Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) is a nonprofit, dues-paying organization whose members include dealers, manufacturers, business system providers, and automotive related industry organizations. More....
As a member of STAR, you will have the opportunity to help develop voluntary industry information technology (IT) standards, which can improve the operational performance, effectiveness, timeliness and competitiveness of your company and it’s business partners...More...
The meeting agenda will be available here
STAR Value Proposition: OEMs
The Automotive industry finds itself today faced with serious challenges. Competition in the marketplace has never been tougher. There are new products coming to market every month. The price of gas, and the debate around alternative fuels has added complexity to an already complex landscape. Brand loyalty is at an all time low. To top it off, all this is happening in an uncertain economic climate. It has never been more important to run an efficient business than it is today.
One critical resource we need to optimize is information technology. Like most manufacturers, you and your dealers have made significant technology investments in the past. A business strategy that makes sense in uncertain economic times like these is concentrating on getting the most value from investments you and your dealers have already made, by focusing your efforts on savings through increased efficiency. It also means optimizing your current investment in IT. The organization we know today as Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) was incorporated in 2001, but actually it began much earlier when a group of automotive manufacturers got together to discuss how they could collaborate to reduce the cost of Information Technology for their dealers.
STAR has worked diligently over the past seven years to develop standards for technology in the automotive industry designed to help dealers and manufacturers accomplish just this goal. Here's how you, as a OEM, can benefit from this work.
A common mechanism for exchanging data with your dealers:
One main area of focus for STAR has been helping manufacturers and dealers establish a standard way of exchanging business transaction data (parts orders, warranty claims, retail deliveries, etc.) between themselves, with systems vendors, and occasionally even customers.
In the past each OEM required their dealers to have a proprietary or custom solution to transfer this data that was expensive, slow, and less secure. Multi-franchise dealers often had several different methods to perform this data transfer, which doubled and even tripled the cost, without improving the quality or performance of data transfer.
The introduction of the Internet as a secure means to transfer business information, together with steep price reductions in the cost of broadband Internet service from national carriers created the perfect opportunity to optimize the cost of data communications for dealers, manufacturers and vendors alike. All that was needed to make this happen were standards governing the use of this new resource. This is where STAR has made significant contributions on the industry's behalf. By developing open standards and guidelines for the use of this resource, and encouraging all automotive manufacturers and retail systems providers (RSPs) to adopt these standards STAR has helped dealers and manufacturers to realize the some significant benefits. They include:
Provides a robust, secure method of exchanging key operational business information. This will improve the accuracy and efficiency of processing routine business transactions (parts orders, warranty claims, etc.) for both dealers and manufacturers.
Provide an efficient and reliable way for the OEM to receive the operational planning information they need (parts movement and capacity, service capacity, etc.) to accurately plan the growth in dealer networks, parts distribution centers, and the like.
The standards provide the OEM with a common, known web development environment in every dealership that uses the same technologies used by the OEM in their corporate systems. This results in better utilization of finite IT development resources.
The dealer IT infrastructure uses the same technology used by the OEM in their corporate systems. This allows the OEM to leverage the knowledge and skill of their internal IT staff to assist dealers in planning or expanding their IT infrastructure.
Corporate volume discounts for IT hardware and software negotiated by the OEM from their vendors could be provided to dealers to save them money in establishing the needed infrastructure.
The simplified, common technical environment at the dealership will result in reduced support costs for both dealers and OEMs. Anticipates emerging technologies and will enable them. This will create new opportunities for improved customer service and profit at reduced start up cost. Establishes a strong and reliable communication channel for the dealer to their customers.
Fully automate business transactions:
A key area for significant and recurring savings for dealer and manufacturer alike is automating the transfer of business information from the dealer's Dealer Management System (DMS) to the OEM and back again.
This is where the promise of automation can truly be fulfilled. In order for the dealer or the manufacturer to run their business effectively they require information from the other party. In too many cases today, this information is being collected and provided manually by your staff. Or worse, it is coming from one computer, the dealer's DMS system, and is being "re-keyed" into the OEM's systems. This is not only a poor use of your people's time, it exposes the dealer to "re-keying" errors, which take time and manpower to correct, and may embarrass the dealer to their customer.
