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Reasons to be cheerful - SIM PART


SIM OPS announced their intention to develop a parts trading website at last year’s FSEMC in Utrecht. We recently went live with the resulting SIM PART website. We caught up with one of the architects of the system, Graham Pritchard, to learn what this was all about, what it was aimed at and why it was being done.


Q- Sim Ops 


Can you explain what exactly SIM PART is?


A - Graham Pritchard


Yes, SIM PART is a tool, based around a web portal to facilitate companies with parts for sale, be those surplus parts from an operator or new parts from a supplier, to list their parts. Potential buyers can then browse the listings and deal directly with the seller.


SIM PART is not involved with the commercial element and suppliers set their own pricing; in effect, we look at SIM PART as a kind of dating agency!



Q- Sim Ops 


Why was it that Sim Ops decided to undertake this?


A - Graham Pritchard


Since we launched SIM OPS we have regularly had people asking us to help locate spares for them, particularly for devices no longer in production and where the original manufacturer is either not around anymore or no longer supporting them. This we have done but we found it inefficient and thought there must be a better way.


On the other side we were aware that many operators were carrying shelves full of surplus stocks of spare parts. We also see people scrapping older devices with irreplaceable parts going into a skip.


During one of our discussions with Dave White, who many will know from his days at Rediffusion, Thales, and L3H as Chief Scientist, he proposed a way to link up the two parties directly. When we started researching we didn’t find anywhere offering this kind of service so SIM PART seemed to be the natural solution.



Q- Sim Ops 


Didn’t the FSEMC do this on their website a while ago?


A - Graham Pritchard


Yes, we were aware that our friends at FSEMC had put something in place a while ago but without a great take-up, indeed we checked with FSEMC before launching SIM PART and the committee were happy for us to proceed.


Designing a suitable portal takes a lot of time and commitment and the requirement to know and understand the customer base. Drawing on the experiences of our partners I think we have come up with a site that will benefit the industry as a whole.



Q- Sim Ops 


When did the system go live?


A - Graham Pritchard


We made the website active at the end of March but, apart from a notice on Linkedin and a few selected personal contacts, we haven’t yet actively promoted it. We realise that people are busy and that it will take some time for companies to add their parts. Hence we consider this a “soft launch” and as the administration is done by the SIM OPS partners we are expecting a gradual build-up over time.


In addition, as I say, people are busy so we are also offering to set up accounts, configure and load lists of parts on behalf of the customers if they send them to us.



Q- Sim Ops


If a supplier lists their parts will they be able to influence their listings over those of competitors?

 

A - Graham Pritchard


We’ve been careful with the design of the searches to ensure that there is no bias toward any supplier, we don’t intend to have algorithms that promote one supplier over another. We want to make it fair for everyone.



Q- Sim Ops 


So what does SIM OPS make out of this?


A - Graham Pritchard


Actually, initially, nothing. We have borne all the costs associated with the development ourselves. Whilst we will save some time trying to locate difficult-to-find parts for people we can foresee a subscription model sometime in the future, although certainly not within 2024. As usage grows there will, no doubt, be a need for a full-time administrator and moderator.



Q- Sim Ops 


What about the future functionality?


A - Graham Pritchard


The natural progression is to add other services to the tool. As an example, we often get asked where people can get items repaired and feel that repairs would be a good complement. We have also had some suggestions about parts loans/rentals. Beyond that, we have several ideas for other services that can be added over time.



How do I find out more?


First off we encourage you to take a look at the SIM PART website, https://www.sim-part.com/, and subscribe or, alternatively, contact us at simpart@sim-ops.com and we can help you get started and/or set up an online demonstration


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