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Blog: DATAFirst: Focusing on a Process of Continuous Improvement

By Bridget McCrea

Since September 2013, Frost Supply of Maryland Heights, Mo., has been working with DATAgility, developer of data quality scorecarding program DATAFirst, to clean up its catalogue data and upgrade its corporate website. In this series of tED Magazine articles, we’re following Frost Supply through the process of improving its data quality and its e-commerce presence. Here’s an update on where the project stands, accomplishments so far, and where things are headed over the next month.

Customer Feedback Counts
Frost Supply hit a major milestone in its cataloguing and website upgrade initiative in April when it completed the overhaul of its existing web presence. According to Nick Arb, marketing manager the company was aiming for a “slick” look without getting too far off the mark from its original brand and advertising/marketing color schemes. “This site is going to make us look a bit more modern,” says Arb.

In early May, Frost Supply plans to roll the new site out to some of its heavier, long-term customers who, in turn, will hopefully provide feedback ahead of the website’s public launch. “After that, we’ll complete the last phase of testing before going live,” says Arb, who adds that the distributorship has been careful to take its time with this phase to ensure that the site is indeed ready for prime time.

“We’ve seen too many companies rush through the customer feedback step, only to have the new sites fall flat with their customer bases,” Arb explains. “We want to hear from our customers first to make sure that we’re doing our due diligence on our part, and that their likes and dislikes are taken into consideration.”

A Process of Continuous Improvement
Frost Supply has also made progress with its DATAFirst data quality scorecarding program and the cleansing of its catalogue data. After several internal reviews of the inroads made since September, the company distributed its test data to its internal sales reps and product experts. Arb says the company’s goal with that step was to “look at the data through the customers’ eyes and figure out what’s missing, both information-wise and layout wise, and what they’ll be looking for when they make their buying decisions.”

While the initial data cleanup process centered on getting Frost Supply’s data cleansed and up to date is complete, Arb says there is still more work to be done on that front. “It’s going to be a continuous process that we’re still developing,” he notes, adding that the process itself will be focused on reporting back “bad” data from the customer side and then quickly addressing those points. “The goal is to have a process of continuous growth. That’s where we’re headed.”

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.

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