All of us who work in the world of vehicle parts and handle parts data are familiar with the term “TecDoc ktype”. But do we really know what it is, the advantages it brings to the market and the intrinsic limitations it has?
The “TecDoc ktype” is nothing more than a numeric identifier associated with a vehicle definition (brand, model, type, year) and used by the various brands to link their products.
This mechanism is not the only way to define the parts’ applications: there is also what is known as configuration fitment, which consists in establishing for each part, and on the basis of some 30 or 40 vehicle properties, the values for these properties with which the part is compatible (sometimes we can even establish values of properties with use restrictions, that is, which establish incompatibilities).
An example of configuration fitment could be:
Type: I (275), II (256)
Drive Type: AWD
Fuel Type: Petrol
Engine: B5254T2, B5254T9… (as many as necessary)
Transmission code: 30681190… (as many as necessary)
Steering side: Left, Right
As you can see, we are listing different values for different vehicle properties. It may seem a bit complicated, but it is helping us establish, with maximum precision, with what combination of vehicle properties a given part can be installed.
It is clear that depending on the type of part whose applications we wish to define, more or fewer properties will be required to specify exactly where the part can be installed. Say, for example, you sell foot rugs. Maybe with just two properties, like brand and model, you’d already have enough precision to define your parts’ applications and it would be the equivalent of hundreds of “TecDoc ktypes” which we’d otherwise need to list and maintain one by one.
However, if you happen to be a transmission manufacturer, you’ll be able to define the exact properties you need in order to determine, with maximum precision, where each transmission may be installed and, in this way, when we search by application, we’ll find exactly the part we need.
Even though vehicle manufacturers use configuration fitment in their databases, the bad news is that the aftermarket in Europe seems to have opted for simplifying everything and using defined fitment (like the “TecDoc ktype”) which are simpler to use.
What is the price we pay in the aftermarket in Europe for using defined fitment instead of configuration fitment? The granularity or level of detail. In this case, the granularity provided by defined fitment is much lower and has a direct impact on the precision of the information we obtain.
When we search, for example, for a transmission or an alternator using a “TecDoc ktype”, we normally find more than one part and therefore have no way of knowing exactly which one is the part we need.
To fully understand our situation here in Europe, it must be explained that searching by license plate or chassis number in aftermarket databases fails to add any form of additional precision to the results, because internally, what happens is the license plate or chassis number is transformed into a “TecDoc ktype” to thus be eventually searched for in the same database with data where the parts are linked.
In the next article, we’ll show you different examples of imprecision in the results of defined fitment searching and perform a thorough analysis of the level of precision we get when we run application-based searches for different product families. The results will surprise you!