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Wake Up to the Computer Age


12/15/2008

 

I’m a 32-year veteran of the auto parts business and am ASE certified in eight areas. While it’s good to have paper catalogs at a backup, in some instances, an e-cat is better. At NAPA, we have an e-cat system that shows exhaust diagrams. It’s very useful and faster to look up online than on paper.

I recently needed to look up a speed cable for a 1964 Chevy II. It wasn’t in our paper catalogs because it was too old for the listing. I did, however, find it on our computer catalog system. I’m not saying we should throw out the paper, but face it, we are now working in an automated, electronically connected business.

Todd Carpenter, “The Parts Guru”
NAPA Auto Parts  
Idaho Falls, Idaho

  Previous Comments
avatar   frank the tank   star   5/28/2010   10:30 AM

stores should just have the web.... Then you can show your customers videos on you tube.



avatar   tim   star   5/23/2010   4:51 PM

what about the customers when they say there all the same. ex: differential bearings chevy camaro. No year or type of diff. Just all the same



avatar   Jack Daniels   star   4/2/2010   11:59 PM

Although I've ONLY been with Kragen/Oreillys for 3 years now, the transition between the two systems couldn't have happened (for me anyways) with out the paper cats. trying to learn a new system without a solid backup is just plain silly. Why wouldn't we try to help out customers in EVERY WAY POSSIBLE?!?!?



avatar   Chris   star   2/18/2010   5:24 PM

Case and point; today our computers were completely down for about an hour. During that hour, we broke out the paper and still managed to make $2k with just me and one other guy.



avatar   Chris   star   2/5/2010   4:56 PM

Having a store without paper catalogs is like having a men's room with no toilet paper. In both cases, you're going to have a lot of crap on your hands.



avatar   mattk   star   1/15/2010   9:03 PM

paper cats are great if you have EVER opened a book that is



avatar   dan   star   11/24/2009   1:33 PM

what happens when your system shuts down ? do you close for business ?



avatar   John   star   11/8/2009   10:23 AM

Even though we tend to use e-cats more than none and it is easier than paper i have been in the automotive field for twelve years and have come to find alot of customers dont like walking into a part store that doesnt have paper catalogs as a backup because most of the time they are turned away yes lets use the e-cats but still learn everything we can about the paper it is a life saver



avatar   Paul   star   5/29/2009   6:59 PM

Even if the manufacturers agree to stop printing new paper catalogs, they will still need to supply all the new stores that open up each year with a set of new catalogs. I know they only help with 10-15 percent of customers, but how long will a store survive if they send away 10-15 percent of their customers.



avatar   Betie   star   4/7/2009   3:55 PM

Your paper cats really don't go back to 64 for that app? normally i run into the complete opposite problem!



avatar   Betie Knight   star   2/27/2009   2:43 PM

The E-cat system is an amazing tool for the quick in and out sales we like to see, be it wipers or bulbs, however the E-cat system will never be able to compensate for actual knowledge that is needed in our business. Who likes to walk into a store where the person helping you only knows as much as the computer does and tells you that they don't have a part when it is sitting 5ft behind them on a shelf? I don't! The use of the paper cats ensures we at least have some knowledge of what we are doing. The E-cat will ever replace th paper cats and the day we do away with the paper cats we are dooming ourselves. The paper cats are an invaluable tool!



avatar   Wade   star   2/20/2009   8:14 PM

I believe that it is great to have both types of catalogs at the ready. There is more than just application data in all of the paper catalogs. I find myself using the paper catalogs more than 50% of the time to find all of the "I can't tell you what it fits" type of customer. I hope the industry continues to use both types of catalogs.



avatar   Kyle Hirschi   star   1/22/2009   6:35 PM

Seeing as John Talbott is criticizing someone for something other than the subject at hand, I'll play his game. It seems as though he may be considered knowledgable and competent, it seems he is not, seeing as how he submitted his comment 3 times. You only have to hit it once sir.



