Arguably one of the greatest hockey players ever to pick up a stick, Wayne Gretzky is also credited with one of the most insightful quotes ever about focus and achievement: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” This simple thought captures the essence of staying ahead of the game: Think ahead, pay attention to where things are going, and go for it! Whether you are anticipating future trends in automotive accessories and performance or you’re staying on point with business technology, it’s critical to always be looking forward.
Are you Setting the Bar or Doing the Bare Minimum?
Chotchkie’s Manager: We need to talk about your product data.
Joanna: Really? I have 15 fields….
Chotchkie’s Manager: Well, okay. Fifteen is the minimum, okay?
Chotchkie’s Manager: Now, you know it’s up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum. Or, well, like your competitor, for example, has 37 data fields, okay? And great digital assets, too.
Data Receivers: Now Is the Time to Speak Up!
July marks the end of the first full year of operation of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) Product Information Management System (PIMS), and this fledgling new business is well on its way to becoming what we intended it to be—the definitive centralized product data repository for the SEMA marketplace. Now hosting more than 300 supplier brands of data, 2 million part numbers and more than 30 million vehicle application records, the SDC is a legitimate and valuable source for product data to power wholesale distributor (WD), retail and web businesses.
It’s been quite a year for SEMA on the technology front. Just last May, the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) went live for the first time with a fully functioning Product Information Management System. Since that time, more than 300 industry suppliers have engaged with the SDC to gather, validate, store and distribute their product data to more than 350 data receivers—a number that is growing every week.
In order to eliminate as many roadblocks to data distribution as possible, the SDC is providing free unlimited data exports to all SEMA-member receivers, along with proactively helping suppliers improve their data sets with expert Help Desk services and powerful, online, do-it-yourself data-management tools.
A smart person in the industry that I respect a lot recently told me: “I’ve drowned a lot of horses trying to make them drink.” This, of course, references the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Thinking about what he said, I found that, sadly, I could relate to his frustration through some of our experiences at the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC). In most cases, it boils down to prioritization.
There’s no question that product data management is critical to business today. Thankfully, a good many companies on the supplier (manufacturer) side are stepping up to meet their customer’s needs while growing their own sales opportunities.
SEMA’s Vice President of Vehicle Technology on the State of Advanced Vehicle Technology and What’s to Come
The race to define future vehicles is on. Competition for the future of the auto industry is rapidly evolving between Silicon Valley and Detroit. While product is king, vehicle electronics and software rule. The recession accelerated the auto industry’s transformational changes, which are required for growth as well as the reinvention of vehicles—from mechanical to electrical systems, from stand-alone to connected, and from mass markets to personalization and customization. The changes we are going through today will impact the performance aftermarket industry for decades to come.
With the spring selling season gaining momentum, now is the time to be thinking about how to get your share of sales in the months ahead. Economic forecasts look promising in many areas, meaning we could be looking at some strong signs of normalcy coming to the marketplace after a seven-year drought! With that positive swing, however, will come more aggressive competition than ever. Businesses that have struggled to keep inventory available will be filling the shelves, and competitors will regain market position and confidence as their business kicks in.
So how do you stake your claim early and keep that competitive edge? It’s back to the basics, with strong inventory availability, great customer service, multifaceted marketing and a competitive position on price.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
It’s almost hard to believe that the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) was officially launched just two short years ago with one employee, an ambitious mission and a handful of industry hopefuls who were willing to test drive an idea that, by all accounts, was going to be difficult at best. It seems appropriate as we approach the end of our second year to stop and take a look at where the SDC has been in its short existence and what the future holds for us in the coming months.
Vulnerability Awaiting Plunder
“With data collection, ‘the sooner the better’ is always the best answer.”—Marissa Mayer
It’s a simple truth in today’s business environment: Data is driving business like never before, whether it’s data about customers, products, competitors or any number of other factors that determine how well informed we are. For those of us in the automotive specialty-equipment trade, “data” is typically talked about in terms of product data—all of the properly presented words, numbers and pictures that illustrate the full rich value, function and desirability of a particular product.
How Robust Data Has Improved Business
The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC), the industry-owned data repository, moved from Beta phase into full operation just last summer. Since then there’s been a lot of talk about “clean data” and the need for manufacturers within the specialty-equipment industry to “take control” of it. ACES, PIES, long descriptions and even product photos and videos are now critical to sales in today’s digital age.