By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Partsearch Technologies, here, which provides repair parts information, software and services to retailers, service centers and manufacturers, has entered an alliance with Best Buy to help it compile a master parts catalog for model-specific replacement parts and accessories.
The industrywide project's goal is to provide a comprehensive research and procurement solution that will centralize model-specific parts information for the A/V, computer, wireless and brown goods sectors.
"The current system for identifying and ordering parts is extremely inefficient," explained Dean Summers, Partsearch founder and president. "By aggregating parts information for all of the products sold on the retail floor, Partsearch's solution will enable retailers and service providers to improve their service to customers and reduce the costs associated with product repairs."
The company has already compiled what it calls the industry's largest master parts catalog of original replacement parts and accessories, containing more than 5 million SKUs and covering virtually every major manufacturer. Best Buy's participation in expanding the catalog's scope is part of an ongoing initiative to simplify the industry's service processes, the parties said.
"Best Buy is excited to be part of the creation of a new industry standard in this area," said Mike Marolt, senior VP/retail operations for Best Buy. "Identifying and ordering service parts is a major challenge for all retailers. We look forward to working with manufacturers and other retailers in this important effort."
Added Partsearch CEO Glenn Laumeister, "Our objective is to build the most comprehensive and robust master parts catalog possible. By enlisting the support of the entire industry in the development of the catalog, it will enhance the accuracy, timeliness and completeness of the data, which ultimately will benefit the entire industry."
The master parts project builds off Partsearch's current catalog, which is currently accessed by Best Buy, service centers and other retailers via dedicated toll free phone numbers and through Partsearch's branded Web site, which can be linked to clients' URLs. The latest addition to the Partsearch client roster is American TV & Appliance, the 10-store NATM dealer based in Madison, Wisc.
Under an agreement announced in October, Partsearch will provide American TV customers direct access to its database, allowing them to purchase many hard-to-find parts such as remote controls, laptop batteries, AC adapters and dishwasher baskets. Shoppers can access the database by dialing (866) 52-PARTS toll free, or visiting the American TV Web site at www.americantv.com.
Partsearch is providing the toll-free number, the customized, co-branded Web interface, plus point-of-purchase displays, the partners said.
In other Partsearch news, the company has named Best Buy and Sears veteran Lowell Peters as chairman of its advisory board. Peters was previously senior VP/services for Best Buy, where he was instrumental in creating that company's sweeping service organization. Before that, he spent 20 years with Sears in a number of field and corporate roles including VP/parts and technical support for the merchant's service operation.
"I am pleased to join Partsearch during this exciting time," Peters said. "I've been an advocate since the company's inception, and I look forward to promoting Partsearch as an industrywide standard. The service industry as a whole has been in dire need of a major overhaul for quite some time."
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.