At Sound Press, we are often the middle consultants on various system integrations. With automotive manufacturers, the main systems we end up discussing are ERP systems, Product Information Management systems (PIMs), Digital Asset Management systems (DAMs), and e-commerce platforms both B2B and B2C. Let’s talk about ERP systems.
As manufacturers have business goals, technology is obviously a big part of those discussions. Sometimes the issues and factors for success come down to what is possible with current ERP systems. We’ve seen stand-alone systems with literally no cloud or web web service capabilities, and we’ve seen elegant ERP systems all cloud and web-based. One aspect of technical elegance is the level of API integration that is possible with ERP systems. API stands for Application Programming Interface and allows software to talk to software. When it comes to doing Integrations, the API capabilities often become either a constraint on success or an enablement of success. For example, one client wanted a B2C order to be delivered from the B2C platform into the ERP for processing, and then back from the ERP to notify the customer of shipment and tracking through the B2C platform. While this might seem reasonable, and expected, this is not always turnkey, or built-in, or direct integration. Another example is when manufacturers live in what we call “Excel Hell” and Sound Press is tasked with building a middleware to handle a data exchange passing back and forth. We have to build those middleware pieces when system APIs either don’t exist or don’t allow such data exchange.
All that to say, for automotive manufacturers looking to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, implementing or upgrading to a more fully-featured, modern ERP system is a must. With a quality ERP system, manufacturers can gain a competitive advantage by optimizing their supply chain, enhancing production planning and control, and improving communication and collaboration across departments.
Investing in an ERP system is a smart business decision that can lead to significant cost savings and increased profitability over time. By providing real-time data and insights into all aspects of the business, an ERP system can help manufacturers make informed decisions that drive productivity and growth. Additionally, with the ability to automate and streamline many of the manual processes that are inherent in the automotive manufacturing industry, an ERP system can help manufacturers save time and reduce errors, freeing up resources to focus on innovation and growth.
An outdated or inefficient system can hold your business back. Upgrading to a modern ERP system can help you stay ahead of the competition, optimize your supply chain, and improve your overall business performance. Whether you are a small manufacturer just getting started or a large enterprise looking to streamline your operations, an ERP system can help you achieve your goals and take your business to the next level.
Sound Press doesn’t sell ERP systems at all, but we have a lot of relationships in that space and understand the basics to be helpful. Sound Press is an integrator for many ERP systems. Some of the ones we’ve worked with include CDK, MAM/Kerridge, Epicor, and Karmak. We can help make sure your ERP speaks well to your website or to other internal or external systems, as far as the elegance of the system and APIs make possible, further increasing productivity and reducing manual data entry or additional labor costs.
Contact us if we can help on this topic of ERP and systems integrations. We’ve built a lot of custom ERP and system integrations through the years and are glad to talk.
The Mergers and Acquisitions space is super active in automotive, with a lot of distributors and large groups expanding operations. Obviously, to be acquired, some are selling, but even distributor groups and companies that are not on an M&A path are expanding operations.
Why are distributors expanding? There are three main reasons for the activities from what we see at Sound Press. Sometimes we just have a client tell us to put a new location on their website, and other times we get involved in detailed discussions around the topic. The first reason we see is the desire to gain market share and expand a serviceable geographic footprint. As competition and saturation issues begin crowding the area a distributor has, progressive distributors are choosing to expand as a way to gain market share. And if they don’t, it’s possible some competitor might.
The second reason why we see distributors expanding operations is timing of market conditions. In real estate, finding a great location to expand into is becoming increasingly difficult. Either building a facility from the ground up, or purchase an existing warehouse and build it out to suit, both scenarios require a great location that will facilitate increased business, not suck the life out of the mother ship.
The third reason we see expanding operations for distributors has to do with the growth goals of the company and future exit or succession planning. Often we see a capital expense increase a multiple in valuation as owners and ownerships groups look to a future exit strategy of possibly selling, being acquired, or succession planning.
Expanding operations has to make sense for distributors though. So if you or your company are thinking about it, consider the path of growth in guards to gaining market share, timing and real estate conditions in your area, and the future plans of the company. If we can help with any conversations or planning on this, give us a call. It could be as simple as adding a location to your website, or creating and executing a marketing sales strategy, or connecting you to site selection firms, business valuation firms and market research.
It’s good to know we are a part of a vibrant growing industry, and it’s good to know some numbers. Auto Care just released a report saying the Auto Care Industry is expected to grow over 8% in 2023, and reach $574B in 2026. Click the article link to read it on AutoCare’s website.
For over 19 years, Sound Press and WHI have been at the forefront of transforming the automotive industry’s digital landscape through their long-standing partnership. Together, they have consistently delivered powerful B2B and B2C eCommerce solutions, enabling businesses to thrive in the increasingly competitive online marketplace.
Sound Press, a pioneer in professional marketing services and automotive eCommerce solutions, has been driving innovation and growth for automotive businesses since its inception. With their deep industry knowledge and technical expertise, Sound Press has continuously provided cutting-edge technologies and digital strategies that have helped automotive companies stay ahead of the curve.
WHI Solutions has been a trusted name in B2B solutions and parts catalog data for many years. Their commitment to delivering seamless eCommerce experiences and robust integration capabilities has made them a preferred choice for automotive distributors and manufacturers looking to enhance their online presence.
WHI’s industry-leading Nexpart eCommerce solution is a technological foundation on which Sound Press can help partner with distributors to grow through marketing digital strategy. The integration of Nexpart has allowed businesses to seamlessly manage their catalogs, provide real-time inventory visibility, and automate order processing. This synergy has significantly improved operational efficiency for B2B buyers, resulting in faster transactions and increased customer satisfaction. Sound Press comes alongside distributors to provide their Hometab marketing sites solution within the Nexpart eCommerce framework, as well as providing catalog data services for the non-application catalog.
The partnership’s impact extends beyond B2B eCommerce, with a strong emphasis on B2C solutions as well. Sound Press has excelled in creating visually appealing eCommerce websites, implementing effective digital marketing strategies, and optimizing customer engagement. By integrating WHI’s industry-leading catalog data with Sound Press’s digital marketing and website development services, businesses have been able to offer personalized product recommendations, implement targeted marketing campaigns, and provide a seamless checkout process. This integration has proven instrumental in driving customer acquisition, retention, and overall sales growth in the B2C segment. Good data drives traffic via Search Engine Optimization, as well as better conversion rates when customers can feel confident they are getting the right part for the right job.
As the automotive industry continues to embrace digital transformation, Sound Press and WHI are well-positioned to guide businesses through the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape. With their proven track record, deep industry knowledge, and a strong partnership built on trust and collaboration, they remain at the forefront of empowering automotive companies to succeed in the digital age.
Joe Carella has worked for Sound Press since 2014, serving as one of the key account directors to our automotive clients. Having worked in digital marketing, website management, and project management for over 10 years, Joe helps maintain our automotive Hometab websites (B2B eCommerce websites) and assists clients with monthly and quarterly marketing initiatives. He also manages website builds for Sound Press’ corporate and non-profit clients.
Joe lives in Cincinnati, OH with his wife and 2 daughters and enjoys biking and making music on the guitar and mandolin.