Soundings Trade Only article about the Huggins Cross Reference System


One of the biggest challenges facing today’s marine dealer service departments and repair shops is finding replacement parts. Huggins Outboard Computer Programs, Inc., based in Raleigh, N.C., has come to the rescue with its Huggins Cross Reference System. This state-of-the-art program, which is available for computers running Microsoft Windows, helps dealers and repair shops determine parts availability, sourcing, and prices for engine parts.


“Not every dealer is an authorized dealer,” said company president Robert Huggins. “Some marine businesses might be authorized to repair a Mercury Marine product, but they also repair Evninrude, Yamaha, Suzuki, Volvo, etc. And some marinas might only sell one brand but are expected to service every engine in the marina.” You know the drill, just fix it!. 


The Huggins Cross Reference System helps dealers determine if a part is available as a dealer-only item or from an aftermarket source. It lists parts available on the aftermarket by the manufacturer, part number, wholesale cost and suggested retail price. In many cases, the system also offers side-by-side photographs of the OEM and aftermarket parts for easy comparison.


“This is really important to the repair shop,” Huggins said. “If the shop buys the factory replacement part from the local authorized dealer, they will pay a retail-based price, perhaps minus some professional discount.” Through a parts distributor, however, the dealer often can buy the same part at much more favorable wholesale price. “The price difference often is $40 on a $100 part,” he said.


When it comes to older engines, manufacturers often stop making parts after about 10 years. And the factory parts that are available often are back-ordered during peak seasons. In both instances, Huggins said, these parts typically can be found through aftermarket suppliers.


The Huggins Cross Reference System now includes a Quick Reference guide that allows users to select the brand, year, horsepower and model and find a list of common repair parts that fit that particular engine. “Clicking on the repair part then shows the cross reference with its aftermarket sources for this part,” he explained.


Huggins started the company in the 1980’s as an offshoot of the Huggins Outboard dealership in Albany, Georgia. That’s when he came up with the idea to computerize his inventory and add a point-of-sale system. “The dealership needed something user-friendly while still providing a wide breadth of useful reports and utilities,” he said. “This new software would grow to be one of the most popular inventory control programs among marine dealers.” Today, he said, the system is used by roughly 1,000 dealerships and repair shops nationwide.


Every module of the Huggins System has been tested and proven reliable in a marine dealer environment. Huggins Outboard Computer Programs, Inc. also offers programs for inventory control, point-of-sale and customer service records.


For more information, contact Huggins Outboard Computer Programs at (919) 787-1836 or visit