Removing Blockers to Revenue: How to Avoid Parts Misidentification

4 October 2023

If the phrase “square peg in a round hole” has you immediately thinking back to that time your customer ordered the wrong part,

then spent the entire week trying to make the thing work (even though they knew it never would)

and then they returned knocking on your door asking what sort of two-bit operation you’re running… 

Welcome, you’re in the right place!

We know firsthand the absolute frustration of parts misidentification and what it means to other people’s businesses. 

We also know the impact it has on your bottom line when you get unhappy customers. 

That’s why we’re on a mission to prevent it from ever happening again. 

No more wasted time, no more lost revenue, no more blind panic when they realise A is never going to fit into B.

No more unhappy customers finding the fault lies at your doorstep. 

Get Back to Better After Sales

The buyer’s struggle is real, and the gap between what OEMs offer and what customers expect is only getting bigger. 

Buyers want the right parts for the right price at the right time. If even one of these factors is lacking, they’ll happily go elsewhere. 

In a recent survey on the aftermarket trend of 2023, we discovered a whole host of buyer issues that every OEM should be thinking about. 

We learnt:

  • Only 15% of customers can find the right part when they need it.
  • Customers are dealing with order errors on every fifth purchase. 
  • Almost 9 out of 10 consumer repairers buy from third-party sellers rather than OEMs.
  • 59% of professional repairers do the same. 

If the above stats are a slightly demoralising read, the right-to-repair movement and the customer’s sustainability goals only make the challenge more difficult. 

But we’re not here for a woe-is-you lecture, we want to help you with solutions. And we have a great one.  

Where the Problem Lies

But first, we have to find the root cause. 

Stop using Excel Sheets and PDFs!

One of the most common reasons for parts misidentification lies in the outdated systems companies are clinging onto because they don’t know any better. 

4 in 5 OEMs our team talks to are using Excel Sheets and PDFs to sell parts. 

You thought it was just you? Definitely not. We give you our word.

Here is a typical example of PDF diagrams we’ve seen over the years.

Paper Instructions

By ordering parts using Excel spreadsheets and PDFs, it’s no great surprise that buyers aren’t getting what they need.

Still using that Windows 98 parts catalog?

If it’s not Excel Sheets and PDFs slowing you down, it’s the Windows-98-looking system that’s not fit for purpose. 

If you’re using a system that’s been around since before the first Matrix movie was released, you need to rethink your processes. 

Most parts catalogues out there use scans of your PDF CADs or 2D drawings and slap them onto a screen with minimal interactivity.

This doesn’t solve part misidentification much more than the PDF does. It’s the same thing just in different packaging.

When you have a piece of engineering, you want to show it off. As a comparison, you can see the night-and-day difference between a new product's online presence and its after sale one.

This leads to failing your customer expectations, failing your brand and failing your customer loyalty.

We’ve not only talked to OEMs’ after-sales team. We talked to over 500 dealers and customers of a range of OEMs across the UK, EU and US.

And our conclusion is that their buying experience pretty much looks like this.

No wonder they keep going to third parties and non-OEM sellers behind your back.

You might not realise that you are losing revenue. But when you’ve come to the realisation, it might be too late.

Another consequence of using Excel Sheets and PDFs is that it takes manual updating.

Hundreds of after sales managers have told us they certainly cannot update it quickly enough, or they even forget. 

This leads to outdated data.

Data inconsistencies and outdated information might be part of the problem but when the technology is there to fix these problems, much of the responsibility lies with those not willing to change. 

And errors caused by outdated systems run both ways. 

The OEM industry - and their after sales areas in particular - need to take a long hard look at where they can make life better for their customers.

They need to see how they can make their buyers happier, limit mistakes and get that customer loyalty back.   

A Better Way Forward

3D interactive explosion models for parts identification are the future. 

Being able to see the most detailed, exploded version of what your buyer is ordering gives them incredible levels of confidence. 

This confidence leads to conversion rates going up. 

It also massively reduced returns, saving time and erasing the frustration that gets them looking for better solutions from competitors.

Take a tour or the 3D Explosion Parts Catalog below



This 3D approach also makes troubleshooting a hundred times easier. 

If a buyer can see the parts they need in all their glory, they can self-help, leading to a fix in their issue at pace. 

This, in turn, means your company (the one that helped provide access to the 3D model) becomes well-known for being reliable and helpful once more.   

Eliminate part misidentification with a truly interactive 3D platform

At Partful, we make life easier. 

Our 3D catalog is easy to use, mobile-friendly and designed in a way that makes customers happy and satisfied. 

We all know that happy and satisfied customers are the ones who come back, time and time again. 

We’ve worked tirelessly to stop buyers getting the wrong parts and looking elsewhere for solutions. 

In an age when customer retention is more crucial than ever, now’s the time to make the leap to the future. 

If you want to know how to avoid your business being blocked by something as simple as parts misidentification… the answer’s here.


Take a look today at how Partful’s 3D Explosion Parts Catalog can stop your business from being blocked.

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