SEMA DATA CO-OP
By Jon Wyly
Clearing the Air on Product Data Management, Part II
Questions From Your Industry Peers
Continuing the theme from our last column in the October issue of SEMA News, let’s look at some questions that came from the Council Summit in Pomona, California, back in July. The folks attending this event represented a great cross-section of the industry, and all were very inquiring minds that made for some great conversation and questions.
The goal in presenting some of these questions is that they may help you better understand the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) and help explain why effective product data management is so critical to business growth today.
Question: Why should my company support the SDC?
Answer: As the only industry-owned and -operated product data management solution, the SDC truly is a cooperative effort with the goal of increasing sales through large-scale distribution of data to businesses throughout the marketplace.
Our non-profit status enables us to invest heavily in state-of-the-art tools and services, providing a lasting solution that is secure and stable and bringing these services to the industry at the lowest possible cost. By the time you read this, we will be closing in on a total membership of more than 750 suppliers and receivers, putting us well on our way to being the largest single repository for product data in the automotive specialty aftermarket.
In addition to these organizational benefits, we have recently launched SEMA Search, a comprehensive online electronic catalog that is powered by the data in the SDC and is free to all participating suppliers. Designed to be a powerful reference tool for salespeople around the industry, SEMA Search is gaining traffic every day.
We also offer fulltime, live Help Desk assistance throughout the entire process, from initial onboarding to ongoing maintenance, and we ensure that suppliers in the SDC always maintain total control and ownership of their data.
Question: Will using the SDC require extra resources at my company?
Answer: It really depends on the current state of your product data, but in general terms, we have found that the real challenge for the typical supplier is in gathering the initial data set and working back and forth with our Help Desk to fill in missing elements. This process is what we call the initial onboarding, and it does require that someone in your organization take ownership of getting that first data set into shape, with lots of help from our data experts. After that, the ongoing maintenance has normally been manageable by one person on a part-time basis. Typically, an existing member of the marketing team or sales group makes a great choice for this responsibility. Just be sure to have a backup person trained in case someone leaves on short notice!
Question: How much does it cost to use the SDC?
Answer: Thanks again to our nonprofit status and to the efficiencies designed into our Product Information Management System, our fee range for suppliers is only $100–$600 per month for unlimited data storage, validation and exports to an unlimited number of customers. There is no charge for the onboarding process, and there are no start-up fees. The SDC will work with suppliers to gather their data, bring it into the industry standard ACES and PIES formats, validate it for compliance, and publish the data to key receivers before there are any fees collected.
For data receivers, we offer customized export formats and unlimited data exports free to SEMA members, with approval from their suppliers.
To learn how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SDC Director of Membership Jim Graven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-958-6698 x4.