View Full Version : ? For All Techs. And Shop Owners.

02-09-2007, 08:59 PM
Newz, MM, Khouse, Fixer, Crankshaft, Lucforce, Pugs and any others....

Looking up parts;

Do you find using the computer more friendly and quicker with what ever programs or web sites you use as apposed to the old micro fiche and readers ?

My boss is not as good on a computer and still mostly uses the fiche, He's boa-ed up like a rooster a few times seeing me sitting at the computer looking up parts. He has asked a few times if it really is quicker, I guess he thinks I'm just playing.

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

02-09-2007, 10:33 PM
I'm not a tech or repair shop owner, but was heading a team that made the decision to rollout CD based schematic and documentation to a fairly large service group, replacing the micro fiches.

At the end, all decisions usually are made to save money and companies research the success factors carefully. The last thing a project manager wants to do is upset the internal or external customers.

Ford, Toyota, Dodge and GM service centers discontinued the micro fiches a long time ago so there got to be some advantage for the new technology, but if a user is not familiar or comfy with the PC, this sure will be a difficult way to introduce new technology.

02-09-2007, 11:51 PM
Well Rob, pretty soon your boss won't have much choice but to learn the electronic look ups, or have you do it. Kohler is ending or very much increasing the subscription for fiche, Briggs has announced they are doing their last fiche update, MTD... dunno..

Online look ups are good unless you have a slow internet connection or it's down totally. Partsmart 8 really seems to be a slow bastard compared to the old 6.

Honda just came out with their own parts lookup, they call it "iN Parts" or something.... We should have stayed with ARI on that.

If the manufacturers would use the internet for the great, up to the minute information source that it is in regards to getting out the IPL updates, it'd be great. I do get tired of having to load 3 or 4 disks every update just for MTD...

So, in summary, electronic media for parts lookup is a good move.. if only the OEMs weren't trying to run it like microfiche.

02-10-2007, 07:37 AM
The internet is the way to go, if you have a good fast connection. A lot of manufatures are now putting parts breakdowns online so parts look up is way easier then years past. I just save the sites in my favs and pull them up as needed, I still use mico fische but mostly for helping to install oils seals now:laugh:

02-10-2007, 07:56 AM
The internet is much faster than the micro-fiche cancelled all the fiche. The partsmart is much faster than the internet. Don't see how one can run a fast paced shop with out the computer, we have three set up at the front counter and one in the shop for them to use so they don't have to come up front.

02-10-2007, 07:58 AM
Computer in the shop area best move ever made

02-10-2007, 09:28 AM
I worked in a small shop for 7 years consisting of 3 techs and a front counter parts man for walk ins. We had one micro fiche that was not in the best of shape, that is, images were not as sharp as they could be. Most of the time you had to check two fiches, an index card and then the fiche for the particular model. Very time consuming. (Time is money) If I had been working on a commission basis, I would have been quite unhappy.

When ownership changed in 2002, the new owner installed two computers with Partsmart and parts inventory/ordering capabilities. What an improvement in time efficiency as well as better reliability in having the quicker moving parts in stock, hence less parts waiting. Another advantage of Partsmart(and other similar programs) is that it permits parts breakdown enlargment not available on the fiche.

In my opinion, there is no comparison between the two.


02-10-2007, 03:02 PM
So, in summary, electronic media for parts lookup is a good move.. if only the OEMs weren't trying to run it like microfiche.

That has always been my largest complaint. Keeping in mind that I am a technology buff, I prefer the microfiche cards. When looking up my own parts, I knew the subtleties of each manufacturer's card system and could quickly get to my part numbers. Over the years I have used various incarnations of the installed software parts systems and the online systems.

My thoughts:

1. I never worked for anyone in the business that had enough knowledge of computers to have an adequate machine and keep it running for the shop's use. The machine, or O.S., or Internet connection would fail and I would walk to the microfiche shelf, the owner looking disgusted at the fact that he spent "all this money" on a computer that I would not use. I have lost many hours waiting on such machinery and software to run.

