Finding software can be overwhelming. Electronic Parts Catalog Software helps manufactures both organize and manage all of their parts and ensure buyers are satisfied with the entire sales process.

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Fishbowl

Fishbowl is a hybrid manufacturing and warehouse management solution designed for small and midsize companies. Key features include inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), job shop floor control, work order manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 73 recommendations

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NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive rang... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

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AltheaSuite

AltheaSuite Inventory Management is a comprehensive inventory management solution for all businesses. It's a cloud-based SAS solution and works on all modern web browsers and devices. This solution is developed with a strong focus... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 39 recommendations

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Flowtrac

FlowTrac is a cloud-based and on-premise warehouse management solution that helps companies manage their Inventory, Assets, Warehouse, Work In Process, and other specialty tracking requirements. The solution is suitable and deploy... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 35 recommendations

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ERP Gold

ERP Gold is an all-in-one order, inventory and shipping management software for E-commerce and multi marketplace retailers or wholesalers. It provides the easiest way to list, manage, and ship your inventory when selling on Amazon... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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Lead Commerce

Lead Commerce is an integrated order management suite that offers applications like inventory management, merchandise planning, and customer relationship management. The solution helps small and midsize businesses streamline and a... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

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Agiliron

Agiliron cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution is designed to serve both in-store and mobile businesses as well as online sales channels. The system offers a host of features that work in tandem with the point-of-sale solution,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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Quickbase

Quick Base is a low-code application development platform that enables organizations to unite information, people, and workflows within distribution in a single, cloud-based platform. Unlike traditional software solutions, Quick B... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Finale Inventory

Finale Inventory is a cloud-based inventory and supply chain management solution designed for small and midsize businesses that offers stock management, purchasing, order management and reporting functionalities within a suite. Th... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Acctivate Inventory Management

Acctivate is a QuickBooks inventory add-on for small and medium manufacturers, distributors, and online retailers. It extends the inventory and business management functionality of QuickBooks Desktop (Enterprise, Pro and Premier).... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Infoplus

Infoplus WMS is a web-based warehouse management software solution for small to midsize 3PLs, eCommerce Retailers, and Wholesalers focused on taking control of overall inventory, warehouse operations and shipping. Key featur... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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iM3 SCM Suite

iM3 SCM’s Smart Warehouse Management (smartWMS) is a cloud-based software offered to its customers as a SaaS Application. iM3 SCM helps clients reduce their implementation costs to help increase ROI and productivity. From mul... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Brahmin Solutions

Brahmin Solutions is a cloud-based Inventory and MRP software for fast-growing SMBs. The product is designed for manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers to manage all operations dealing with purchasing, sales, inventory, and man... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Kechie

Kechie Distribution Management efficiently manages internal and external resources. Suited for businesses with $1M+ in revenue, the management tools provide control of replenishment, warehouse management, picking, packing, and shi... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Zangerine

Wholesaler or distributor? Zangerine is built to simplify your inventory growth. Go live in 5 sessions. Control your whole business from BI, Purchasing, Inventory, E-commerce, CRM, Quotes, to Pick,Pack & Ship. Quickbooks integrate... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Pomodo

Pomodo Software offers a cloud-based orders and inventory management solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. It offers the ability to add modules to expand the solution to suit the business’ needs. Pomodo offers produc... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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AMICS

Advanced Manufacturing and Inventory Control Software (AMICS) for warehousing is a hybrid inventory management solution, which offers users various modules for managing their inventories, assets and warehouses. The solution can ei... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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SKULabs

SKULabs is a cloud-based inventory management and order fulfillment solution for small, midsize, and enterprise organizations. It helps e-commerce retailers and distributors manage their warehouse operations. SKULabs helps warehou... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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NETSTOCK

NETSTOCK is a cloud-based inventory management solution which helps businesses handle purchase orders, customers, suppliers, demand forecasting and more on a unified platform. It allows professionals to manage bills of materials (... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Chondrion

Chondrion’s cloud-based selling and fulfillment suite is designed with a focus on automation instead of manual intervention. Integrated modules include Inventory Management, supply-chain optimization, Customer Service, Point-of-Sa... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: June 21, 2021

One of the most crucial tasks for companies in the manufacturing industry is keeping track of every part used.

These businesses have to know about each and every part that's included in original product designs, where those parts are sourced and/or stored and what materials are required for making specific parts in-house. And they have to be able to see updates to all of that information in real time.

That's why tracking parts is (not coincidentally) also one of the most difficult tasks—especially for manufacturers who deal with mechanically complex products.

