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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Official: BMW PNPC (Part Number Price Comparison) v2.8.3
Quick, easy, and efficient price comparison across multiple BMW parts vendors.

Wanted to make an announcement about a project I've been working on that many might find useful. I launched this comparison tool a few months ago and have been surprised at how much traffic it’s gotten since then. Visibility has mainly been kept to E46Fanatics.com, but wanted to get some feedback from a broader audience.

Have been benefiting from the BMW community for a good number of years and am excited to be able to give something back. This originally started off to suit my own needs, but thought others could benefit from it, and it took off from there. Hopefully this answers many of the questions about finding reliable vendors, quality parts, and reasonable prices, and helps automate the process of parts shopping.

This comparison tool takes any BMW part number (including spaces, dashes, etc.) and returns matching products from over twenty vendors. Results are returned in a single browser window, each site in its own tab. Select which vendors to compare, save your default selections, customize settings, and more. You can also search directly from Word and Excel documents, even online DIYs. BMW PNPC runs on Windows machines, works across multiple browsers, and is available for download at www.bmwpnpc.com. There is no install necessary. Simply download and use.




Benefits & Feature Highlights
Comparisons can be made by simply typing in a part number and selecting your preferred vendors. This can also be done instantly on any highlighted part number by holding either "CTRL" or "SHIFT" and "right-clicking." For those with Excel spreadsheets or parts lists, this feature is particularly useful. If you're reading through a DIY online that provides part numbers, or researching parts on RealOEM, this feature is beneficial to quickly get an idea of availability, what everything might cost, and the best places to acquire parts. See graphic below and video under "Integrated Search" for a few examples.


Search results are returned in your default browser window (additional browsers may also be specified), each site conveniently in its own tab. Select from over twenty of the most popular and frequently shopped vendors and optionally choose to save those selections as your default for next time.

With this tool, you can even search the M5Board classifieds, along with several other forums, for the part number you're looking for. And while not everyone includes the part number in their "for sale" listing, it's a useful feature to have. You can also search RealOEM and Penske Parts if you're interested in viewing a part diagram or the associated hardware.

Amazon and eBay are included, as well, since they're basic mainstays of shopping. When it comes to quality BMW parts, though, I think many would recommend looking elsewhere first, but if you would like to search Amazon or eBay, the ability is there.

For anyone looking to do a maintenance overhaul, you may have found that some bundled kits include mediocre brands to help keep the cost down or don't include all the parts required to do a thorough job. By searching for each part individually, you can often buy better parts for a similar or cheaper price. Researching any number of parts across multiple vendors can be time consuming and this tool helps cut that time drastically.

For those who like to make a list of parts and wait until they hit vendors' free shipping thresholds, this tool better enables you to quickly check prices and adjust orders with multiple vendors accordingly. Mix and match the best priced parts with the best shipping rates.

SPECIAL NOTE: The most recent update now includes a "quick check" beta feature for OE Genuine BMW parts. For now, this "quick check" is simply a convenience, partially as a proof of concept and still a beta feature, but it may evolve to encompass other manufacturers over time. Again, this does not include other brands, only the OE Genuine BMW part. If you'd like to see all available parts from your selected vendors, and a true representation of all parts and price differences, please use the "Compare Sites" button. Will still be working on this feature, but feel it's usable in its current state. Speed is obviously dependent on your internet connection, number of vendors selected, and how quickly each website responds (I've been averaging around thirty seconds to run the entire list).



Compatibility & Ease-of-Use
Below is a video demonstrating some early functionality and compatibility across multiple browsers and programs (select "full screen" for best clarity):

<iframe width="800" height="450" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jJ47zKvFX2A?vq=hd1080&rel=0&showinfo=0&wmode=opaque" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

BMW PNPC runs on Windows 32-bit and 64-bit machines and supports a number of web browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Opera, as well as other Mozilla variants including Cyberfox, Waterfox, and Pale Moon.




Final Thoughts
My priority is providing a good user experience and efficient price comparison across some of the most popular BMW parts vendors. If there's additional vendors you'd like added or a feature you think could be useful, please let me know. You can also find the answers to some frequently asked questions by visiting the FAQ section of the site, located here. Over the years, I've purchased parts from almost every vendor on the list and find this tool to be incredibly helpful.

