Case Study: 7 Key Benefits Alto Products Corp. Has Gained Using Vertical Development
We recently caught up for a chat with David Landa, President of Alto Products Corp. (Alto), to discuss how Vertical Development’s Vcat and ShowMeTheParts products continue to help his business grow and evolve.
Alto is a manufacturer of automatic transmission parts, components, and clutch plates for Automotive, Heavy Duty, Marine and Motorcycle markets.
Before switching to our solutions, Alto had to rely on traditional paper catalogs and a PDF catalog that was updated 2-3 times per year for parts lookup verification.
“We had a paper catalog, which was converted into a PDF for online use. You could do a Control + F and find stuff, but it wasn’t ideal.”
It’s important to note that in the Heavy Duty and Specialty markets, using year, make and model lookup attributes doesn’t always work well because there is no standardization of parts by vehicle. For example, in the HD Market, you need to know what transmission is in the vehicle, because that transmission typically fits multiple vehicle platforms.
Benefit #1: One Database—A Single Source of Truth
One headache that Alto was looking to eliminate was the need to maintain two separate databases—one for their printed catalog and another for their ShowMeTheParts online catalog.
“Now, we’ve consolidated nicely into one database and going forward it’s going to make our life a lot easier. It saves us a lot of headaches of not having to update two databases at the same time.”
This single source of information provides both customers and staff with the most recent and accurate information on each of Alto’s 10k+ SKUs.
Benefit #2: Ease of Updates
While getting all of the information into one database is the first step, keeping that information up to date is the next hurdle. This is especially important for Alto as new products or product updates need to be made at least every other month, and sometimes monthly.
“With ShowMeTheParts, if you want to update the catalog every month, you snap your fingers and it’s done. You just upload the data and you’re good to go. It’s just so simple.”
Benefit #3: Reduced Time to Identify Products
Before Vertical Development, Alto customers had to either flip through the printed or digital catalog or call customer service for help finding parts.
Internally, part identification was also creating a logjam as customer service reps would need to forward pictures and details of products customers were looking for to the engineering department. There, engineers would spend a lot of time digging through their internal database to identify the part.
Even when things went well, it was a slow process.
Now, they can go online to view images, specs, dimensions and more to accurately verify what they need. They also can also get more detailed product spec sheets and other key data.
“Our sales team is able to jump on a call with customers to explain how to use the tools and they love it. They’re just super easy to use.”
And even when customers call in for help, customer service reps can use the software to identify parts while the customer is still on the phone.
Benefit #4: Product Attribute Search
A key feature reducing the time needed to identify products is the product attribute search.
“If a customer has a particular clutch, they can enter a few attributes like ‘it’s 10 inches and has 14 splines’ to pull up a list of what it might be, with each additional piece of information entered narrowing down the list.”
This has helped save everyone involved a lot of time in parts identification.
Benefit #5: Custom PDF Catalogs
Another key feature that is really well received by both customers and the sales team is the ability to create custom PDF catalogs. In doing so, Alto can provide buyers with simplified versions of the catalog based on the part numbering system they use.
“We have all the interchanges in there, so we can create a completely custom & simplified catalog for a distributor for their specific part numbers.”
For example, Alto can provide a customer who is a Volkswagen specialist a PDF catalog with the customer’s part number, as well as the Volkswagen OE numbers.
“We inventory well over 10k items, but a customer may only have a narrow focus of 500 products or less. Now, we can produce a catalog just for them.”
Benefit #6: Cost-Saving Measures
“If you’re saving time, you’re making money,” Landa highlighted in our chat.
By keeping product identification out of the engineering department, Alto has greatly reduced the cost of each part lookup. This also frees up the engineers to focus on their R&D projects.
Not only are there internal cost-savings, but these extend to customers as well. By simplifying the search process, Alto can save customers valuable time as well.
Finally, there is no need to print catalogs which Landa highlights are “expensive and cumbersome.”
Benefit #7: Easy Language Translation
One project Alto will be working on in 2022 will be production of their online catalog in Spanish. This will be a really big benefit for their Mexico and South American markets.
Now that all of data in in place, they will simply need to update descriptions and a few other pieces of information to Spanish and they will be ready for launch.
Vertical Development vs The Competition
Finally, we chatted with David to get feedback on what it’s been like working with Vertical Development and what other options they had considered.
In their initial research for online cataloging support, Alto found most companies are geared towards much bigger companies and require a much larger investment.
“This was affordable and very easy to ramp up and launch. I was thrilled to find Vertical Development.”