avatar   JC   star   1/22/2009   2:24 PM

E-cats are the way to go. However guys and girls, don't overlook your paper as a HUGE backup! After 34 yrs in the business, I use both everyday. And my customers are glad I do.



avatar   Mike Kennedy   star   1/21/2009   4:27 PM

At O'reilly Auto Parts, where I manage a store we use the paper catalogs as part of our never say no program. Alot of times we can go to the catalog, especially on older stuff with alot of success. Mike



avatar   Joe Markham   star   1/20/2009   4:20 PM

I know that this topic has been hotly debated, but could not let it go without my two cents worth. I have been in parts for nine years, but I also have 20 years in retail. While I agree that ecat is the way to go due to the speed and ease of use, along with lots of available photos and diagrams, it is a grave mistake to throw out and/or not have paper catalogs. I have, as many of you probably have, run across a part that just wasn't listed in the ecat, but was found in the paper catalog. And those hand written notes are great until the ecat is updated. And what do you do if the power goes out or the ecat goes down? Do really want to tell your customer you can't help them? Ecats and paper catalogs are tools we use to serve our accounts and customers, and need to used as such.



avatar   Jody Richards   star   1/20/2009   12:50 PM

While paper cats. still play a very useful role in our business, I look forward to an age when all cat. information is listed electronically. I for one am glad to have computer systems to make my job easier and faster. However, I am concerned at the lack of parts knowledge it now takes to look up parts. I feel our customers are losing out on quality information that seasoned veteran parts people can provide. I am not saying that customers do not get great service now, just that there is some information that a computer can not and will not tell you.



avatar   will   star   1/20/2009   10:11 AM

While I agree that e-cats are an improvement over paper catalogs, you must admit that some things just aren't listed on e-cat. At O'Reilly's, all team members know how to use the paper catalog system. It's a must especially when working with older cars. Carb kits can be tricky if your e-cat doesn't specify carb numbers!



avatar   John Talbott   star   12/31/2008   1:58 PM

While Todd Carpenter's insights are very truthful on the issues of paper cats versus e-cats, I find the fact the he considers himself a "Parts Guru" rather silly. Of all people, he should know that no matter long we have been in the business, you will never know everything. I have been in the business for over 20 years and am considered to be knowledgable and competent, I do not consider myself a Guru. Gurus know everything, wheras I do not. Sincerely Yours, John Talbott, Fisher Auto Parts, Lexington, Virginia



avatar   John Talbott   star   12/31/2008   1:58 PM

While Todd Carpenter's insights are very truthful on the issues of paper cats versus e-cats, I find the fact the he considers himself a "Parts Guru" rather silly. Of all people, he should know that no matter long we have been in the business, you will never know everything. I have been in the business for over 20 years and am considered to be knowledgable and competent, I do not consider myself a Guru. Gurus know everything, wheras I do not. Sincerely Yours, John Talbott, Fisher Auto Parts, Lexington, Virginia



avatar   John Talbott   star   12/31/2008   1:58 PM

While Todd Carpenter's insights are very truthful on the issues of paper cats versus e-cats, I find the fact the he considers himself a "Parts Guru" rather silly. Of all people, he should know that no matter long we have been in the business, you will never know everything. I have been in the business for over 20 years and am considered to be knowledgable and competent, I do not consider myself a Guru. Gurus know everything, wheras I do not. Sincerely Yours, John Talbott, Fisher Auto Parts, Lexington, Virginia



avatar   John Talbott   star   12/31/2008   1:57 PM

While Todd Carpenter's insights are very truthful on the issues of paper cats versus e-cats, I find the fact the he considers himself a "Parts Guru" rather silly. Of all people, he should know that no matter long we have been in the business, you will never know everything. I have been in the business for over 20 years and am considered to be knowledgable and competent, I do not consider myself a Guru. Gurus know everything, wheras I do not. Sincerely Yours, John Talbott, Fisher Auto Parts, Lexington, Virginia















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