Cheaper isn't always better, but more knowledge is. While this is a "part number price comparison" tool, many vendors have different shipping rates, warranty policies, and customer service. Whether you shop with every vendor available, are loyal to a specific two or three, or simply interested in checking availability and finding the best price around, this tool can help streamline your shopping experience and save time and money.

Check out the latest version of BMW PNPC, available for download at www.bmwpnpc.com.


Thank You

If you find this tool useful, and if you'd like to show your appreciation for the work that goes into it, would you help support my efforts by making a donation? I'm a big privacy advocate and no personal information is collected whatsoever. I do have some analytics set up on the website to see how many times this tool is downloaded and I'm excited to see how much use it gets. I have a great deal of respect for those willing to share their personal experiences and knowledge and hope this adds to the resource and wealth of knowledge that is the M5Board community.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Code:
[B]Version History[/B]

v2.8.3
[B]·[/B] New vendor and forum classifieds added
[B]·[/B] General usability improvements
[B]·[/B] "Quick check" detection improvements (beta)

v2.8.1
[B]·[/B] New vendor and forum classifieds added
[B]·[/B] "Quick check" detection improvements (beta)

v2.8.0
[B]·[/B] "Quick check" feature for OE Genuine BMW parts (beta)
[B]·[/B] New forum classifieds section
[B]·[/B] Additional vendors added

v2.7.1
[B]·[/B] Additional vendors added

v2.7.0
[B]·[/B] New settings tab allows for program/search customization
[B]·[/B] Added "CTRL" or "SHIFT" + "Right-click" search feature

v2.5.0
[B]·[/B] Default browser detection for Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Opera
[B]·[/B] Added keyboard "Alt" shortcuts
[B]·[/B] Additional vendors added

v2.4.3
[B]·[/B] Additional vendors added

v2.4.0
[B]·[/B] Compiled to run on both 32 and 64-bit machines

v2.3.0
[B]·[/B] Part numbers now accepted in any format
[B]·[/B] Added user error handling for blank part number, special characters, etc.
[B]·[/B] Added ESC button function to exit program/cancel search
[B]·[/B] "About" section updated

v2.0.0
[B]·[/B] New graphic interface with checkboxes for individual site selection
[B]·[/B] Program window 'always on top'
[B]·[/B] Additional vendors added
[B]·[/B] New logo/icon

v1.0.0
[B]·[/B] Basic input box that searches predefined sites for a part number
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's pretty damn cool. Hopefully you come out with a Mac version soon.
Thanks; that's probably the most popular request. Creating a Mac version is certainly something I'd like to tackle in the future, but can’t promise anything at the moment. May have to consider that a bit more seriously, though.
 

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By god, this is quite amazing. I wish I had this a little while ago when I was jumping from site to site comparing prices :haha:

Shipping always seems to be the major difference (for the most part) between sites though. Regardless, I will definitely use this tool :)

Great work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate the positive feedback.

I’ve had a couple other people ask about a UK version, however, they never got back to me on vendors. If you’ll send me a list of reliable vendors you shop with, I’d be more than happy to include them in the program. For convenience, I’d probably just add a “UK” tab to the top row that would include those sites.

Have also had a decent amount of people show interest in a VW/Audi version, so that is currently in the works, as well.
 

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Great tool. Will have to see if it functions via wine in Linux. An iOS and android app would be great too as most of my browsing has migrated to tablets.
 

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This is a very nice tool. I especially like the OE Price finder. In several cases of parts searches, Morristown BMW was cheapest (by a wide margin on some parts). I wasn't aware that there could be so much variance on dealer price on their direct parts sales. I would like to see you add more dealer direct OE's to the look up.

It looks like the service the dealers use for their sites is "Trademotion". If you Google BMW, PARTS, TRADEMOTION you will get a load more dealerships. It would be cool if there were a way to go directly through trademotion to get a full listing of dealers in the network and then just incorporate them in to your search tool.

Keep up the good work.
 