2. Most of the pictures that I actually needed to see were only located on the old microfiche and not on the digital info. Also most of the digital info systems use only a generic photo that is useless to the model being looked up. I have also come across models that were not listed in digital media.

3. Microfiche cards make great seal savers, computers and cd's do not.

4. The microfiche cards do have a learning curve to them that can be difficult .

5. I would like to see a more standardized, more comprehensive, system that is less cost prohibitive to owners. Diagrams need to be improved, as does cross-referencing and the manner that is used to navigate these systems. An quality aftermarket company could also step in and become a supplier of bearing and seals via this cross-reference, and industrial and automotive duty parts could replace the low-grade aftermarket OPE parts.

6. The current systems are simply microfiche cards that someone shoved into a hard drive. No attempt was made to enhance anything, only to make a system that was less costly for the manufacturer. We were told in the mid nineties how great these systems were and how great they would become. I worked for a guy that bought in to an aftermarket system in 1995. That system is essentially the same stuff used today. True, microfiche cards have not changed much but their replacement is less efficient than they were.

I would love to see the major manufacturer's come together and decide on a universal part numbering system as well as a digital parts system. I can dream.

02-10-2007, 03:25 PM
In our shop we are ALMOST at the paperless stage. We have access to all the major manufacturers data, including parts and service manuals. Currently only the service mgr has a computer in the shop area, but that will be changing soon. And soon a laptop will be in each service truck, to order parts, write service orders ect. Also, most of the new equipment we are getting is coming with a cd or dvd for parts and service.

02-10-2007, 11:45 PM
Thanks for all the replies Guys.

I used M/F for 12 yrs. before using a computer and have found it to be more user friendly for me due to over these years my eyesight has faded. Even with my glasses I find it a little difficult to read the writing on the card header and cipher reference numbers. I just feel it's easier to type a password then enter a model number and have the enlargement feature Dutch mentioned.
Otherwise search a index card to find a model number to find a card number then jot down part reference numbers (multiple parts) to go to the end frames to cipher which one of the 5 or more of the same parts fit your model spec. then write the part numbers down.

Anybody else is welcome to chime in !

General Landscaping
02-11-2007, 08:29 AM
There needs to be a CD version to ensure the system is always available.
You need to be able to run the entire thing completely cut off from the net and from a different location/computer if needed.

We had a old security light that was screwing up the connection for the whole dealership. Nobody thought about the light causing the problem because it was out of sight..... there had been a awning installed over the detail dept, right below the light.

With no connection, we had no parts, no TSB's, no flashes, no way to tell what's in the warehouse, etc.

Customers get really tweaked when they can't take their car because "the computer's down"

We had the luxury of only dealing with 1 manufacturer; so I'm sure a complete backup for 6 different lines would be a little tricky to handle.

I also agree with the comments about the PC systems basically being a polished fiche.

02-12-2007, 12:57 AM
I am probably not the best person to ask this...as I have a degree in Computer Engineering from U of I at Urbana-Champaign.

So, obviously I am gonna say computer is better.

However since we are a very small shop, we do not have everything on partsmart. Nor would it make sense to pay the exorbitant price for some manufacturers that we would hardly use.

Its nice that alot of them are making online systems. The only problem is everyone is different. For me its not a big deal, but for my dad...showing him how to look up each one and remember it for the future is about impossible.

I would really like to see alot of them get together and agree on a uniform online system...Something that has the same look/feel going from one manufacturer to the next. So all you would have to do is go to their server, log in and then bam you are in and its what you are used to.

Partsmart may be faster, but I think online will be how things are done in the future. Updates can be made on their end daily, or by the second for that matter...while you wait for your quarterly partsmart update. The only downside is when your internet connection is down, or their server is down...then you are SOL. Something like was mentioned right above would be nice...where your system could be updated while you are connected and then have a copy on your end for when there are problems...