OptiCat's Award-Winning Load Sheets
Oct. 19, 2020—At the end of September, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association hosted its Technology Conference where it announced the winner of the first-ever ATC Technology Innovation award.
Aftermarket Technology Corporation, or ATC, is a leading developer in innovative medical device and diagnostic solutions, and is spearheading the effort to drive innovation in business technology with the presentation of their first annual award.
ADAPT talked with this year’s award winner to learn about the product, the niche it fulfills, and what it means to them to be the first recipient of this honor.
Bryan Thueson, vice president of OptiCat, says the idea for their product spawned from a plethora of requests from suppliers, who came to OptiCat asking for their help in addressing a “pain point” in the industry. OptiCat’s mission is simple—to help suppliers sell more parts—but the process of requesting parts left a lot of fields unchecked, literally.
This is where the idea for OptiCat’s Load Sheets was planted.
“Many times there is something unique to each receiver and that's why we developed these Load Sheets to accommodate unique receiver requirements,” says Don McEntee, director of sales and marketing at OptiCat.
“We named it Load Sheets because most distributors have a process to load new parts numbers into their system,” says McEntee.
OptiCat’s Load Sheet sends as a single file and allows a supplier to provide its receiver with unique data fields that would otherwise have to be entered manually.
At its simplest form, OptiCat’s Load Sheets are templates for suppliers to put data into their systems. From there, “[OptiCat] match[es] the unique field from the supplier to the specific receiver, so when the receiver gets the the file from the OptiCat repository, it includes all their required data” McEntee explains.
For example, your shop has 1,000 different distributors and each one of them has something unique to them, he says. “It’s challenging to develop a standard to accommodate each.”
The current Auto Care Association industry standards, Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) and Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES), are exceptional standards that have critical information for everyone, McEntee says.
“We are strong supporters of these standards,” he says, and that’s why Load Sheets operates in conjunction with the PIES standard.
According to McEntee, OptiCat’s goal is to help suppliers sell more parts while making the process as simple and efficient as possible. By addressing a source of headaches in the industry, he believes they have accomplished that with their most recent product.
McEntee says it was an enormous honor to even be nominated, especially in the award’s first year.
“It means, obviously, that the association and their team recognize the value that we bring the supplier community and the distributor community,” he says. “To be the first recipient, that’s a nice accolade.”
Image: Courtesy of OptiCat