The same is true when the OEM sends business transaction data from their computers to the dealer. Without automated interfaces, the dealer's staff will have to enter, post, or process this information manually, when their DMS system is better equipped to handle this task. The OEM and Dealer System Provider (DSP) members of STAR have worked diligently to develop standard data formats for the most common business transactions exchanged between dealers and OEMs. The DSPs have developed the required software to build these transactions from data within the DMS system and the OEMs have developed the software to process them at their end. So these business transactions are processed without human intervention. This was the promise of automation, to simplify and improve our lives. By using the common data interchange standards OEMs and dealers can expect to realize the following benefits:
Business transactions are handled computer to computer, without manual intervention in most cases. The resulting manpower savings can be put to better use within the dealership, either saving cost elsewhere, or generating profit for their business. (note: studies have shown this time savings can range from 10 to 15 hours per week for a small dealer, to 40 to 50 hours per week for a large dealer)
In some cases the automated interfaces replace manual processes and the "mailing" of documents from the OEM to dealers, which saves manpower and mailing cost for the OEM.
Since the standards are already in place for many key business transactions, the development time to realize them is reduced, saving money for the OEM and dealer. As the standards are the product of the requirements of all OEMs that participate in their development, they provide the OEM with knowledge of the ideas and processes that other OEMs are using in their business. It provides the basis for knowledge-sharing.
Provides the ability for "real-time" transaction processing. This translates into faster service from the OEM, or vendor, helping the dealer deliver better service to their customer. It also gives both the dealer and OEM a more current snapshot of information which can be important to decision-making in many situations.
The STAR "validation" environment allows the OEMs to test and certify the interfaces before they are deployed to the field. This reduces the risk of errors in the field.
Open Standards provide freedom of choice:
One final, unanticipated benefit that dealers and OEMs can expect from acceptance and use of these standards in their business is more freedom of choice when choosing retail system providers.
Since most of the major retail system providers subscribe to STAR standards, dealers can more easily migrate from one provider to another, knowing that the dealer infrastructure for the most part will remain intact and not require additional investment, and that the data interfaces provided by the OEM will be available on other retail provider systems as well. So the dealer will not lose the benefits of this automation by changing vendors, if that decision is in the best interest of their dealership.
It has always been true that an open and competitive marketplace is best for all parties concerned. The dealer will have freedom of choice when considering systems and the vendors will have a common platform on which to build their systems. They can then compete in the market based on who has the best system, for the best value.
What you can do:
From this overview, I hope you'll agree that the work of STAR is benefiting dealers and OEMs alike. If you want to support this work, there are some things you can do to help. Make a commitment to support the STAR Infrastructure and data exchange standards. Join STAR and get involved in the development of new standards that will get still more value from the IT investment you and your dealers have made.
Make sure that the retail systems providers you work with, and in fact all of the IT vendors used by you and your dealers, support and embrace STAR standards in their products. This sends a clear signal to your dealers and vendors that you want to capitalize on efficiency by using these standards During challenging economic times like these, we must do whatever is possible to get the most benefit from the investments we have already made before setting off in search of new profit opportunities.
A significant benefit of STAR membership for you to consider:
One additional benefit of STAR membership to you, as an OEM, is the ability to meet and network with a broad range of IT professionals from complimentary and competing companies.
Through your direct contact with DSP and RSP IT professionals you can be apprised of their plans and challenges. This will afford you ample opportunity to include this "business intelligence" into your dealer systems development plans.
You will also have access to technical professionals from other OEMs and even competitor companies. Since the spirit of STAR meetings and work groups is sharing of technology ideas, these exchanges of information can prove extremely valuable in identifying and avoiding problems experienced by other OEMs and competitors working on similar projects. This can easily save your company many times the cost of STAR membership.
Please note that the DTS has been retired. The information is still available but no longer modified or supported by STAR.
STAR has created a set of flat file business process data transfer specifications for use in the automotive retail industry. STAR refers to these flat file data transfer specifications as DTS. These specifications may also fit the needs for other automotive related industries such as Power Sports, Heavy Duty Truck, and Marine. The specifications are continually evolving to the meet our members changing needs.
STAR currently has over 19 flat file data specifications covering process from Parts Management, Vehicle Inventory Management, Vehicle Service, CRM, etc. The current DTS can be found in the DTS page.
The N-1 version of the DTS can be found in the N-1 DTS page. STAR only supports the most current release, and the prior year release of the DTS.
This transaction was designed to transmit information from the receiver of a transaction to the sender. It could acknowledge receipt of the transaction or provide feedback on errors in the received transaction.
The scope of this DTS is to transmit Standard Codes information to/from the dealership. Standard Codes is the task of sending the Standards Codes information electronically between Dealer and OEM systems.
The scope of this DTS is to define the Service Appointment for individual consumers
who schedule service appointments with their local dealership via the Internet.
