Technology Newsmaker Q&A: Todd Campau

Jan. 1, 2020
Todd Campau is the data management team coordinator at MAHLE-Clevite, one of the world's leading automotive part suppliers.

Todd Campau is the data management team coordinator at MAHLE-Clevite, one of the world's leading automotive part suppliers. He recently presented an ACES seminar through the University of the Aftermarket "On-Demand" program, and was involved in the development of MAHLE-Clevite's electronic parts catalog, Launchpad, which includes an electronic ordering function.

What do think are the biggest technology challenges in the aftermarket today?

The implementation of standards has been a challenge. Collaboration goes along with that. Our experience has been that when everyone gets together at an industry event, there is a real thrust to get everyone to say that they're on board for standards adoption, but it's a slightly different story once everyone gets back to the home office.

Some of this stems from trust issues between data suppliers and receivers. And there is always a technology gap as far as the realistic capabilities that companies have, particularly with way they are currently staffed. And that may be biggest issue of all.

What kinds of electronic commerce capabilities do your trading partners have? What kinds of requests are they making of your company?

It runs the gamut. On one side you have the larger retailers and WDs that have larger development teams than I have. One day they are asking to exchange data the proprietary way they've always received it for the past 10 years, and the next day they're saying, "In two months you need to have PIES and ACES in place."

On the other end of the spectrum, we still have a lot of smaller customers that tell us they'll never be able to do PIES and ACES. From a data supplier standpoint, that's forced me to be a lot more agile.

We developed our own electronic catalog in light of the fact that we would not only have to deliver ACES, we would have to deliver any number of formats that the customer required. We're trying to encourage people to use systems like Activant and WHI, so we can supply them ACES and they can push it down to those that are not as technically enabled as others.

How far along are you with standards implementation?

We are feverishly trying to implement. We made decision a couple of years ago to go to a homegrown VCDB native cataloging system. We've got it down pretty well for internal use, and now we're trying to build PIES and ACES files that we can share with our trading partners.

We do have an e-commerce portal that we've developed internally. We don't use iShop directly, but we are PARTnerShip Network-capable. We're exchanging XML with some customers. So we're trying to get additional PIES and ACES capability now to expand our delivery capabilities to trading partners throughout the industry.

What do you think should happen in the industry that would encourage standards deployment?

The biggest development I'm seeing now that I think is key to the standards development and adoption is that the AAIA technology committee is beginning to talk about how Web services should be used by the industry.

I referred to trust in the industry earlier. I've been trying to champion that as an important element of standards adoption. Web services are only as good as the trust between the two partners sharing them. Standards really become powerful when we stop transferring files between suppliers and receivers, and establish trust that encourages sharing Web services.

Throwing around these hundred-megabyte files from suppliers to customers takes a lot of time and effort. It would be easier to work with customers and say, "Here's my service, this is what you need to give me, maybe that's a year-make-model engine combination, and I'll give you all my parts that fit it." That's easier than building their own back-end data set that requires synchronization with the master data set anyway. That's where we need to go next as an industry.

Sponsored Recommendations

Access Carside OEM Repair Data with MOTOR TruSpeed

Now available on all Autel MaxiSYS Ultra Series tools, MOTOR TruSpeed Repair delivers expanded OEM service and repair data within days of being published by

ADAS Case Study: From 10 Calibrations a Month to Over 10 A Day

Originally published by Vehicle Service Pros, March 26, 2024

Autel MaxiTPMS TS900: 3-in-1 TPMS Tablet

Originally published by Tire Review, April 4, 2024

Ask The Expert: The Basics & Benefits of Bringing ADAS Calibrations In-house

Originally published by Vehicle Service Pros, March 26, 2024

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Vehicle Service Pros, create an account today!