ACES And PIES

ACES And PIES

These data standards work behind the scenes to make our e-catalogs efficient, powerful and accurate.

Our electronic catalog systems are among the most important tools in our arsenal of parts-counter knowledge. They serve as a “one-stop shop” for fulfilling the majority of our parts requests – collecting vehicle and component information from a wide array of aftermarket vendor sources into one convenient database. We repeatedly interact with our catalogs each day, pumping them for the information we need to supply the appropriate parts, supplies and services to our customers.

We tend to take our catalogs for granted, and most of us don’t give a second thought to where that wealth of information actually comes from. In today’s “on-demand” world, it’s a given that the answers to our questions are at our fingertips. But, a considerable amount of work goes into providing the data required to make our catalogs efficient, powerful and (above all) accurate sources of information.

Standardization can be seen in many aspects of our industry, from packaging quantities to sizing, even part identification and numbering. Somewhere along the way, the aftermarket generally settled on selling quarts of oil and gallons of coolant; engineers quantified thread-pitch, tube and hose dimensions; and store-brand products implemented numbering systems, often based on those of major manufacturers. This makes it much easier to identify and compare equivalent products, and also gives us a “common language” when interacting with customers, co-workers and others in our industry.

Standardization of data is just as important for catalog managers, and it has significant benefits to those of us at the front counter too! Understanding the need for a common data language, the Auto Care Association developed two standards for data exchange – ACES and PIES – which now are used to help distribute electronic parts and application data throughout the North American aftermarket.

The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) is the standard concerning vehicle-fitment information. For each part found in our catalog, the supporting ACES file encodes vehicle information for each application for which that part fits. This includes year/make/model information, as well as other qualifiers like part category and type, as well as brand names. It also contains data regarding differences in optional equipment. For instance, the ACES file for an intermediate parking-brake cable might indicate that it’s only applicable to a truck with a certain wheelbase.

PIES is the Product Information Exchange Standard, governing the format of files containing data that describes characteristics unique to the part itself. SKU, UPC, pricing and packaging information can be encoded into the PIES file, as well as dimensions and other descriptive physical information. PIES files use many of the same source databases as ACES files, with the exception of vehicle configuration. The PIES file for that same brake cable would not contain vehicle-fitment information, but might give the actual length of the cable and a photo or diagram of the part.

ACES and PIES standards are used together to provide uniformly formatted files when transmitting parts information between users. This common language allows aftermarket manufacturers, catalog managers and parts personnel to share a dynamic and thorough description of each part, along with its appropriate usage. These file databases are NOT actual catalogs, and unless you’re already familiar with ACES and PIES (and fluent in computer programming), you probably couldn’t decipher most of the information contained in these files anyway. Auto Care developed these standards and maintains these databases to make data encoding and transmission more universal within the aftermarket supply chain, but the end result is a more complete and powerful source of electronic catalog information at our front counters!

You May Also Like

Do You Suffer From CED? Good News – It’s Curable

The creep of Customer Experience Decline can take hold if you allow your shop to lose focus.

In business, as in life, mistakes WILL happen. How you respond will make the difference in whether your customer will remain loyal and continue to do business with your store. Customer relations are easy as long as things go well – when they don’t, you and your team have the opportunity to shine or look like the proverbial pile of…well, you know. 

Tool Time Podcast: CTA Tools

Nadine Battah and Eric Garbe learn about CTA Tools’ history and innovative technology.

The Purge: Flushing & Filling the Coolant

This job isn’t needed as often as it used to be, but it’s still important.

ADAS: Coming of Age

Driver-assist systems are categorized into levels, determined by the amount of automation for any given system.

Minding Your P’s And Q’s

Price and Quality are two of the most important considerations for customers purchasing from you.

Other Posts

Auto Care Industry Expected to Grow 5.7% in 2024

The 2025 Auto Care Factbook projects the total light-, medium- and heavy-duty automotive aftermarket to hit $617.3 billion industry in 2027. 

Auto Care Industry Expected to Grow 5.7% in 2024
Auto Care Association Reacts To USTR China Tariff Review

Bill Hanvey, Auto Care Association president and CEO, commented on four-year review of tariffs.

Tool Intel – Understanding Air Tool Fittings and Couplers

Why don’t air tools come with fittings installed? Here’s why customers need to buy what they actually need.

Read the April Digital Edition of Counterman

The April issue contains article designed for technical training, management efficiency and store profitability.