Distributors discuss the relative simplicity with which they’ve been able to set themselves up for participation in the NAED Market Data Program.
Ever since its launch in summer 2018, distributors have been embracing the NAED Market Data Program based on its promise of delivering participants a growing volume of distributor-specific data that will ultimately enable them to assess their market size, determine their market share in a range of categories, and track industry trends for the first time. And while some distributors have been hesitant to get involved based on the perception that set-up is laborious and time-consuming, those who have taken the plunge report that it’s a fairly simple and short process.
Following, executives from three different firms nationwide – John Cain, president of Wiseway Supply in Florence, KY, Barry Carden, executive vice president and chief digital officer at Mayer in Birmingham, AL, and Sheila Hernandez, vice president and chief information and technology officer at Summit Electric – share their real-life experience with the set-up process for the NAED Market Data Program and why they were eager to participate in this unprecedented industry initiative.
tEDmag: When you first heard about the NAED Market Data Program, were you initially concerned about the time and effort it might require on your team’s part?
Cain: We were a bit concerned about the time it might take, as we don’t have a full-time IT person, but we participated to be good industry citizens.
Carden: We weren’t concerned, as our ERP system gives us great flexibility in reporting and can produce data in multiple formats. We approached this as we’d approach any other project.
Hernandez: We weren’t concerned. All of the required data was already resident in our data warehouse.
tEDmag: Please share a bit about the actual process involved for your firm in getting set up to participate in the program, the length of time it took, and the people/systems that you needed to put in place.
Cain: We’re on the Eclipse ERP system and the Market Data team provided us with the Eclipse dictionaries and reports that we had to write to extract data. I was surprised that it only took us about 20 man-hours over just a few weeks to complete our set-up and didn’t require an IT person to do it! The NAED Market Data team from D+R International did a lot of the heavy lifting for us and gave us the backbone of the process. We had no idea that the process was going to be as easy as it was.
Carden: In terms of the tools required, you’ll need to be able to export data from your ERP system based on the specifications and provide the data in the format defined. Actual work on the project involved 7-10 days for specification review and programming and four days of development time.
Hernandez: We’ve set up an automated script that pulls the data and creates a file and it was pretty quick and easy for our marketing team to do this.
tEDmag: What would you say has been the most challenging part of your set-up so far?
Cain: We had to ascribe NAICS codes to our customers, which we’d never done before, but even that wasn’t very hard.
Carden: Loading the historical data took the most time due to the volume of data, but the NAED team and D+R International representatives were easy to work with and were always available to answer questions and help in any way.
Hernandez: We run SAP’s ERP and Business Intelligence systems. Our data team pulled the initial bulk load and the marketing team has the ability to take it from there. It was pretty straightforward.
tEDmag: What final takeaway message would you like to share with other distributors concerning set-up and participation in the NAED Market Data Program?
Cain: Data is the currency that will help make our sales, growth, and business development plans more targeted and accurate. Participating was much easier than I thought it would be and really didn’t even rise to what I would call “project” level. Distributors need to be made aware of how simple the set-up really is so that they’ll participate for everyone’s benefit.
Carden: From a project development perspective, this project was low-impact on our resources. It’s important for our industry to provide this information to strengthen our market presence/share and overall sales and market coverage.
Hernandez: Data is king and once there are enough participants in our market to begin generating output, we plan to incorporate the NAED market data into our overall market analytics program.
For more in-depth details from these distributors on the actual process involved in getting set up to participate in the NAED Market Data Program, check out the January 2020 issue of tED magazine!
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