SEMA News - June 2010
How Does Your Business Compare?
|The SEMA Financial Benchmarking Program was developed in order to provide SEMA members with financial benchmarks they could use to help measure and compare their business operations with others in the industry.|
The program provides business owners and managers information, such as: how their year-to-date sales compare with other specialty-equipment companies; how their shipping costs compare to those of other companies; and what other companies spend on advertising.
How the Process Works
Data is collected each month from three different market segments: manufacturers, distributors and retailers. This data is collected, anonymously, by Hedges & Company, through a SEMA Financial Benchmarking questionnaire that is e-mailed to participants. Those companies who participate receive a free copy of the SEMA Financial Benchmarking Report for their specific segment. The report includes sales tracking and sales forecast data as well as average gross margin, quick ratio, operational overhead, shipping costs, R&D, customer returns, advertising/marketing expense and inventory turns.
All information collected is kept confidential. The data is tabulated and tracked in aggregate. For those who might be familiar with the program, the questionnaire was recently redesigned to be faster and easier to complete by allowing participants to provide data based on ranges selected from a pull-down menu.
How It Benefits Companies That Participate
|Year-to-date sales comparison for manufacturers.|
Companies that participate in the program are the first to receive the most recent financial information. They also receive the reports at no charge. The reports become available approximately one month after they have been released to Financial Benchmarking Program participants. SEMA members who do not participate in the program can download the reports for $50 each, while non-members can download the reports for $99.95 each.
To expand on the usefulness of the program, and subsequent reports, let’s take a look at some of the data contained in the reports. Again, there are three different reports, targeted at three different market segments.
|Year-to-date sales comparison for retailers.|
Here is what regular participants in the program have said:
“Eastwood participates in SEMA Financial Benchmarking because it lets us see how the industry is doing at a glance instead of resorting to hearsay and rumor. This is a great service organized by SEMA to get real industry numbers published in a confidential manner. That’s what I look for a trade association to do for its members, help its membership—especially in these current economic conditions.
Owner, Eastwood Company
|Year-to-date sales comparison for distributors. In December 2009, more distributors than manufacturers and retailers reported that sales were up compared to December of 2008. A decrease in sales compared to previous years was felt more by manufacturers than by either of the other two groups.|
California Car Cover Company
“We use it to get a true sense of where the industry’s heading. It’s a difficult industry to get a handle on since it’s so fragmented. I think it’s a great report.”
Vice President of Finance,
The data presented here are just examples of what is contained in the reports each month. The more companies that participate in the program, by providing anonymous information, the better the data will be. If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact Julie Hedges at 234/380-1650 or Julie@HedgesCompany.com.