TecDoc is the answer to the question faced by every supplier in the Independent Automotive Aftermarket (IAM): How can I best market my products and sell more parts? This applies to international companies as well as those specialising in a particular area such as remanufacturing.
ERA Benelux is a company that is committed to the circular economy and reducing the environmental impact of the automotive industry by offering high-quality, affordable, and sustainable remanufactured automotive parts. We are speaking with Stefaan Vandenbussche, CEO at ERA Benelux, about remanufacturing, ERA products for the IAM and TecDoc.
Dear Mr Vandenbussche, please introduce ERA Benelux – tell us what you do.
Stefaan Vandenbussche: ERA Benelux is a company that specialises in remanufacturing automotive parts. Remanufacturing involves taking used or worn-out parts, disassembling them, cleaning, and repairing them, and then rebuilding them to meet the original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) standards. ERA remanufactured products are remanufactured with original spare parts.
This process ensures that the remanufactured parts are of high quality and perform just as well as new parts. At the same time, they are more environmentally sustainable because they reduce waste and energy consumption.
What is your product portfolio for the IAM?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: Our product portfolio for the IAM consists mainly of chassis parts like steering racks and pumps, drive shafts, and brake calipers. By offering remanufactured parts, we provide affordable alternatives that are of high quality and meet OEM standards.
In addition to offering a cost-effective and sustainable solution for customers, we offer a range of services to support our products, such as technical support and training. These services ensure that customers receive the best possible support and assistance when using ERA Benelux’s remanufactured parts.
Why did you choose to appear in TecDoc?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: ERA Benelux published its first data in TecDoc in April 2005. At the time, TecDoc was not widely used in the Benelux region. However, we recognised the importance of having a presence in TecDoc due to its widespread use and its status as a standard in Germany. Many German companies required a TecDoc presence, which, of course, influenced our decision to join TecDoc.
Because we wanted to expand our business, it was essential to be in TecDoc-derived catalogues throughout Europe. Through TecDoc, we have made it easy for customers across Europe to identify and access remanufactured parts.
Do you use other TecAlliance solutions? Could you share your experience with us?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: Yes, we use several solutions. One year after joining the TecDoc ecosystem, we joined TecCom to expand our sales channels and streamline our order processing. We have a successful ordering system in place, whether it is via Order Manager or integrated systems – the customers receive orders and invoices in a timely manner.
Further on, we licensed the TecDoc White-Label Solution (B2B WebShop) to promote our portfolio and be present in e-commerce. As it comes with an integrated TecCom e-commerce feature, we spared additional investments and made use of the synergies TecAlliance provides. Both systems are linked on our website. Important for us is that TecCom integration enables us to also connect to wholesale/distribution systems seamlessly.
Being present in TecDoc and enabling ordering via TecCom helped us increase our visibility and accessibility for potential customers, ultimately leading to closing more sales.
Now we could answer “YES” to both questions – “Are you present in TecDoc?” and “Can we order via TecCom?” This allows our customers to search for our products, check availability and prices, and place orders, reducing the time and effort required to procure parts.
We are also planning to implement a digital invoicing solution, TecCom e-Invoicing, to simplify and automate the invoicing process.
What are your customers’ requirements and expectations for your products and the product data in the IAM?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: Customers often overlook the amount of work that goes into building catalogue data. They, therefore, expect nothing less than an easy and unambiguous way to find the specific part they are looking for. Not only the standard criteria provided by TecDoc are helpful, but the quality of our data is equally important. Customers want to be able to quickly identify the right part without having to choose between several similar part numbers. They only want one part, the right part.
The TecDoc DQM (Data Quality Management) initiative is focused on improving product data by achieving KPIs and meeting strict requirements. Do you see value in this for you and your customers?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: Absolutely! In the past, many customers complained about the number of criteria that did not even belong to a specific product group. With DQM, this is all changing. Customers now know that a PDS (Premier Data Supplier) follows the rules. Then they can make criteria selections to get the part number offered by their preferred PDS supplier.
What was your way to PDS? Where was your focus?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: Everywhere we only want the maximum. Even before PDS, when only CDS (Certified Data Supplier) existed, we aimed for 100% error-free data, which we achieved in the first year of operation in 2005. We have maintained this level of quality ever since. The TecAlliance team has supported us. Throughout the years, the service provided by the different support teams has been on a high level. However, we do feel that highlighting and spotlighting PDS suppliers could be improved.
The DQM user groups mention that all developments must consider not only the needs of the industry but also those of the trade. How important is the feedback from wholesalers/ distributors to you?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: Any feedback is welcome and can help us improve the catalogue. However, we noticed that the SRS (Specialist Reporting System) system is very rarely used to report mistakes. We encourage our customers to use the SRS because it is a valuable way to get feedback. It helps us to maintain the high quality of our data.
What is ERA Benelux’s commitment to the future?
Stefaan Vandenbussche: ERA Benelux is a company that is committed to the circular economy. We now recognise that our decision back in 2001 to focus on this concept, with our remanufacturing capabilities as a cornerstone, was the correct one. Although it was dismissed as bringing less quality compared to new parts at the time, the world has changed significantly over the past twenty years. Many large corporations have added a “How green is my supplier” checkbox to their supplier survey. ERA Benelux has always been ticking this box since 2001.
Thank you very much for the interview!