Fortunately, we live in an electronic age, and today's manufacturers and OEMs have the immense advantage of using electronic parts catalog software. Sometimes referred to as EPCs or digital parts catalogs, these magical systems enable manufacturers in any market—from transit to toys—to track and update parts and, in many cases, control orders as well.

In fact, companies that fail to deploy electronic parts catalog software or integrate EPCs into their existing manufacturing inventory systems will lose precious time and inevitably fall behind competitors who do.

If you're reading this, that probably means you're at least interested in digital parts catalogs, but maybe you want to learn more about them before you start looking at specific products. To help you do that, we're going to cover the following topics:

What Is Electronic Parts Catalog Software?

Common Features of Electronic Parts Catalog Software

Benefits and Potential Issues with Electronic Parts Catalog Software

Other Key Considerations

 

What Is Electronic Parts Catalog Software?

Electronic parts catalogs can most simply be described as digital registers of all the parts used to make a product, but that's only one small element of these software systems' overall functionality. In addition to serving as an electronic inventory of parts, ELP software is also a tool for marketing, sales and customer service.

Manufacturer marketing teams can provide electronic parts catalogs as digital downloads or promote them in email marketing as a way of sharing valuable information that will help engineers looking to buy make decisions. This info can include:

  • Product details
  • Part numbers
  • Data sheets
  • Related products
  • Design drawings and/or 3D models

From there, the individuals who opt to engage with your EPC become qualified sales leads. Alternatively—depending on the functionality of the catalog system in use—once those buyers select the parts they need, they can then place and order directly within the system. ELC software can also handle processing orders and, in some cases, provide tracking information for the buyers to reference.

Should the buyers need to return their order for any reason, most electronic parts catalogs also allow users to set up automated returns processes, which can be used to improve customer service. That, in combination with the convenience of having all of the information and features in one place, will easily improve your customers' satisfaction.

 

Common Features of Electronic Parts Catalog Software

Now that you have an understanding of what electronic parts catalogs are, we can go a step further to cover functionality. While it's important to note that not all EPC systems will include every feature, here are some of the most common capabilities of these systems:

Parts management

This feature makes it simple for users to identify changes to any parts in the catalog and edit them accordingly. For example, some parts may become obsolete over time and will be replaced by newer models.

Engineering change orders

If you're a distributor using this software to sell parts manufactured by a different company, you'll want your software to provide automated engineering change instruction (ECI) and/or engineering change notice (ECN) functionality, meaning it will monitor for notices from OEMs and update your catalog if and when the need arises.

Online updates

Because these systems involve a customer-facing, web-based catalog component, pushing out updates must be quick and easy.

Sales/order management

Allows customers to view part information and purchase parts within the system while also allowing users to manage those orders (including making changes to orders, tracking orders or returning orders).

Here's an example of what searching an electronic parts catalog can look like:

Catalog search functionality in Snap-On's EPC5

 

 

Benefits and Potential Issues with Electronic Parts Catalog Software

A few of the general advantages to using electronic parts catalog software for manufacturers include:

  • Increased OEM sales by providing buyers with parts that are guaranteed to fit the make and model of the product they're buying parts for.
  • Reduce errors by providing specific part numbers to check against products and ensure a match.
  • Increase customer satisfaction by making the process of ordering and returning parts as easy as possible.

Beyond these, there is one major benefit to using this type of software: saving time.

Before electronic parts catalogs came along with automated updates and engineering change notices, manufacturers had to manually monitor for those changes and make the edits and updates by hand—which was (and is, for those who have not yet adopted this software) an incredibly time-consuming task.

One potential issue that manufacturers must consider when researching EPC software products to purchase is longevity.

This is an industry that sees tremendous changes over relatively short periods of time, so there is a real risk of investing in software solutions that will quickly become obsolete. To avoid this potential pitfall, make sure the EPC products you're considering is capable of supporting multiple CAD software applications and that the software provider is equipped to push out updates that will help your team continue to be able to serve your customers.

 

Other Key Considerations

As with any business software purchase, pricing will be a main consideration. With electronic parts catalog software, pricing varies according to the deployment method (e.g., cloud-based or on premise) as well as the type of software being used (e.g., a standalone system vs. an integrated feature in a larger manufacturing software product). To learn more about pricing, you'll need to contact the sales teams for products you're considering and request that information, which will also give you an opportunity to discuss their product features and options.

An additional consideration that is specific to electronic parts catalog software is the way your downloadable files will be formatted. Because engineers work with a number of different file formats, you need to make sure you're EPC accommodates that by offering the right type of digital CAD models. You can choose to provide your downloadable models in either a neutral format, which is system-agnostic, or a native format, which supports the majority of CAD and imaging systems.