An Interview With Parts Industry Insider, Jared Psak
Spork Marketing has begun an interview series to offer our readers even more insights into the auto parts industry.
For our first interview, we’re speaking with Jared Psak, founder of Wise Auto Data. Jared has more than 15 years of diverse experience working exclusively in the aftermarket auto parts e-commerce industry and its cataloging. Wise Auto Data was founded on the practice of educating the manufacturer on how to manage their own information better and how it can improve different areas of their business.
1. Can you describe your product/service as if I knew nothing about it or the market?
What we do at Wise Auto Data is more of a service than a product, but it all comes down to perfecting auto parts catalogs. We’re not talking about printed catalogs anymore, where pretty pictures or volumes of pages are put together. For computers and the internet, all auto parts catalogs around the country must be in the same format – they all have to be constructed the same way in order to work together. And, when you consider how many different kinds of vehicles are out there and all of their parts, getting all of those catalogs, from all of those brands, to look, feel, and work the same is quite complicated. That’s where we come in.
Most auto part manufacturers are focused on making auto parts more than mastering standards in electronic cataloging (otherwise known as ACES and PIES). Not all ACES and PIES files are created equal and they can almost always get better. Wise Auto Data can be the resource sometimes needed to bridge the gap between the manufacturer with mediocre data (if not terribly ugly data) and their catalog service provider or retail website. We work mostly with manufacturers and online retailers with their cataloging, mastering their ACES and PIES for online sales. After our initial work is complete, we enjoy staying in touch to do the occasional updates or additional projects, but as specialists we do not provide full-time catalog management.
2. What’s your standard ‘elevator pitch’ for your company?
Well, more often than not, my clients seek us out, as opposed to me calling on them, so I wouldn’t call it a pitch really. If a manufacturer or e-retailer knows they need to do something with their catalog, they come to me for solutions. If they’re not looking for a solution it can be difficult to sell them one. We help retailers take advantage of the best an ACES file can give you or the maximum amount of information that can potentially be found in a PIES file – truly mastered ACES and PIES. Wise Auto Data brings diverse experience, cool tools, and focused analysis reporting to create an optimized ACES or PIES file for our clients. There isn’t anything I haven’t seen or dealt with in this industry, so my company is very clear about our clients’ objectives.
3. Fitment errors are pretty common in most manufacturers’ data. Is this a problem your company frequently solves?
Yes, we see two kinds of fitment errors: There are inarguable database (VCDB) errors and there are manufacturer provided fitment errors. With our experience, we know parts, we know cars, we know ACES, and we know how to work with data. Not only do we validate data to the industry standards, we can also help with incomplete or inaccurate fitment errors, like transfer case seals on an Altima or the same tie rods on a Silverado as a Corvette.
4. Can you tell us briefly about your parts industry experience?
I got started in about 2001 with The Parts Bin, in sales at first, but I moved quickly to leading and developing a team that made custom catalogs for dozens upon dozens of brands to combine with another database of cataloged auto parts. A couple of years later, that turned into an asset that lead to US Auto Parts buying the company. So, I went with US Auto Parts to California for a little while before I decided to go out on my own to start Wise Auto Data and get involved with other projects.
While working with some manufacturers on the side, I spent a few years working for a great warehouse distributor, Woodbury Automotive, where I helped greatly ramp up their e-commerce capability by assembling a data center of cataloging to distribute to our customers. That company was also acquired, and I like to think that our data center was part of the reason for that acquisition. Ever since and in-between, I’ve been working short- and long- term projects with manufacturers and e-retailers, both large and small, industry wide (performance parts and accessories and replacement parts).
5. What is your favorite part about your job?
You know that old proverb that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life? Knock on wood, but that’s me. I’m extremely confident in what I do, and it’s very rewarding to share my experiences and talent to help others get a step closer to the success they’re after. And I get to do it from home, hanging out on my computer, working in the world of car parts all day.
6. Are there any common misconceptions that people have about the products or services you offer?
Well, one misconception I’ve gotten a few times is that Wise Auto Data offers actual catalogs. However, to avoid misconceptions, I’ve been conscious about letting other catalog or data companies out there know that I’m not really their competitor. We don’t distribute data, we don’t offer ACES management software or tools, and we don’t maintain any subscriptions or accounts. Fact is, as some of these ACES companies know, I can help them land a potential client by being the resource needed to get that client started on the right foot.
7. When you’re talking to potential customers, what are the 3 most important things you want them to know?
First, I want to know if Wise Auto Data is right for them. I want to make sure they know who we are and what we do. Next, I need to let them know we’re qualified. As the owner of the company, I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been around the track – a lot. Third, I also want to let them know that my company’s objective is their satisfaction. We need to get on the same page about our expected results and how we can get there together.
8. What do you attribute to your company’s success?
I know what I’m doing and I’ve kept Wise Auto Data true to my own values. We’re honest. We maintain confidentiality whether there’s a signed agreement or not. I’ll steer someone the right way in short order when that’s what is practical, instead of stretching things out just to grab a few bucks. It has often seemed that just as one gig comes to an end, the next one shows up right on time. So, call it what you will: karma, fate, or faith. God’s got my back.
9. How long has your company been in business and where are you located?
Wise Auto Data launched in 2008, so that will be 9 years ago this year, but I, personally, have been doing this for over 15 years. The cool thing about working in the web is that location is almost meaningless. I like to say I would work on the moon if I got a good internet connection.
10. Where do you see the market for your product/service moving over the next 5 years?
The same. While I think there are some aspects of the e-commerce game that are likely to change, including industry standards in electronic cataloging, the need for help and understanding in cleaning up and preparing good data isn’t likely to go anywhere any time soon.
Not all ACES and PIES files are created equal and can affect your ecommerce sales, so if there are errors or improvements to be made there’s a company who can help. In fact, they can help you master the cataloging of your products.
Thanks to Jared Psak for taking the time to share his knowledge with all of us. If your auto parts cataloging needs improvement, contact him here: Wise Auto Data