OptiCat and JNPSoft: Creating the industry strategic advantage
Charles Johnson, CEO, OptiCat and JNPSoft
OptiCat and JNPSoft – Creating the industry strategic advantage
Charles Johnson is a passionate automotive Leader. He is the CEO of OptiCat and JNPSoft. Charles and his teams continue to develop software programs, data and data services which assist suppliers and receivers in the creation, secure validation, delivery and receiving of high-quality catalog data destined for ‘selling positions’ in the market. OptiCat and JNPSoft are Auto Care Association standards compliant, focusing on ACES™ and PIES™ across the USA and Canada. He speaks on an array of topics in an interview. Excerpts:
Conception of the OptiCat business
The idea for OptiCat was germinated by the needs of suppliers to achieve several important objectives, or mandates, related to their catalog data. Charles shares that several drivers led to the conception of the business including providing data delivery systems that improve the speed of secure supplier data delivery to customers from up to nine months to “near real time”. Improved quality of data and simplified communication with data receivers on data issues was yet another reason. OptiCat does not own the supplier data, only the supplier does, throughout the OptiCat data system. This eliminates the challenges for suppliers that some data catalog companies might modify the data. It is fair to say that OptiCat has changed the data market for the better.
In the same context, the JNPSoft business acquisition by our majority shareholder, TecAlliance GmbH, and now an integral part of our business, gives us an expanded product portfolio that complements the needs of suppliers and data receivers in the areas related to data preparation, including product information management, vehicle data and full data management services. JNPSoft offers the most awarded automotive aftermarket PIM (product information management system) available in North America, and this along with combined offerings of TecAlliance global data products gives us the capability to serve both national and global players.
Rediscovering automotive sector
“The players in the automotive sector are now rediscovering themselves by adopting digital transformation in line with a consumer shift towards online shopping and convenience”, observes Charles. “However, with tremendous growth comes challenges, risks and opportunities that our business helps suppliers and their customers address more effectively.”
“The digital transformation has, indeed, taken hold in many markets and certainly in mobility. Most of your readers know the impact of online shopping by consumers and businesses searching for products prior to buying, either online or in person at a brick-and-mortar location. To address this, quality and quantity of information are important considerations in communication with the marketplace. The OptiCatOnLine.com Data Research Catalog provides a reference library of the most current and complete data for use in the marketplace”, adds Charles.
“The addition of JNPSoft allows companies to offload the responsibility of data management to our company and gain the attractive benefit of utilizing “world class” data capabilities without the challenge of keeping-up with the latest technical, human, and data compatibility developments, all at a lower cost”.
For Charles, “Leadership is providing an environment in which things get done… and the right things.” He continues, “given this, we start with developing common values that center on our customers, our people, our communities, and our performance, and then we “walk the talk”. Collaboration is an important part of this process, as one person does not, and should not, have all the answers. We want to accumulate all the best ideas to provide a solid foundation, and this also applies to consideration of strategy for the future.”
Charles provides several ideas for success, “Preparation, resilience, lifelong learning, seeking first to understand and then be understood (reference author Stephen Covey), sit in “lots of chairs” to gain experience, find good mentors and move away from bad ones as soon as possible, and of course bring your family along for the ride as you will need them to be with you along the way!”