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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Understanding WORLDPAC’s Product Philosophy

Understanding WORLDPAC’s Product Philosophy
by Jim Phillips

There’s no question a key support element to running a successful shop is product quality and availability. In fact, topping the list of industry surveys of independent shops for as many years as I can remember is product quality and availability. At WORLDPAC we understand that and have committed ourselves to the edict “the Right Part at the Right Time”. We also understand how well we live up to these words will be reflected in the actions of our customers.

To understand our product philosophy is to know the recipe. Our product strategy team (each a car line specialists) is dedicated to be first to market in developing and cataloging new product. Our purchasing team is committed to global sourcing the OE/OEM part from the original mfg, not from a middleman or another distributor. We buy our product part number by part number using sophisticated systems, something we call SKU management. Others will buy a cooling system program. At WORLDPAC, we buy each water pump, radiator, hose, belt, stat, etc. from the manufacturer who made it under contract to the car mfg, not from a company that sacrifices OE quality for full line convenience. That is a service we provide our customers. The recipe is fairly simple. The investigation, formulation, preparation, documentation, sampling, monitoring and refinement is a bit more tricky.

The Simple Recipe

WORLDPAC stocks over 100,000 parts for 26 car lines both foreign and domestic. The sweet spot for active development are for cars 15 years and newer. We are committed to have extensive product coverage for even brand new vehicles long before the shop typically has a call. We do have extensive coverage for older cars, but our new product development is our forte. We are focused on a few hundred product classes for each car line, ranging from ABS sensors to Zenon lights. As each new model is introduced, our team is quick to populate each product class for that specific model, catalog the new items, and start the quest of identifying the original manufacturer of the item.

Finding the OE Part

As you know the car manufacturers don’t make parts. For the most part, car companies build cars from parts they buy from part manufacturers like BOSCH, DENSO, Delphi, and hundreds of others. Additionally, the car OEMs will award contracts to multiple part vendors for the same production run often documented by VIN or engine number. To complicate the identification process, and add confusion for you in the shop, the Car mfg will often award a contract for a particular part for a particular car to one vendor at a production line assembly in one plant, and another vendor in another plant. Then the car mfg will award a contract to even a different vendor for replacement parts made available at the dealership parts dept. For example purposes, let use a German car brake pad example to illustrate this scenario.

Let assume for example purposes, Mercedes Benz built the 2003 “ML” suv in the US. MB contracts for production line assembly with Textar for front pads for the V8s and Pagid for the 6-cylinders. In the rear, Teves won the contract for all version of the ML. Now fast forward three years and the car comes into your shop needing brakes. Wanting only the exact OEM part, because you can’t take a chance, you go to the dealer to get the front and rear pads for this 2003 ML 500 that came in this morning. You open the factory MB box and find a Jurid pad manufactured in China with a MB star on the backing plate. Is it original? It’s in a MB box, but it’s not the same as what’s on the car.

The fact is all these parts are OE. They call them OEM (original equipment mfg) if they went on at the assembly line and OES (original equipment service) if you buy them from the dealer. We have been navigating this set of circumstances for years and have processes in place that help us find, buy and catalog these items to give you the choice you need.
To that end, we at WORLDPAC pride ourselves on 30+ years of developing OEM relationships, identifying who has the OE contract with each car manufacturer, cataloging and identifying these products by part mfg so that you can buy exactly the brand, quality and / or price that best meets the needs of your clientele. We give you the choice.

Jim Phillips - Director of Marketing

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