Yes, It's Still About the Data

SEMA News—October 2016


By Jon Wyly

Yes, It’s Still All About the Data

When I was first introduced to the magical, nerdy, technical world of product-data management, the newly minted Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association data standards were just gaining traction. The biggest players on the replacement-parts side of the business were diving in, and the SEMA market was barely interested. But thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, the seeds of data management were planted, and now, nearly 20 years later, momentum is building and hundreds of SEMA companies are embracing their data-management obligations.

“It’s all about the data” was a phrase that was coined and driven by data pioneer Jerry McCabe. It was the mantra of this hardworking bunch as they set about the process of educating, promoting and designing solutions to bring effective product-data management to the SEMA space. We all owe sincere thanks to these dedicated volunteers (apologies to anyone I missed): Mike Williams, Bob Castle, Scott Luckett, Bob Moore, Craig Lee, Ed Heon, Doug Winsby, Dan Jondron and, of course, Jerry McCabe.

Their work was often provided at the expense of personal time and wedged into busy day-job schedules, and many of these folks continue to push the cause. Sadly, we lost Mike Williams and Dan Jondron along the way, but their legacies survive in the form of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC), a solution that years ago they could only imagine. Today, it is not only a reality but also a terrific success.

That brings me to the important moral of this story: What a difference active volunteers can and do make in our industry. If not for this group, SEMA would very likely not have pursued a data-management solution, and all the benefits of the SDC would never have been brought to the marketplace. Instead, through their efforts and vision, the SDC is now the industry’s largest openly accessible product database, supporting more than 470 brands, 4 million part numbers and 50 million vehicle application records—and growing every day. More importantly, the SDC is delivering thousands of data feeds each month, powering product exposure and sales at tens of thousands of wholesale, retail and online locations.

It was a great pleasure being a part of the volunteer movement that created this important industry solution. As a group that shared a common bond, our friendship and respect for each other survives to this day. In fact, the new cause that many of us share is spreading the word about the SDC and recruiting more and more manufacturers to get their data organized and published in the SDC database. Those that have done so are, in most cases, seeing remarkable increases in sales and are also reaping the benefit of having total control of their data-management process.

Do you know companies that should be working with the SDC? Let us know about them, and we will arrange informative system demos and discuss all the ways that effective data management can help drive sales growth and success.

To learn more about the SDC and how to make your product data generate more sales, contact Director of Membership Jim Graven via e-mail at or by phone at 888-958-6698 x4. Effective product data management is more affordable than you might think.

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