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Nice!! I wish I had this tool a while ago when I made a spreadsheet comparing the prices of all the parts I wanted to buy. :( Definitely going to check this out. :applause::clap::thankyou:
 

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Another suggestion, which you may have already thought of: using the OE price function (which I understand is in beta) either the vendor or the price retrieved should become a link to the vendors page for said item.

I am not a fan of opening bunches of tabs, so the OE Price function is great. So, after to the above is implemented ( :) ) I would like to see the OE results saveable in a .CSV format (or straight Excel). So columns would be Vendor, part number, price and link to site.

Finally, just a note on OE Price performance: 1. for part number 51412499125 (front Caramel door panel) it is not highlighting the lowest price item in green, rather the highest. (version 2.8.3) 2. For Turner Motorsports, they did list the item, but I had to click the "more information" button to get the price... so the tool showed Turner's price as blank.

Don't take the above as any kind of negative review... this is SUPER. But like all good users, we just want MORE... :>)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is a very nice tool. I especially like the OE Price finder. In several cases of parts searches, Morristown BMW was cheapest (by a wide margin on some parts). I wasn't aware that there could be so much variance on dealer price on their direct parts sales. I would like to see you add more dealer direct OE's to the look up.

It looks like the service the dealers use for their sites is "Trademotion". If you Google BMW, PARTS, TRADEMOTION you will get a load more dealerships. It would be cool if there were a way to go directly through trademotion to get a full listing of dealers in the network and then just incorporate them in to your search tool.

Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the suggestion. It's possible for me to go through and include all the Trademotion BMW dealerships, but would like to keep the main list to quality over quantity. Like the idea of having a list specific to online BMW dealerships, though, as it could be useful for BMWCCA discounts, anyone picking up locally, etc. Will take a look and see just how many there are and the best way to handle them all.

Surprised, as well, at the frequent price difference between dealer parts, and while I haven't ordered from them yet, BMW of Morristown does appear to be pretty competitive on OE prices.

You should add shmiedmann to your company list :) One of the largest bmw part dealers in europe.
Will do; thanks for the recommendation. I'll include them in a tab for international vendors in the next update and see where the list goes.

Another suggestion, which you may have already thought of: using the OE price function (which I understand is in beta) either the vendor or the price retrieved should become a link to the vendors page for said item.

I am not a fan of opening bunches of tabs, so the OE Price function is great. So, after to the above is implemented ( :) ) I would like to see the OE results saveable in a .CSV format (or straight Excel). So columns would be Vendor, part number, price and link to site.
Clicking the vendor name currently toggles its checkbox, but I’ll look into doing something with the OE price value. That "quick check" feature works great for vendors with Genuine BMW parts, and for OEM and aftermarket parts, I’ve thought about approaches that avoid tabs. Currently, however, it’s the easiest method for comparing multiple brands for a single part number without getting into a complex pricing matrix.

Like the idea of being able to get the OE Price data out of the program and into text form. If you’re looking to buy multiple OE parts from a single vendor, it would make shopping list comparisons a little easier, especially with Excel.

Finally, just a note on OE Price performance: 1. for part number 51412499125 (front Caramel door panel) it is not highlighting the lowest price item in green, rather the highest. (version 2.8.3) 2. For Turner Motorsports, they did list the item, but I had to click the "more information" button to get the price... so the tool showed Turner's price as blank.
Nice catch on the highlighting error with prices above $1,000. Looks like if the comma isn’t listed in a vendor’s price, it’ll throw off the math. I’ve gone ahead and fixed this by simply removing commas altogether, which should also take care of any issues in the future with vendors who don’t punctuate their prices. If you re-download the program (still v2.8.3), it’ll include this small change, and the next major update will ensure it’s fixed for all users.

Regarding Turner Motorsports, I actually haven’t set up the “quick check” feature to include them, as their search results page doesn't directly list the brand, and I had difficulty finding parts that were consistently labeled as "OE" or "Genuine BMW." Believe I have a workaround for this, however, and am looking to fix this in the next update.

Don't take the above as any kind of negative review... this is SUPER. But like all good users, we just want MORE... :>)
I'm always appreciative of feedback and excited you guys are putting it through its paces! Have a list of things I'd like to do, just need to find the time.

