A question that was repeated a few times at the NAED National Meeting in Chicago was “How’s your year going?” The answer, it seems, might not be accurate, no matter who is answering.
Are you up a few percent? How does that compare with other distributors in your area? Are they up a few more percent? The truth is, you don’t know. But, now you can get a better idea of how you are doing in your specific market, and with specific products, thanks to the new NAED Market Data Program.
Created over an 18 month period by a team of marketing people from variously sized distributors who belong to NAED, the Market Data Program will help you make smart, strategic decisions about your future planning, instead of just what you are learning on the street.
NAED has created a micro-website for the Market Data Program, which will help answer any additional questions you might have. You can go to the site by clicking here.
Members of the NAED Market Data Task Force and Dan Vita of D+R International discuss the new Market Data Program at the NAED National Meeting in Chicago.
In a panel session called “Market Data is the New Gold”, members of the task force, along with Dan Vida of D+R International, introduced the Market Data Program to a full room of distributors. With gold selling for about $1,293 an ounce at the time of this writing, the Market Data Program may be even more valuable than gold.
The NAED Market Data Program will provide the information you need to make strategic decisions that will impact how you run your business in the future. It works by having members anonymously report their data. It is only available to NAED members, and it will be managed by D+R International, a 35-year-old data collection company. The data is encrypted, just like the data provided for the PAR reports. No one at NAED will ever know the data you provide. Once there is enough data from your market area, you will be able to receive the reports and start planning strategically instead of making decisions on your hunches.
“For WESCO, we had a couple of areas where this is useful,” Dave Sandora of WESCO explained during the session. “Strategic planning, we wanted to know what are the opportunities in a certain area. Sometimes we think we have a good sense of that and sometimes we don’t have a very good sense of that. If we can integrate this with our internal data, we can make decisions much sooner and get ahead of the curve.”
Shari Else of Border States agrees. “We made a lot of decisions not based on data. Looking ahead at our planning, we need to know if we are serving the markets that we serve,” she told the crowd.
While WESCO and Border States are larger distributors, the Market Data Program has a tremendous amount of value for smaller distributors. “We don’t have the staffing as larger distributors, but I can have access to the same data as the larger distributors at the same time they receive it,” Joanne Moss of Standard Electric Supply reported. “Most of you don’t have data analysts on your staff. By participating, you get to play on the same level as any size distributor without having to add staff or spending a lot of money to get the information. They will even help you interpret it if you want. It takes the mistakes out of forecasting.”
A very large crowd gathered at the NAED National Meeting to learn more about the Market Data Program.
Everyone on the panel pointed out that participation is a key driver. If a few distributors participate it’s not going to work. D+R International will not release any data until they feel it is accurate and that it does not directly point to the results of just one or two distributors in an area. And, the Market Data Task Force is aware that data security will be important. D+R reminded the crowd that it does not own the data, and cannot do anything with the data, so there are no avenues for them to validly share your data. It’s a secure process, and you can feel comfortable about being a part of the program.
“We are all so reluctant to share our data, but pooling it to get the information we are looking for is important. We have never really had a tool like this made by distributors for distributors,” Else said.
D+R International pointed out that HARDI (Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International) already uses a Market Data Program of their own. They have about 100 participants, and the information is only distributed after D+R can confirm that it is accurate and the identities of the participants are kept confidential.
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