Part 2: Interactive spare parts catalog - an end to manual data

Published: 2022-02-28 Updated: 2023-11-10
Subject: Identifying spare parts Selling spare parts Ordering spare parts Tools and technology Creating spare parts catalogs

PDF and print catalogs reach their limits at the latest when a catalog needs to be updated or published in several languages. An interactive spare parts catalog can reduce the workload for manufacturers and operators of machines and systems - but can it really save time?

Barriers of conventional spare parts catalogs

When creating and publishing spare parts catalogs for their machines and systems, manufacturers face the same challenges time and again. Particularly critical are the issues of data, timeliness and efficiency.

The problem is that the information for spare parts often comes from different sources. In analog spare parts catalogs, data does come together centrally. However, there is no link to backend systems such as ERP or PDM. If catalogs are not published online, but as PDFs or printed copies, it is almost impossible to update the data. Operators therefore do not always have access to up-to-date spare parts information everywhere.

In the following, we highlight the biggest challenges in creating and publishing spare parts catalogs and clarify whether the introduction of an interactive spare parts catalog can overcome these hurdles.

Challenge 1: Dispersed data

A spare parts catalog thrives on data. The biggest hurdle in catalog creation is bringing together all the information needed from different sources:

  • When collating data, catalog creators rely on input from different departments.
  • Today, company data is often not yet available centrally, but distributed across countless computers, servers and data carriers.
  • Especially when data is supplied incompletely, the creation of catalogs is delayed.
  • If the creator is also facing a deadline because the service technician urgently needs the data, catalog creation quickly becomes a real ordeal.

How to manage your data in the digital spare parts catalog

If your company data is maintained in different systems and fed from different sources, this is no problem for modern catalog software:

  • All relevant data for creating the catalog is consolidated and structured in a central location in a data pool.
  • Data transfer is not just one-way: all data that flows into the spare parts catalog is linked bidirectionally.
  • The final result is immediately visible. If necessary, data can be manually reprocessed immediately.

The spare parts catalog thus becomes a "single source of truth" and can be supplemented with technical documents, circuit diagrams and drawings if desired.

Challenge 2: Outdated content

Once a catalog has been created and published, the data must be kept up-to-date. After all, technicians and service staff who work with the spare parts catalog can only solve the problems of their customers or their employer with correct and up-to-date information.

With spare parts catalogs in PDF or print format, however, updates are costly and time-consuming.

Particularly critical: If a spare parts catalog is required in different languages, a separate catalog is usually created for each medium and language. This increases the effort required for updates many times over.

Updating with just a few clicks

An interactive spare parts catalog makes it possible to publish all relevant information from one system to different media and even adapt it for different users. If the data in the source system changes, the digital spare parts catalog can be updated automatically.

Adjustments can be made centrally for all media. Redundant, incorrect and unnecessary information is thus a thing of the past, and the effort required for updates is reduced to a minimum. As a result, the quality of your service documentation improves.

Challenge 3: Lack of efficiency

Manual spare parts catalogs are no longer up to date. They are prone to errors and do not offer the functionalities that service technicians and machine and plant operators need for their work today.

Above all, they cost manufacturers a lot of time and nerves. Even if experienced employees can create a manual spare parts catalog in no time at all, making adjustments to graphics or collecting data can drag out the process.

Create and publish at the touch of a button

Catalog creation processes that can take hours or weeks can be shortened to just a few minutes with digital help. Catalog software gives you more time for your core business through efficient creation and maintenance processes.

The efficiency advantage is not limited to the creation process. Publishing also becomes easier: With catalog software, you can publish your spare parts catalog online on the Internet and intranet or on modern data carriers such as USB.

Paper catalogs can also be published automatically and almost at the push of a button. You can even generate an Internet catalog from an existing catalog.

Save time and effort with the interactive spare parts catalog

Digital spare parts catalogs bring numerous efficiency benefits and increase the transparency of spare parts information. This makes operators' work easier and allows them to offer even better service.

Operators and service technicians also benefit from digital spare parts catalogs. They receive exactly the information they need and can rely on it being up-to-date. If the spare parts catalog is linked to a web store, not only identifying but also ordering spare parts becomes child's play.

The changeover from analog to digital spare parts catalogs is completed in just 4 steps. The quick start ensures that better results can be achieved immediately.

Manufacturers and operators of machines and systems who previously created spare parts catalogs manually can finally leave tedious work steps behind. This gives them time to focus on their core tasks, further digitize service or realize new business models.