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AAM’s Journey with PDM Automotive for Future-Ready Catalog Management

How American Axle & Manufacturing is Bringing the Future Faster with PDM Automotive

The problem: American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) needed a dynamic solution for managing an extensive parts catalog for its aftermarket division.

The solution: The team utilized PDM Automotive to map product catalog data ahead of schedule and on budget, ultimately enabling AAM to provide critical product data in the latest ACES and PIES standards.

Thurston Adams, AAM’s Head of Aftermarket and Service shared how PDM was a critical partner to #TeamAAM during this project and beyond.

PDM allows us to communicate in the same language as our customers—effectively and dynamically.
Thurston Adams
Head of Aftermarket and Service

AAM drives forward in the automotive aftermarket

As a leading global Tier 1 Automotive and Mobility Supplier, AAM designs, engineers and manufactures Driveline and Metal Forming technologies to support electric, hybrid and internal combustion vehicles. Headquartered in Detroit with over 80 facilities in 18 countries, AAM is Bringing the Future Faster for a safer and more sustainable tomorrow.

An important first step in AAM’s catalog mapping project was choosing an effective product information management (PIM) system. Together with the AAM team, Adams evaluated the current systems available with an emphasis on selecting a cloud-based SaaS that could deliver and unlock the value of high-precision product data.

The changing nature of aftermarket content and inventory management required a dynamic software program, and PDM’s cloud-based services checked every box of the teams’ requirements list. Most critically, this new, cloud-based system would require less intervention and maintenance from other functions internal to AAM, like IT, to update existing and legacy databases.

After evaluating different PIM options, AAM selected PDM Automotive for their parts catalog management partnership.

Communicating with aftermarket customers

“PDM allows us to communicate in the same language as our customers—effectively and dynamically.” –Adams

To enhance AAM’s customer-facing tools, AAM needed an innovative solution to help communicate available content to all existing and potential customers. The complexity of aftermarket part numbers means that one part number may map to 10 or 20 industry part numbers, making it a challenge to share data with a variety of aftermarket clients. However, PDM leverages ACES and PIES formatting—an industry standard—ensuring AAM’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively within other data systems.

In January, Adams began working with the PDM team to map AAM’s core categories to ACES and PIES. The project was completed by April, a month ahead of the program’s schedule. Within just three months of leveraging PDM’s platform, AAM was able to map all its categories to the aftermarket standards. Adams shared, “Not only did we map our product data and expand our parts catalog, we did it ahead of schedule and on budget.”

Adams said PDM immediately made an impact on the business. “We now rely on the data that is in PDM for driving our product and business-related decisions. We can use the part numbers mapped through PDM to improve our inventory management and create operational efficiencies throughout our supply chain. Having the data in the cloud has made communicating with our customers and channel partners easier. The result has been increased speed to market for new product launches.”

A new system means new opportunities

Using PDM, AAM can map its parts catalog with a renewed focus on product categories targeted for growth. Within the first hundred days of completing this project, the company saw positive results in every major category mapped to PDM.

“We were able to use PDM to accomplish this critical project in record time, helping to modernize our business and keep AAM current to ACES and PIES standards.” –Adams

AAM’s next steps into the automotive aftermarket

AAM currently has plans to expand its catalog even further with PDM. Adams says, “The best is yet to come.”

The company is now able to enter new markets (like e-commerce) with a growing customer base, and PDM also enables AAM to expand its relationships with current customers.