SEMA Member News - July/August 2009
Providing the Necessary Information for Making Educated Credit Decisions
|The SEMA Credit Reporting Group held a meeting the SEMA offices in April. In attendance were (front row, left to right) Anna Ser-Manukyan and SCRG Chair Debbie Haskell of B&M Racing & Performance Products; SCRG Vice-Chair Jean Franks of K&N; Virginia Baker of KC HiLiTES (back row, left to right); Chuck Fausch of Dee Zee; Caroline Perkins of Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels; and Deborah Quiroz and Marie Arranaga of Westin Automotive Products.|
The face-to-face meetings are held quarterly at locations chosen by the group and normally held in cities where customer visits can be easily made. At the face-to-face meetings, SCRG members discuss openly and confidentially the current and historical trade payment history and operations of mutual customers. Anti-trust laws are observed at all times during meetings to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the group.
The discussions at a normal meeting cover approximately 75 customers as well as deliberations on market conditions, best practices and collection tactics. Another key benefit of these face-to-face meetings is the chance to network with peers from other companies, which has proven to be exceptionally beneficial.
The leadership of the SCRG group always tries to schedule meetings in conjunction with a presentation and a tour with a prominent customer. In the past, the group has had presentations and facility tours with customers, such as Keystone Automotive Operations Inc., Transamerican and Competition Specialties Inc. In August 2009, the group will meet in the Cleveland, Ohio, area and will be given a presentation and tour by the management of Atech/Summit Racing. In November 2009, SCRG will once again meet during the SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
There is a nominal yearly fee to participate in the program, but there is no per-meeting fee, and member companies are responsible for only their travel and lodging expenses. The return on those invested dollars is significant, as just one piece of information learned at a meeting can more than pay for the membership cost and travel for the entire year.
As mentioned earlier, there are also eight monthly credit cycles in addition to the four face-to-face meetings. The same information is disseminated for these cycles as is gathered for the meetings. First, SCRG members are asked to submit customers names for which they would like to have trade information generated. Once those names are compiled and organized by the group administrator (MEMA Financial Services Group Inc., MFSG) the members are sent the listing and asked to provide any and all current trade payment information they have on file for each customer. MFSG compiles this data and puts it into an individual report for each customer. The SCRG group book is then sent to each member for review and use. As described earlier, members use this as the basis for their discussions at the face-to-face meetings.
The use of this data is beneficial not only for the obvious reasons of having accurate, timely and factual data on existing and prospective customers, but it’s also a great way to maintain compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley rules of having current and complete customer data on file.
The data is just a small part of the benefit of membership in the SCRG group. You will also build valuable relationships with other credit and financial executives who are fighting the same battles you are day in and day out. These relationships will enable you to find out details about a customer’s pay habits and current business condition. The information and knowledge you gain from participating in the group can help you decrease bad debt losses, process new accounts faster and, best of all, lower your day sales outstanding.
MFSG has been administering SCRG from its inception and is intimately aware of the situations occurring in the motor-vehicle industry. The group has been serving as the source for credit and financial information in the industry since 1916. As an SCRG member, you will receive updates on key accounts and will be able to talk directly with the analytical staff about particular accounts or trends and conditions in the industry. Here is more information on MFSG, or contact Monica Terlouw at 909/396-0289 x150 for enrollment information.
SEMA members participating in the Credit Reporting Group, encourage your company to take advantage of this excellent benefit. The industry moves quickly; make sure you can keep up.