Case Study: Switching From In-House Cataloging to ShowMeTheParts

At Vertical Development, we take great pride in getting to know and understand customer needs or pain points as we help guide them to solutions that better meet their current needs. Most customers have some form of online cataloging in place, but they turn to us for help taking product lookup to the next level.

This was exactly the case of a recent installation for Sunsong North America, Inc. as they transitioned from an in-house solution to ShowMeTheParts. Sunsong North America is a technology company specializing in research, development, manufacturing, sales, and distribution of automotive fluid transfer hoses and lines.

We caught up with Dan Lewis, Director of Product Management for Sunsong North America, Inc., to discuss how implementation of ShowMeTheParts cataloging has positively impacted business.

Before Using ShowMeTheParts

Prior to using ShowMeTheParts, Sunsong was using an in-house solution created in 2014 by their IT department.

“It was an OK catalog, but it had some deficiencies in that it was very simplistic. You would put in year/make/model and it would pull up everything from brake hoses to power steering hoses. You couldn’t filter on just the part type or front vs rear. It just brought up everything.”

Another shortcoming of the existing lookup tool was you couldn’t select specific attributes like “with or without ABS brakes” to accurately narrow down your product choice. It also would provide a list of part numbers, but it wouldn’t show the pictures for each part. Each of these limitations combined to make it very time consuming at times to find parts.

While the in-house lookup tool was useful to search for OE interchanges, Dan and the team at Sunsong felt an improved search tool would be good for business. The in-house solution hadn’t been updated since its launch and alongside the launch of their new website; they began looking for solutions to upgrade their online cataloging.

Selecting a Replacement Solution

Sunsong wanted to ensure the new lookup process was easy to use, accurate, and displayed information in an intuitive way. They also needed to move quickly and had heard that Vertical Development had helped other companies get up and running in a short time-period.

Specialty Application Search

Sunsong offers bulk hose and end fittings in a range of sizes and needed a search tool that would help customers find these products that people might not lookup via application.  This feature allows customers to look up by diameter and length to determine the proper number to order.

Attribute Search

They also have customers call in frequently for special applications like a brake hose assembly that is several inches longer than the original hose because they added a lift kit to their truck.

“ShowMeTheParts came up with a “Attribute Search” feature where you could go in and say ‘I want to select a category such as brake hoses hose’ and input fitting size, type and overall length’” resulting in a list of hoses that meets those parameters. Lewis highlighted. “This gives people an easy way to find parts when everything isn’t by application.”

By creating a way to quickly find these items using key attributes, customers can quickly find what they need for customized applications. This custom feature puts the tool directly into the customer’s hands vs having to call Customer Service or a Product Manager to manually do research through a series of spreadsheets or diagrams.

Additional Advantages

While the “Specialty Application” search upgrade was significant, it’s not the only advantage Sunsong has realized since switching to ShowMeTheParts.

Search by Engine Size

One new feature that wasn’t capable with the in-house solution is to narrow search by engine size. This is particularly important for Power Steering and A.C. Hose Assemblies that can greatly vary by engine size.

360° Images

More robust 360° images really give customers a great way to see all aspects of a part.

Time Savings

Since switching to ShowMeTheParts, the improved search functionality saves considerable time. Users are able to quickly enter key attributes that narrow down results, eliminating confusion or ordering errors.

“Now, you can see pictures of all results in a row” Lewis shared. “You don’t have to go back and key in other numbers. Simply scroll through and see all the images and options listed for the vehicle and narrow it down by selecting the position to see what options are presented. It’s dramatically faster.”

Working with Vertical Development

We finished up our chat by asking Dan what it was like working with Vertical Development.

“I can’t imagine working with someone that doesn’t know the parts business,” Lewis said with a laugh. “That would be a nightmare.

“You absolutely have to have a company working with you that knows the parts business and knows cataloging. Working with Vertical Development is so much easier because they know what they are doing and they’ve done hundreds of these things.

“You don’t have to explain a whole lot as they just know how to do it. They ask you key questions and then it’s done. If you see something that isn’t quite right, then you let them know and it gets fixed.

“It’s very easy working with Vertical Development because of their background experience and how many ShowMeTheParts implementations they’ve done.”

Final Thoughts

It was great to catch up with Dan and we appreciate him sharing the key benefits and features that have helped make Sunsong’s ShowMeTheParts installation a success.

If you are in a similar situation and would like to explore the ways Vertical Development can help your company upgrade its cataloging efforts, reach out to our sales team to start a conversation.