I'll be sure to keep this thread up-to-date with future improvements. Thanks for all the comments and support.
 

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Thanks again for this tool. Just saved me $83.00 on MAF's today. I was all set to buy from Bimmerzone @$149.95 each (sensor only). Then I thought I should try running the OEM part on your PNPC. I seriously doubted that I would get a better price. But then there it was. RMeuropean came in at $108.49 each for the complete assembly. Total $216.98 shipped (free fedex ground)!

This is a good tool. Keep tweaking away at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Glad to hear it’s working well and saved you a decent amount of money!

Actually working on the next version as we speak. Have some useful updates for all those points in the last post above, including making it easier to build Excel spreadsheets for multiple part numbers.

Should have that ready to go in the next week or two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Update: BMW PNPC (Part Number Price Comparison) v2.9.0

Update: version 2.9.0 is now available for download and includes a number of new features, vendors, and improvements. Most notably is a new tab for international vendors and the ability to export instant “OE Prices” to Excel for easy spreadsheet creation.

There is a new video, as well, which replaces the much earlier and outdated one in the original post. Updated video covers some of the main features and includes chapter sections for easier navigation. The Excel pricing matrix, as seen in the video below, is also available for download. Website includes some new sections, as well, and more information on everything below the fold:

<iframe width="800" height="450" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JY00alUh0Dk?vq=hd1080&rel=0&showinfo=0&wmode=opaque" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Additional Vendors Added:
- BMW Parts 4U
- BMW Parts Pros
- Schmiedmann (Europe)

OE Price Detection Improvements (beta):
- Turner Motorsport now supported
- General detection improvements

Integrating Turner Motorsport was more of a challenge than any other vendor, due to their site and page layouts, as well as the inconsistencies in identifying Genuine BMW parts. If language other than “Genuine BMW” or “Original BMW” is used to identify a part, price detection may skip it, but have had good luck with the results so far. As of now, the “OE Price” feature is available for every vendor that sells OE Genuine BMW parts.

General Usability Improvements:
- Clicking in OE Price column selects single vendor
- “Save Settings” button tweaks

After running an instant price search, clicking in the OE Price column will now select a single vendor for easier launching of individual sites. Because of this, the “Save Settings” button has been tweaked to no longer save settings on each exit. Click once and your settings will remain unchanged until you do so again.

New OE Price Export Feature:
- Export OE prices to Excel after search

For easier handling of multiple part numbers and building pricing spreadsheets, OE prices can optionally be copied to the clipboard (pre-formatted for Excel) after each search. For those looking to run multiple part numbers, the included Excel template calculates the cheapest total cost from a single vendor, as well as the price savings of buying everything individually. This template was designed to be used in conjunction with the instant "OE Price" feature of BMW PNPC, but feel free to modify it to your liking (click here to download).



The main website has undergone some changes, featuring a new “ChangeLog” and "About" section for full details on future updates, as well as some additional entries on the FAQ page. As always, the most up-to-date version of BMW PNPC is available for download on the homepage, here. For details on past and future releases, be sure to visit the changelog page, here.

This shopping tool has come a long way in the past couple months and most of the updates and improvements in this version were suggested by other people. Appreciate all the feedback from everyone so far. Give the new version a spin and see what you think. If it saves you a decent amount of money and you'd like to show your appreciation by passing along some of the savings, please click here to donate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update: BMW PNPC (Part Number Price Comparison) v2.9.1

Hope everyone had a great new year. Wanted to quickly mention that the 2.9.1 update now includes Clickable Automotive on the “International” tab for users in Australia.

I'm also working on some layout changes for the next major update (v3.0.0), which will switch to a horizontal layout and allow for additional vendors on the main tab.

Also wanted to mention that support for Audi is now here. The Audi PNPC tool is currently available for download at www.audipnpc.com and offers similar functionality for those who are interested.

Thanks!

P.S. Due to my post count, I'm currently unable to send PMs. Wanted to ask, if I ever get around to putting together a list of positive comments for the tool, would any of you guys mind if I used some of yours?
 
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