SEMA News—June 2013

By Jon Wyly

Do-It-Yourself Product Data Management?

It’s Easier Than You Think!

Jon WylyNot too long ago, it took an expert in HTML to enable you to launch a website for your business. It was all very mysterious and was often communicated in a “trust us, you wouldn’t understand” manner. Today, there are numerous ready-to-go platform solutions that have made what was once an expensive and expertise-intensive process into a do-it-yourself reality. In fact, many business owners today are finding that understanding their business technology and managing the details internally is not only relatively easy to do, but also brings a whole new level of control into the business that most often produces better results while saving money.

Much like web platform solutions, a lot has changed in the wonderful world of product data management. There are now tools that take away the mystery of this apparently complex and labor-intensive task. Specifically, the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) Product Information Management Systems (PIMS) has automated the complex elements of data management into a user-friendly web interface that truly puts you in control.

The SDC has packaged all the mystery and complexity of the industry data standards into a state-of-the-art solution designed with users in mind. In fact, it almost looks too easy! You can start with almost any data file you have, and our fulltime live help desk will work with you to identify and fill out any missing data elements, upload the file into the system, validate your data for compliance to the standards and store it securely in our repository for export to your customers.

This highly efficient process not only produces customer-specific data exports, but also does so in minutes and hours—rather than days, weeks or months. For example, let’s say you are launching a new product and you want to get it on the street as soon as possible. As a Data Co-op member, you simply upload or manually enter the new product into the system, send it to real-time validation and, if it passes, the data goes directly to the repository for distribution to your customers. The system will automatically notify your customers that you have new product information waiting, and they can download it immediately or receive it on their next scheduled delivery.

Another important feature of the SDC is our close relationship with each of your customers. We work directly with each of these “receivers” of data to document their specific data needs, and we design and store a custom export format especially for them. As you know, some receivers can use standard ACES and PIES exports, but many have specific requirements that can become a real management chore (think load sheets). For an SDC user, the system automatically takes care of all data exports, ensuring consistent, accurate data exports with literally no effort!

It really comes down to this: Find a part-time resource in your company who can own the process of gathering, updating and loading your data into the SDC system, and let the technology do the rest. After all, nobody is more qualified to create your product data than you are, and to rely on an outside source to control your published product details and content is risky at best. With the SDC, not only will you take direct control of your data, content and marketing messages, but you will also own the result 100%, as it should be.

Don’t let a lack of understanding keep you from managing this critical business element! We’ll show you how our DIY approach will save you time and money and produce better results than you have ever experienced, without all the mystery, delays and expense that are costing you dollars and sales.

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact Director of Membership Jim Graven at the SEMA Data Co-op at or call 888-958-6698 x4.

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