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Get Rid Of Paper Catalogs? No Way!


9/9/2008

 

Thinking of getting rid of paper catalogs? Don’t! They do have a wealth of information that’s not currently being included in the electronic catalogs. Paper catalogs have saved me more than once.

Ken, Murray’s Discount Auto Store, Madison Heights, Mich.

e-CATALOGS CANNOT COMPETE

I’m a 30-year veteran of the parts business and have worked in various capacities, including counter person, truck driver and inventory/stock control person. I’m writing to say that paper catalogs have their place in this business. I’d take a veteran counter person over a Web-savvy counter person any day!

Why? Take a customer who comes into the store with a wheel stud in-hand, but has no idea of what the application is, except that this wheel stud fits their boat trailer. What will our computer-savvy counter person do in this situation? Probably shrug his or her shoulders and look dumbfounded. The experienced counter person will grab their paper catalog and match the wheel stud, thereby saving the sale.

What happens when a store loses power and along with it, the electronic catalog? Do we say “tough luck, we can’t sell parts today”?

I have yet to see any electronic cataloging system show a picture of the exhaust system on any vehicle. How does the counter person know which piece of the exhaust system their customer requires? Again, the paper catalog trumps all because the counter person can point to the component of the system needed by the customer. This leaves a customer satisfied and loyal because someone actually used a visual to demonstrate what they need.

I wouldn’t want to be without paper catalogs as a backup. Please don’t advocate to manufacturers that they should discontinue publishing paper catalogs, because they are one of the tools of my trade, and they make me better than my counterparts who rely on a computer only!

Perhaps the number of paper catalogs a manufacturer prints should be limited, but they shouldn’t be completely done away with.

Raymond D. Welter, ASE Parts Specialist, Checker Auto Parts, Minneapolis, Minn.

  Previous Comments
avatar   Jon Glover   star   4/4/2010   6:18 PM

I think paper catalogs are way better than e-cats. I ghave worked as both a tech. and a counter person as well as a service advisor and paper catalogs are easier when looking for seals, filters, belts. E-ctas are good but only for certian things.



avatar   Richard   star   3/19/2010   4:10 PM

Being a 23 year veteran of the auto parts busniess the paper catalogs are far ,ore valuable than people choose to belive. Im all for the Electronic catalogs but give me a counter full of paper catalogs anyday of the week and ill outsell the electronic catalog guys



avatar   will   star   3/17/2010   3:01 PM

I'm a young guy,only 22yrs old, and I use both e-cats and the paper cats for everything.The e-cats are quicker at finding regular items like filters or belts.The trick with paper cats comes when something like u joints or farm equipment is asked for.The ecat we have at Oreillys doesnt list anything for marine,farm, or motorcycle, so I am constantly using paper cats for those types of things.Paper cats must stay.Being young is no excuse not to know how to use them.



avatar   George   star   1/6/2010   12:12 PM

Its been my experience that people in this business are very traditional folks, and a lot of times more of a blue collar demographics and ive seen how it can be a little scary to jump into an electronic world when a lot of them have never used a computer for more than looking up parts, as the software and user interfaces keep getting fancier and more helpful, i have to say that paper catalogs should not be obsolete but technology is the future and eventually everything gets replaced and it seems to be an inevitable faith for the paper catalogs as well



avatar   Don   star   12/9/2009   2:51 PM

the problem of transferring paper cats to disks for the computer is whoever does the transfer usually doesn't know the front of his vehicle from the back. they may leave important information out ie. footnotes



avatar   carlton hanshaw   star   12/9/2009   12:34 PM

i perfer a person with catalog exp over computer expany day, u can not get rid of paper catalogs u just cant. dont care how u slice tice it or what ever, u have to have them



avatar   RONNIE   star   11/23/2009   3:14 PM

I AGREE THAT PAPER CATS, ARE A VERY GOOD OPTION, BUT NONE THE LESS A BIG WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO TRANSFER THE SAME INFORMATION WITH BETTER DIAGRAMS AND INFORMATION TO A E-CAT TYPE FORM. PLUS THE EXPENSE OF THE PAPER CATALOG, THE TIME IT TAKES TO MAKE THEM AND UPDATE THEM CAN EASILY BE DONE TO AN E-CAT FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENT. MAKE THE PAPER CATALOGS BETTER OR PUT THEM IN THE BURN PILE WITH THE REST OF THE CLUTTER.



avatar   Bob   star   11/9/2009   4:15 PM

Ideally you shoud be compitent and comfortable with both. The quicker and mre efficient you can find the RIGHT part the better.



avatar   henry wells   star   11/2/2009   6:33 PM

i agree with everybody.i been in parts for 28 years.computer will never take the place of catalogs.not looking something in catalogs if u have too is lazy.i have some young guys at oreilly who do not know how to look up anything in a catalog.then they come to me for help.



avatar   Morgan Chester   star   8/14/2009   5:15 PM

I am a huge advocate of paper catalogs. i can not even count how many sales i have made because of them and to me it doesn't matter if its a lug nut or a mass air flow sensor. the hardest part is finding the right one for your needs!



avatar   mark s gundling   star   7/9/2009   3:47 PM

i been doing parts counter sales for least 7 yrs. 2yrs @ O REILLY AUTO PATRTS an i use the catalogs maybe 85% of time but we need those catalogs cause they are very useful on exhaust systems u joints suspension/steering ect. All though the O REILLY parts system has exhaust catalog in the system its the same if not accuruate in the catalogs. id say we keep the books an i don't mind looking up parts the old school way either.



avatar   tim schneider oreilly auto parts   star   4/24/2009   10:17 AM

i think too many people new to this industry are trained only on the e cats and never properly show the benefits and information available in paper catalogs and they become intimidated by them and rely solely on e cats making them a crutch instead of a tool i think more time and training can simply solve this problem and help to end the debate on the importance of paper catalogs



avatar   Todd   star   4/22/2009   1:09 PM

I find that paper catalogs come in very handy when looking up U-joints, because that why the customer can just point out the one they need. I am trying to get my employees to do the same.



avatar   Brian   star   4/16/2009   2:37 PM

I have been working as a counterperson for only 2 years but I have been born and raised in the Automotive Industry. I have been on both sides of the counter, getting parts and selling parts. I have learned that over the years I always went to the guy who used all the resources available to find the parts needed. I will admit that sometimes you do get inundated with all the paper catalogs that you have to keep up with but I don't mind one bit. I found out that the e-cats sometimes don't show the part for a vehicle that you've chosed but you can pull the catalog, look it up and put in the number and its on the shelf.. case in point: 1990 Chevy or GMC C/K 1500 throttle body injector service kit. It will not show on some years of this truck but it sits on the shelf and it is the correct part.. without the paper catalog I would have lost a few sales over that one but none lost yet.. except that one John Deere mower spring..



avatar   Paul   star   2/6/2009   6:09 PM

I agree that the number of paper catalogs should be limited. Older model years don't change, so there is no reason to reprint them. If an error is found in one, send out a message so it can be corrected. Also, the article everyone is ranting about doesn't advocate getting rid of the Paper Catalogs. The challenge is to not reprint new ones and use the money saved to upgrade the e-cats



avatar   Craig   star   1/29/2009   4:28 PM

Its hard to classify myself as a veteran of the business but with 18 years under my belt and taking a look at my coworkers I guess thats what I have become............I agree paper catalogs are priceless and I hope that they don't go away! Also wanted to note that our electronic catalog here at O'Reilly Auto Parts does have complete diagrams of the exhaust system which makes one less catalog this old dog has to drag out!















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