Data and the MRN
MRN continues to look for partnership opportunities with the SEMA Data Co-op. Members may contact any of the MRN leadership for more information, including (from left) Former Chair Joel Rosenthal, Chair Les Rudd, Immediate Past Chair Tommy Jourdan, Chair-Elect Vic Bennett or SEMA Staff Liaison Bryan Harrison.
The Manufacturers’ Representative Network (MRN) has continued to collaborate with the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) to provide valuable and user-friendly benefits to reps. Over the past few months, several exciting projects have received attention. Here is an update for MRN members.
MRN-SDC Export Template
First, the MRN-SDC export template is ready to use. The SDC has built a comprehensive flat file format that can be run for manufacturers at any time—either on a regular schedule or only when updates are needed. The export-scheduling feature allows reps to choose the frequency and type of updates they receive. They can choose Net Changes (only new information since their last export) or Full File Refresh (a complete new file each export) and can schedule them to run daily, weekly, days of the week, monthly or dates of the month.
To date, there have been more than 230 exports using the MRN template, and it has received great feedback from users—but this is only one of the formats available for data exports. Once an agency is set up as a receiver, it can create its own custom template with more or less information, depending on individual needs.
MRN Certification Program
The MRN Certification Program will launch a fifth module this summer. The web-based educational series helps manufacturers’ representatives learn more about what the SDC offers through courses designed to build confidence in discussing the data-management system with customers. Participants have three weeks to complete four sessions and quizzes. Those who successfully complete the series receive a certificate of completion and are recognized as SDC ambassadors. The new module is designed to keep already certified MRN members abreast of updates and changes to the program.
The product data available to representatives through the SDC is valuable because it helps drive sales. Clean data gives exposure to new products and reduces the number of returns due to wrong products being sold. Through the certification program, reps can assist their suppliers with new product additions, content building and receiver-specific data requests. This load-sheet knowledge helps to ensure a good fit between suppliers and receivers. It also relieves the burden of customer-specific load sheets for every new part number and allows for better customer service. To date, more than 100 reps have completed the first four modules.
A commonly asked question is if the courses can be finished at any time or if reps must start from the beginning after a certain period of time. The flexibility of this program is one of the things that makes it so valuable. All courses are now available through SEMA Education, and the progress of each rep was transferred from the original Mindflash platform. Reps who need to pick up where they left off or would like to begin the certification process can register at any time by contacting Jim Graven at jimg@SEMAdatacoop.org.
The SDC is also focused on a data-quality and completeness initiative through a new score-card program designed to help suppliers better meet the data needs of their customers. Each supplier receives a score-card level that reflects his or her level of data quality and completeness based on an overall view of SDC data receivers’ needs.
Bronze is the minimum required data set when a supplier completes the initial onboarding process, designed to meet the primary needs of many WDs and resellers. The Silver level builds on that data set, adding dimensions, more complete descriptions, bullet points and additional images. Gold further improves the data set with the addition of descriptive product attributes and digital assets, including installation instructions and warranty information. The pinnacle of data is the Platinum level, which builds upon the previous three levels with the addition of even more assets, descriptions, videos, kit and interchange information and more.
The SDC team is working daily with suppliers to help them achieve these “steps” in data improvement as painlessly as possible, resulting in a more valuable, productive and sales-producing data set to serve their customer bases. Reps are encouraged to work with their participating suppliers to help achieve their next level of data validation.