Back to School—Are You Ready to Make the Grade?

SEMA News—August 2017

In the video below, Brian Murphy, CEO of BBK performance, talks about his company's commitment to become platinum-level members of the SEMA Data Co-op.

Interested learning more about the many benefits of participating in the SDC? Read the article below, visit www.SEMAdatacoop.org, or email SEMA Data Co-op Membership Manager Allen Horwitz at allenh@semadatacoop.org to get started.

Back to School—Are You Ready to Make the Grade?

By Craig Schmutzler

August is finally here. Summer vacation is coming to an end, and both parents and kids are eager for everyone to go back to school. At first, it’s all new and exciting, but things start to bog down somewhere around October. You know, just about the time grade cards are sent out.

Report cards cause some amount of stress even for the good students. Getting evaluated and knowing my parents were going to look at my grades made me work a little harder to bring up those scores. At my house, I received a small monetary reward for doing well because my parents were trying to teach me that grades matter. I was rewarded when they were high, and, yes, I suffered consequences when they were low.

It doesn’t end when you graduate. As I transitioned from the halls of education into the world of business, I realized that I was still being graded on all sorts of things. We never escape evaluation. For instance, your company likely deals with Google reviews, Yelp scores, and credit ratings. We are also evaluated on product data, and, yes, there are grade cards.

The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) evaluates how manufacturer product data compares against the standards set by the industry. Just like when I was back in school, there are tangible rewards for exceeding expectations and “consequences” for not making the grade.

An SDC supplier’s product information falls into one of four graded levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The rating depends on the quality and completeness of the supplier’s data. Does the data include images? Videos? Are shipping weights and dimensions included?

Bronze is the absolute minimum requirement for a manufacturer to participate with SDC, and that level meets the primary needs of many warehouse distributors and resellers.

The Silver level adds dimensions such as more thorough product descriptions, bullet points and additional images.

Gold further improves the Silver data standard with the addition of descriptive product attributes and digital assets, including installation instructions and warranty information.

Platinum is our highest level and builds upon the previous three with the addition of even more all-important digital assets, descriptions, videos, kit and interchange information and more.

There is one scorecard level that has not yet been mentioned: Participating.

Participating can best be compared to the “U” that we never wanted to see on our grade cards growing up. “U” means unsatisfactory. A supplier with a participating status is not meeting the minimum requirements to score any of our four levels and is in dire need of improvement.

Receivers need quality data to drive their business processes and e-commerce sites. They are going to pull data that makes it easy for them to sell products. A Participating-level supplier just doesn’t have enough information available to entice receivers.

The good news is that we can help. We have a proactive outreach program for these manufacturers and spend a good deal of time working to assist them in the betterment of their data.

Smart manufacturers understand the importance of a “more than required” attitude. Their product data is complete, and they are the first to update their content with new applications. These suppliers manage to get an “A” from the SDC and our receivers because they not only complete their homework but also strive for extra credit.

Grades matter. As previously mentioned, there are consequences for underperforming, and there are rewards for exceeding expectations. Low grades may result in disenchanted distributors, and high grades could mean some extra spending money.

The SDC is committed to helping our suppliers make the grade. Our Data Lab is full of tutors who are more than willing to help coach our suppliers through the data improvement process. We encourage all manufacturers that would like to raise their grades to give us a call. We stand ready to assist. 

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 allenh@semadatacoop.org or by phone at 888-958-6698, ext. 9.

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