The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association announced that it has become a major shareholder in OptiCat LLC, the automotive aftermarket’s first supplier-owned electronic parts catalog data aggregator. Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, MEMA’s affiliate association that exclusively represents North American aftermarket parts manufacturers, will oversee MEMA’s ownership in OptiCat. MEMA joins U.S.-based MindQuest and Europe’s TecDoc Information Systems as OptiCat shareholders.
“MEMA, through its affiliate association AASA, is the only association dedicated to North American aftermarket suppliers, therefore an equity position in OptiCat is strategic,” says Bob McKenna, president and chief executive officer of MEMA. “We believe, with our members’ support, OptiCat can implement a much more efficient data flow model for the aftermarket that will result in increased profitability for everyone. As a shareholder and board member, we will represent our members’ interests in this important technology initiative, and improve the quality and timeliness of catalog and product information data.”
Aftermarket manufacturers are working together through OptiCat to deliver a consolidated data feed for reseller electronic parts catalog requirements. OptiCat’s data bank enables resellers to use a single source for timely and critical product and application information necessary for selling aftermarket parts.
“AASA’s equity stake is fundamental to the success of OptiCat’s electronic parts catalog data repository,” says Steve Handschuh, president and chief operating officer of AASA. “The model is without doubt the most efficient one to maximize sales and profits. We look forward to the opportunity to share this vision with our members and their customers, and we encourage all suppliers and their data receivers to join the OptiCat program.”
“There are too many redundant processes in today’s data distribution model resulting in lost sales and unnecessary costs for every channel member,” says Brad Duncan, general manager of OptiCat. “The North American data model is ‘many-to-many.’ Our shareholder, TecDoc, a supplier-owned data cooperative in Europe, has proven that a ‘one-to-many’ model is much more efficient. OptiCat will emulate TecDoc’s success.”
Uli Zehnpfenning, CEO of TecDoc, says their success in Europe is a direct result of aftermarket suppliers taking direct control of the creation, validation and distribution of their intellectual data property. “We welcome MEMA’s investment and look forward to working hand-in-hand through OptiCat to bring a similar model to North America,” Zehnpfenning says.