Discover how easy it is to create your e-commerce solutions for the aftermarket with TecDoc. The Comline Group, a leading company in the spare parts industry, has taken this step and is introducing a TecDoc-based catalogue to set new standards in customer experience.
In our exclusive interview, Mr Leigh Davies, General Manager – Marketing and Communications at Comline Group, reveals the strategy behind adopting TecDoc’s white label solution for their e-catalogue.
Join us and explore Comline’s journey as Mr Davies shares invaluable insights into the company’s accomplishments while navigating the challenges of an ever-evolving aftermarket industry.
Dear Mr Davies, could you tell us about yourself and your business?
Mr Leigh Davies, General Manager – Marketing and Communications at Comline Group. After 10 years with the Comline Group, I more recently took ownership of the Comline Group Data function with the remit of better aligning our parts data with marketing and communications activities.
Comline Auto Parts Ltd., now known as Comline Group, is better known through its three distinct brands – Comline, Allied Nippon and Motaquip. Founded in 1991, Comline Group has over 30 years of aftermarket heritage and expertise that we have harnessed to support customers in over 50 countries worldwide. Through our brands we offer a wide range of spare parts and automotive products for all makes; these include braking, filters, steering and suspension, motor oil and batteries.
What prompted you to choose a TecDoc-based white-label solution for your catalogue needs? What was your goal?
The white-label solution was championed internally by our Catalogue Manager, Bahadar Nagra. Bahadar has over 30 years of automotive industry and has grown up with TecDoc from the very early days. We had a requirement to deliver a reliable, user-friendly e-Catalogue for our customers that could also integrate with our Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP system to provide online ordering and availability. Bahadar set up the product demo with Jason Meade, TecDoc Technical Consultant, and it very quickly became apparent that TecDoc white label was going to be the right solution.
Our organisation has many years of experience working in European markets where the TecDoc Catalogue is widely revered and the market leader. There are many opinions about what makes a great electronic parts catalogue; however, we all know that successfully building such functionality from the ground up is no mean feat. Faced with that prospect, the TecDoc white-label solution provided a working ready-made and highly credible solution.
As a TecDoc ‘Premier Data Supplier’ we are proficient in publishing high-quality data to the TecDoc catalogue. This made it a simple and logical step to choose the TecDoc white-label solution for our own online cataloguing needs.
What positive changes have you experienced since using the white-label solution?
- The first positive change resulted from consolidating into a single system. Now we have a single Comline Group system that provides a solution for each of our brands. Previously we had multiple systems for online cataloguing, each of which required updates, development, and maintenance.
- The ability to integrate the white-label solution with our Microsoft Dynamics 365 system is another major advantage. Previous e-Catalogue solutions only provided parts lookup, but the TecDoc system allows customers to view availability and price and to place their orders directly. This is a major added value that our customers use and appreciate.
- The new B2B e-Catalogue is extremely reliable. When maintaining your own e-Catalogue solutions, outages, technical issues, and downtime are always possibilities. Since launching the TecDoc system, we have found it to be highly reliable. To-date, we have not had a single reliability issue.
Can you share any results that demonstrate the impact of the white-label solution on your business
Through October 2023, five months since launching the TecDoc white-label solution to our first customers, Comline Group has seen over 93K line items ordered with a volume of 214,000 pieces. These came from over 1,100 users in 28 different countries.
83K sessions and 400k page views so far. Notably, we’ve observed a substantial reduction in customer inquiries concerning pricing and stock.
What markets do you cover? How does the white-label solution support you in this?
Many of our customers in the 50 countries we serve are already paid-up users of the TecDoc platform. However, we have provided access to this platform to distribution partners in countries including Barbados, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine, to name but a few.
The platform has been widely implemented in the Spanish market, where our owned subsidiary, Comline Iberica S.L., has completed a full roll-out to their customers. In the Spanish market where TecDoc is widely accepted, the decision to switch to the TecDoc white-label system has been well-received.
How was your experience working with the TecAlliance team during the implementation process
Like all projects of this magnitude, the implementation process wasn’t without its challenges, and integration with our D365 platform gave both the TecAlliance team and our internal developers a few sleepless nights.
However, we were fortunate to have the backing and support of the TecAlliance team, who worked tirelessly to successfully deliver the project on time.
What changes and challenges do you see now in the aftermarket in the UK?
The aftermarket has always been highly competitive and hugely fragmented but, in 2023, it’s arguably more so than ever. Consolidation within the market has had a significant impact on the aftermarket landscape. We will likely see further consolidation in the years ahead that will provide fresh challenges, but also opportunities, for privately owned companies like Comline Group.
The most significant change in the market will be driven by the growth of electric vehicles. Whilst the timeline on EV dominance may have elongated slightly, in the UK for example where the government have pushed back their ban on sales of ICE vehicles to 2035, the growth will undoubtedly continue apace. This will have a dramatic impact on the requirements for certain parts (e.g., filters), whilst increasing the potential service life of others (e.g., brake pads and discs). For companies like Comline Group, it will be crucial to adapt to the changing vehicle parc and develop our product offering to match the market.
Thank you for the conversation!
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