Grow Sales and Support Your Industry With the SDC

SEMA News—December 2016

SEMA DATA CO-OP

By Jon Wyly

Grow Sales and Support Your Industry With the SDC

The evolution of product data management in the automotive specialty-parts industry has been a journey filled with change. From the earliest pioneering efforts by leading retailers and WDs to the proliferation of solutions available today, the quest for the truth has created substantial confusion and misinformation. I hope to clear up some of that here. Let’s begin with what the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) has set out to accomplish.

Almost five years ago, a team was assembled to work on what I have always described as a simple concept that is very difficult to execute. That task was to develop a centralized product data repository for the specialty-parts marketplace. Critical to that goal was the creation of a Product Information Management System (PIMS) that would allow members to onboard their data, get it in compliance with the industry PIES and ACES standards, store it securely, and have complete control over its distribution.

That mission has been completed, and the SDC now houses data from more than 500 industry brands, supported by a fulltime staff of data analysts who are dedicated to helping manufacturers (we call them suppliers) manage and maintain their product data. The SDC system also acts as a central distribution point, where custom export formats are created to accommodate any data receivers’ requirements, essentially creating a single source to efficiently bring large amounts of product data into their systems.

Yes, it was difficult and expensive to build, but the SDC accomplished what it set out to do. Now, as we enter a new phase of growth and member service, the focus is on improving the quality and completeness of the data housed in our PIMS. This effort is not without difficulty, as a number of suppliers are failing to fully accept the responsibility to maintain their data and keep it current with the latest applications. We will continue to work with them, just as we will continue to bring new suppliers on board as we pursue our goal of being the all-inclusive product data repository for the SEMA marketplace.

Where we see confusion cropping up is in the variety of other data-management services that appear and sometimes disappear with regularity. Some focus on data gathering and enhancement in a do-it-for-me model; others are providing data services to power their proprietary website platforms; and some are also taking up the job of distributing data to retail and wholesale users.

The challenge here is duplication of effort, which can often lead to duplication of costs. The SDC was created to provide end-to-end data-management services at the lowest possible cost and to once and for all consolidate that data into a centralized place where it is readily accessible, controlled by the data owner (supplier) and can be distributed efficiently from a single, comprehensive source. Services that offer pieces and parts of a solution or claim to have a “better way” to tackle the massive task undertaken by the SDC should be carefully vetted. On the other hand, those well-established practitioners that specialize in providing full-service data aggregation, with storage and distribution in the SDC PIMS, can and do provide valuable services for those suppliers that can’t do the work themselves.

The bottom line is that the SDC was created to serve you, the manufacturers, distributors and resellers of products in the SEMA marketplace. It is now the largest openly accessible product database in the industry, designed to be affordable for all sizes of manufacturers and free to data users. The SDC is a community resource and is dedicated to helping promote your growth and success. Please do your best to support the “home team,” and the SDC will deliver an uncompromised level of service and comprehensive coverage to power your business.

To learn more about how you can take control and manage your product data at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Membership Manager Allen Horwitz via e-mail at allenh@semadatacoop.org or by phone at 888-958-6698 x9.

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