Ford Motor Company implemented the Enigma 3C Electronic Parts Catalog (EPC) to more effectively distribute parts information to its dealer network. This allowed Ford to reduce the cost of EPC production, eliminate delays when issuing updates, decrease parts mis-orders and improve service bay productivity at Ford dealerships.
Ford has large volumes of service and parts data for vehicle models dating back to the 1980s. The company needed a more effective way to distribute updated parts and service information to its dealer network, and wanted to increase its OEM-branded parts sales and improve service bay productivity by making it easier for dealers to identify and order parts.
Ford chose the Enigma Electronic Parts Catalog, a browser-based parts information system that sits at the heart of Ford Catalog Advantage (FCA), Ford Motor Company’s Genuine Parts Catalog. Up and running in only ten months, the solution provides up-to-date parts information to more than 1,800 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships in North America for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury passenger cars and light trucks, Ford medium duty trucks and Blue Diamond built trucks.
Ford Catalog Advantage is an interactive EPC that allows dealership parts managers to enter a vehicle identification number (VIN), Ford Service number, Motorcraft number, or other key identifier such as model, model-year and trim package to view a parts catalog that is tailor-made for the customer vehicle being serviced. Drawing from more than 20GB of VIN and parts information, FCA shows dealers any closely-related parts, parts kits and supersessions, ensuring that parts managers and technicians have complete information for service and repairs.
FCA is linked into the Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) applications including the Dealer-to-Dealer (D2D) parts location solution. This allows a dealer’s parts managers to track the latest part requirements and to check inventory availability. In addition, FCA integrates with dozens of Dealer Management Systems (DMS) enabling users to view inventory, pricing and transmit parts orders directly to the DMS without leaving the parts catalog.
Enigma simplifies the parts selection and procurement process, which decreases incorrect part orders. In a Logistics Leaders magazine article, Joseph Cavicchiolo, Catalog/Publication Systems Support Manager of the Ford Customer Service Division, says the catalog, which is updated weekly, enables the dealer to identify the correct part to place an order. “If the dealer enters a vehicle identification number (VIN), the system would display only parts for that VIN,” he says. “We save on logistics costs because the dealer does not end up paying for overnight shipping for an incorrect part.”
The Enigma-Ford application is available via the Web, LAN and as a standalone/laptop application, with full print-on-demand capability. Other features include visual navigation tools, customizable user settings for access control and user management, bi-directional linking of parts and illustrations and advanced shopping cart functionality.
Ford Catalog Advantage is part of the Ford plan to help dealerships improve efficiency and accelerate parts counter and service bay activities. Enigma’s technology provides significant cost-reductions, improved accuracy and faster updates. Rather than sending out new DVDs, like some OEMs, Ford provides incremental revisions to FCA online, which reduces the time to get new information to the dealers from as much as eight weeks to one week or less.
During the first five years of operation the Enigma EPC significantly improved data accuracy, which decreased incorrect part orders and improved procurement and inventory processes for dealers. One of the key elements of the implementation is the integration of FCA with Ford’s PTS service information system, which connects the dealership service bay and parts manager desk. This enables dealerships to not only improve the parts requisition process but also increase service bay productivity.
Ford anticipates that FCA will help increase service parts sales, and recently renewed the Enigma contract based on feedback from dealers, who reported fewer parts mis-orders, faster service and increased customer satisfaction. Ford received the following testimonials from some of its dealers:
“[FCA] is one of the best tools I’ve seen come out in a long time. It really is beneficial to the dealership for customer satisfaction.” — Tim Worthington, General Service Director, Hines Park Lincoln
“The integration [of FCA and Ford's Workshop Manuals] has in fact helped the relationship between our parts department and technicians… As our technicians use this tool more often their efficiency will improve by eliminating any wasted time looking at pictures in the parts department; they will be able to spend more time in their stalls working on vehicles!” — Paul Cole, Service Director, Santa Margarita Ford
“[With FCA] parts are scrubbed against the VIN number, so we don’t have as many returned parts, and the technician doesn’t end up waiting for a part that may be wrong. It saves us time, it saves the technician time, and ultimately it saves the customer time.” — Dan Barr, Parts Manager, Hines Park Lincoln
“[FCA] makes life a lot easier and can make you money in the long run. This system probably saves me an hour a day.” — Scott Stern, Drivability Technician, Hines Park Lincoln
"[With FCA] parts are scrubbed against the VIN number, so we don’t have as many returned parts, and the technician doesn’t end up waiting for a part that may be wrong. It saves us time, it saves the technician time, and ultimately it saves the customer time.”
— Dan Barr, Parts Manager, Hines Park Lincoln