SEMA News—February 2014
By Jon Wyly
SEMA Data Co-op Expanding to Meet Member Needs in 2014
“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.
Year one was definitely our “coming together” year. SEMA leadership worked diligently to define an industry-owned solution for product data management, committing to wisely invest in the industry’s future by undertaking a most challenging task. The fledgling staff of the SDC began the process of recruiting a participant base, testing data processes and producing the design spec for a true do-it-yourself toolset to enable SEMA suppliers to successfully manage their data and own the result 100%.
Year two was all about “keeping together.” The much-anticipated Product Information Management System (PIMS) was launched in July after several challenging development delays, and the SDC was officially in business for the first time. Industry participation and momentum continued to grow, eclipsing the 500-member mark before year’s end and setting us firmly on a path for year three, which begins next month.
Year three is our time for “working together.” The SDC has developed sufficient mass to legitimately rank as the largest single data repository in the automotive specialty parts marketplace, and members are exchanging product data to the tune of thousands of exports per week. Data receivers are joining in droves, underlining the critical importance of rich product data to power business systems, including warehouse distributors, retail brick and mortar and the web. And the SDC team continues to assess, build and adapt the Data Co-op’s services to meet the needs of membership across the board.
Now that the core of our service model is in place, here are a few coming attractions in 2014:
The SDC was built on a model of training and helping suppliers to own the data management process. Our online tools, fulltime Help Desk support and ongoing education are all designed to enable “self management” of this valuable business asset. However, we have learned over the last year or so that sometimes getting that initial data set in order and loaded can be a formidable task. In 2014, the SDC will have available do-it-for-me (DIFM) services to help suppliers get over that initial hump. Once the initial onboarding is completed, the supplier can then take over the process using our do-it-yourself tools and Help Desk support.
Utilizing the massive amount of product data being accumulated in the SDC repository, we will be developing a comprehensive online electronic catalog to showcase member products in 2014. Searchable by brand, product type, vehicle application, product attribute and much more, SEMA Search will be designed for use by industry sales people and, ultimately, by consumers to provide a one-stop resource for product information in the SEMA marketplace.
Dynamic Content on Demand
As the amount of product data continues to grow, many systems managers will be faced with having to choose what data they store locally. Limitations on storage and processing capability will likely lead to difficult decisions being made about what products, brands or categories to exclude from their offerings due to the demand of massive file sizes. Content on demand will answer this dilemma, providing the capability to access information about a specific part number and download it instantly at the point of sale rather than having to house the data in their systems.
These enhancements—and more to come—reflect the commitment to service and excellence that SEMA has made with the SDC. If you are a supplier who has not yet become part of the Co-op, please contact us today to learn how you can join hundreds of other brands in the largest single source for product data. If you are a SEMA-member reseller, take advantage of free unlimited data exports configured exactly to your system needs. We are here to help grow your sales!
To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Director of Membership Jim Graven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-958-6698 x4.