Built by parts people for parts people
In 1987 a young parts interpreter stood in front of his microfiche reader and thought, there must be a better way to find parts. By day, Wayne Sinclair sold vehicle parts for a prominent dealer in Sydney, Australia. By night he taught himself programming at his kitchen table.
Wayne observed that no matter how experienced the interpreters in the shop were, they all made some mistakes interpreting the symbols, abbreviations, and codes of the microfiche. Part of his job was to process the parts that had to be returned to the OEM because they were incorrectly selected. That could be 4% to 8% of the parts ordered. He also saw unintentional mispricing occur, as busy parts interpreters misread part numbers from the catalog or mistyped them into the DMS.
Wayne had the idea that it would be possible to program a personal computer to interpret the symbols, abbreviations, and codes of the microfiche. Then it would automatically cross-check for supersession, look up the price and build an order in the DMS. So during the following three years, he was parts man by day and programmer by night. Throughout that time, Wayne showed his prototype Electronic Parts Catalog to every Parts Interpreter and Manager who was interested. He took on board their feedback and suggestions and programmed them in. His “MicroCat” was truly an EPC created by parts people for parts people.