Staying the Course

SEMA News—April 2017


By Craig Schmutzler

Staying the Course

New Leadership, Same Dedication to Excellence

  Craig Schmutzler
Craig Schmutzler, SEMA Data Co-op vice president of operations.

It is an interesting fact that articles in the world of print must be written a couple of months in advance of publication. While writing this for the April edition of SEMA News, I sit at my desk, during the first week of January, pondering what is in store for the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) and its members in 2017. As I step into my new role and shoulder new responsibilities, I feel compelled to share our collective vision for the SDC and our commitment to its members.

First and foremost, we are here to serve the industry. Our mission is to help our members’ businesses succeed and prosper by offering the industry’s most complete standards-compliant data repository. We support more than 500 participating brands and are committed to assisting suppliers in providing the best possible product presentation across all of their distribution channels.

Our number-one priority is to further improve the product presentation of our suppliers. We are working to automate both processes and reporting so that we can better support suppliers in their quest for data excellence. This year, we have three key projects about which we are very excited:

  1. Data quality automation.
  2. The overhaul of our online data-management tool’s user interface.
  3. The introduction of a moderated forum.

Data Quality Automation

Our data-quality automation efforts focus on creating a system to further enrich the data quality of our suppliers. The purpose of this is to support the demand from receivers for higher-quality images, descriptions, attributes and fitment. As part of the automation project, we intend to begin delivering data health reports to our participating brands each and every month. These reports will highlight both areas of opportunity and recent positive changes in data sets.

User Interface

Work on our user interface is scheduled to begin during the second quarter. We have a comprehensive set of online data-management tools that function very well; however, we have received feedback that our system could be a bit more user-friendly. We agree. To that end, we intend to improve the overall user experience by increasing system responsiveness, optimizing overall system efficiency, and presenting a fresh new look on the pages. Our goal is to create a clean, ergonomic interface that is easy to navigate and intuitive to use.

Moderated User Forum

One of the projects that excites me most is the creation of a moderated user forum. The goal of the forum will be to provide members with a place where they can exchange ideas and best practices as well as an opportunity to quickly provide feedback to the SDC in a community environment. We feel that there will also be opportunities to crowd-source system enhancement ideas while providing a vehicle for the SDC to communicate release notes and other important announcements with its members.

At the SDC, we continue to be strong proponents of “If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.” Good isn’t always good enough, and great can often be better when it comes to data. We work very hard to grow your businesses and promote your successes, but we can’t do it alone. Truth be told, we need your help. If we work together, the concerted and collective effort will yield stronger results.

We need receivers to be vocal with suppliers when the data isn’t meeting their needs, and we need suppliers to be responsive to requests for improvements and proactive in the ongoing maintenance of their data. We stand ready to assist, and we welcome your ideas, questions and concerns. All of us at the SDC look forward to partnering with you in what should be a very promising year.

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 email at or by phone at 888-958-6698 x9.

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