment errors and rejected data.
Invalid records stem from a supplier mapping their data to a vehicle configuration that does not exist in the VCdb. Direct Conflicts occur when two different part numbers of the same part type have no differentiating notes or ACES attributes that distinguish one part number from the other. Lost sales occur when a customer can’t decide which part number to buy so they buy a competitor’s part. Application holes can mean lost sales. Countermen can’t sell what they can’t see on their computer screens.
For additional information about ACES visit the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association's website: http://www.aftermarket.org/technology/aces.aspx.