Why are Illustrated Parts Catalogs (IPC) Important?

Updated: May 16

Illustrated part catalogs provide an illustration or 2D exploded view of a system that helps the buyer confirm that they are ordering the correct part. Buyers need a way to identify spare parts visually and verify their location on equipment.


An Illustrated Parts Catalog Offers 24/7 Service

Whether printed or online, it enables an after-sale network to look up part numbers, place an order, or contact the manufacturer for a quote for the items on their list.



The IPC Should Be Your Single Source of Truth For Spare Parts

The IPC being the single source of truth is a controversial statement; many organizations will argue that the service bill of materials in their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is their single source of truth for spare parts. The problem with the ERP being the single source of truth is that parties external to the organization don't have access to it. Therefore, organizations believe that the ERP is the single source of truth while the clients and customers think it's the IPC. Automatic synchronization between the ERP and IPC solves this problem.


What Does An Illustrated Parts Catalog Contain?

An IPC can contain anything that a manufacturer might want to communicate to its network, but there are three must-have fields:

  • Part number

  • Part name

  • Part description

You'll often find these fields in a table format under an exploded view of a system. See below for an example from Metso.




5 Examples for Illustrated Spare Part Catalogs








Great IPCs Contribute to Efficient Networks

When a manufacturer sells a product, it also promises that it will work as intended for a long time. It's fair to assume that the equipment will break down at some point in time. An unplanned failure is a real test for any support network. Accurate and up-to-date service information, spare part availability, service technician training, and factory support all need to combine to get the equipment functioning as quickly as possible. The weakest link will be the bottleneck in the process. Every bottleneck creates frustration and lowers the lifetime value of the customer.

There is also a silver lining; every contact point is also an opportunity to increase the customer's lifetime value by providing the right resource at the right time to solve the problem. A great IPC will delight customers and help manage expectations.


An IPC Can Help Manage Customer Expectations

When equipment breaks down, only two things are going through the customer's mind:

  • When will it be fixed?

  • How much will it cost?

Providing additional fields in the IPC such as inventory levels, shipping time, alternate or substitute parts, back-order delays, and pricing in local currency all help answer the two essential questions. Answers to these questions help service technicians and service advisors provide accurate information to the client. A complete IPC will also indicate any other items that the manufacturer recommends replacing at the same time to prevent future failures.


Why Does AFTR Care About IPCs?

We help manufacturers efficiently create and deliver accurate and high-quality 3D content for after-sales to users when they need it most.


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