The scope of this DTS is to transmit dealer Financial Statement information. This may include Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, and any other Financial Statement related information.
The purpose of the Parts Activity interface is to track the movement of a given part number in and out of a virtual "parts bin". This would enable the user to know whether a part was issued to a Customer RO, Warranty RO, Wholesale Invoice, Counter Ticket, etc. This would allow for better tuning of Auto Stock Replenishment and Parts Logistics algorithms.
The Parts Dispo file provides formulas for automatic part replenishment
based on the assortment classification and forecast values. When the dealer creates a new recommended stocking order, the new parameters are used to determine the correct stocking levels. This way the dealer is using the OEM recommended stocking levels for parts.
The scope of this DTS is to define the Parts Inventory process of transmitting the dealer's extracted parts inventory file (full, incremental, etc.) to the OEM. NOTE: Although this is the traditional use of the Parts Inventory BOD, this BOD could be used to send Parts Inventory information between any two business parties.
The purpose of the Parts Invoice/Shipment DTS is to transmit (in electronic form) a Parts Invoice and Shipment information from an OEM’s order management system to a Dealer's order management system. The Parts Invoice/Shipment contains information associated with Parts Orders received by a dealer from a Manufacturer.
The scope of the Parts Master DTS is to transmit
The purpose of the Parts Order DTS is to transmit a parts order to a supplier’s order management application. The PARTS ORDER is the task of sending the electronic form of a parts order document to a supplier.
Parts Pick List
Parts Pick List is the task of picking parts electronically from a Dealer’s electronic parts catalog (EPC) and transmitting it to the dealer management system (DMS).
The scope of this DTS is to define the Parts Return process for individual dealers sending Parts Returns to their OEM. Parts Return is the task of submitting part return information electronically between Dealer and OEM systems.
Wholesale Parts Compensation
Used to report, to the manufacturer, wholesale parts sales made by the dealer. This may be transmitted weekly, daily or up to many times per day.
Vehicle Management & Sales
The scope of this DTS is to report the "sale" of a vehicle at the dealership. Retail Delivery Reporting is the task of sending the Retail Delivery Reporting information electronically between Dealer and OEM systems.
Transmits vehicle information to the dealership reflecting the manufacturer's understanding of current dealer sales and/or inventory. Invoices are typically transmitted at the time of manufacturer processing of Delivery Reporting transactions. Inventory reports may be transmitted at dealer request, and/or at times of other relevant reporting.
Vehicle Repair & Service
Provides dealers with the ability to query labor operation code by VIN prefix to identify service operations. The application and the LOP code information supporting this transaction are housed on an OEM Web server eliminating the need for tapes and batch file transfers.
The scope of this DTS is to define the Repair Order process for individual consumers who service their automobiles through their OEM’s authorized Dealers. The focus is on Dealer and OEM interactions, not third party repair organizations.
The scope of this DTS is to allow for claim payment acknowledgment and claim denial data to be electronically retrieved from the Manufacturer.
Why Join STAR?
Over the past 15 years we have grown from an idea to an organization whose mission is to create voluntary industry standards that reduce cost and complexity for dealers, while increasing innovation and returns for all members.
As the STAR organization grows, so does its portfolio of standards, guidelines, and member implementations. These accomplishments and the momentum that STAR is gaining are a direct result of, and attributed to, the participation of our membership. Each member organization brings with it subject matter experts, business process knowledge, and most importantly, it’s commitment and support of industry standards.
As a member of STAR, you will have the opportunity to help develop voluntary industry information technology (IT) standards, which can improve the operational performance, effectiveness, timeliness and competitiveness of your company and it’s business partners.
In addition to the numerous general benefits listed below, STAR offers solutions to the unique issues faced by Manufacturers (OEMs), Retail Service Providers(RSPs), and Dealers.
The existence of an international standard for automotive credit data that supports web services allowed Ford Motor Credit's GDI to provide a single, consistent inter- face across multiple markets. As GDI expands to additional dealer systems and markets, we have a proven, widely accepted message structure to offer our partners.
– Ford Motor Credit Company , Dearborn, Michigan
We have enjoyed having to develop once, and to customize as other members need enhancements. This has provided a good ROI on our Development team, and provides a much shorter timeline to complete applications.!
– PBS Financial Systems , Calgary, AB, Canada
RouteOne has benefited by having a set of professional data architects working to create a standard that we can use in our messaging transactions. Without that, RouteOne, and likely each of our partners, would have to duplicate those resources. The STAR organization has consistently worked very effectively with RouteOne as we continue to rapidly enhance our products to meet the evolving needs of our integrated providers.