April 22, 2021
Kelly Young has been with 4 Wheel Parts for over 21 years and was well aware of the difficulty of managing parts data. Earlier this year she finally had enough and decided to look into a better way to handle this complicated process.
“This was a huge transaction for us,” Kelly said. “It opened up our data where we saw the holes and gaps we had and a lot of work in front of us.” When Kelly and the 4 Wheel Parts team came to us, we knew PDM would be a great fit to help them organize and streamline their data.
Kelly, Digital Merchandise Manager for 4 Wheel Parts, has been in the industry for a long time. She started out in nighttime sales, moved into the online world, and now manages the product data team. When she first joined 4 Wheel Parts, she was into ATVs, but quickly bought her first Jeep and was hooked.
We asked Kelly if she would share her experience joining the PDM family and the adoption of PDM as their data solution provider. She explains their dreadful spreadsheet situation before PDM and tells us the process of migrating their data over to the PDM platform.
How did you originally manage your data and what problems did you want to solve?
Kelly: One person kept all our data and content in a massive spreadsheet. A lot of missed updates, missing data, etc. We knew we had to get our data onto a better-managed platform. Our data also wasn’t up to ACES & PIES standards, more attributes and images were missing than we had anticipated. With PDM’s intuitive system, we were able to easily identify the missing information and make updates with the “Quick Fix” feature. This alone has helped us to maximize our sales opportunities, ensuring our sales channels, including our website have the most up-to-date information.
How did you hear about and end up choosing PDM?
Kelly: We reached out to other 4 Wheel Parts vendors and asked for their opinion on companies in the industry that provided product data support. There were other companies in the market that were offered to us, but after we considered everything PDM offered, PDM made the most sense for 4 Wheel Parts. The services PDM offers, along with the price and support, made PDM an obvious choice. Plus, PDM was the most highly recommended solution provider in the industry. The use of modern technologies, user friendly platform, single-source solution, cloud-based accessibility, and cost-effective options made the PDM choice the obvious choice.
Did you have any reservations/hesitations? What would have happened if you didn’t switch to PDM?
Kelly: Yes of course. Changing a company’s overall product content system should not be made lightly. It requires overall changes in internal processes, leadership and team consensus and collaboration, and notifying customers to change the way they access our product data are just a few of the considerations. This was a huge transaction for us. We opened up our data and took a hard look under the hood to identify weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities. We quickly identified the holes and gaps in our product data and PDM’s intuitive platform helped us to identify areas of improvement. I don’t think we would have had as smooth of a transition without the PDM team. Together, we worked out a plan, roadmap and created milestones that kept us on track. I felt like PDM took the time to set us up for success.
How is product data management important in your go to market strategy? Who utilizes your data?
Kelly: 4 Wheel Parts has a comprehensive go to market strategy. Our product data with PDM is easily accessed by our 3rd party vendors. Our resellers who need access to our product data are in the Truck and Jeep industry. With PDM we can send them our new product updates in real-time giving them the advantage of first to market. In today’s online eCommerce environment data is king! We are very pleased to help our customers be successful today and in the future and PDM helps us to achieve this.
How was your data quality when you originally partnered with PDM?
Kelly: We really wanted to have our product data meet or exceed industry standards and have the ability to transmit data quickly and efficiently. We quickly learned that our data wasn’t up to industry standards. Now that we’re live with PDM our data is up to ACES and PIES standards which boosts the value and changes from an expense to a revenue-generating solution.
What were your ultimate goals with structured data?
Kelly: We had a number of goals, but ultimately we wanted a single-source solution of all 4 Wheel Parts product data, a place to maintain all of our most comprehensive data that would be easily accessed by our resellers and serve all sales channels. We wanted to easily identify any/all product holes and gaps to improve our data and one location to manage. Previously our product data management was a manual process that required many steps to update throughout multiple locations. With PDM, when we make our updates in the platform, it immediately flows through all our channels quickly and efficiently.
Why did you want to achieve ACES & PIES industry standards?
Kelly: Adopting industry standards has helped us to formalize and streamline our product data management. This has improved communication and data transmission to our resellers and partners, ultimately increasing speed to market and overall sales. Our customers have been very happy with our product data communication.
Did you encounter any challenges or roadblocks during your transition to PDM?
Kelly: We did hit some small roadblocks, that were easy to overcome. PDM helped us to understand the importance of data formatting and how to create the structure. One example was that PDM clearly defines the Auto Care standard formats and if our products did not meet the standard, it called out Errors and Warnings. We learned that our marketing descriptions were too long for ACES and PIES and the information was not transmitting properly.
How has managing your data with PDM helped you to accomplish your financial goals?
Kelly: Getting our data onto PDM helped us get better data out to our resellers, which means they are getting more sales and that equals financial growth for us. Like I said, we do not look at product content management as an expense, it has helped us to become more efficient and ultimately increase sales.
Now that you are a customer what are some of your favorite features?
Kelly: Some of our favorite features would be how easy it is to roll up year models and how we can set up delivery data every 1st and 15th of the month. We also like how every update to the data is live and available on PDM as soon as you upload it.
How has your product data efficiency improved?
Kelly: Like I mentioned our product data management was very labor-intensive, managed in multiple locations, and could not be transmitted quickly to our customers. Our main goal was to fill in any data holes and gaps to have improved data, and one location to manage our data. PDM helped us to identify and fix the gaps and holes. PDM also makes it easy for our new product launches. Even if the product isn’t available to 3rd parties yet, PDM allows you to have the product ready with all data until it is ready to be released.
What have you been most impressed with?
Kelly: We’ve been very impressed with the amount of support we receive from PDM, and how easy and painless the product data management platform is to use. I would highly recommend PDM as a great partner and solution provider. They have their finger on the pulse of automotive data technology.
What plans do you have with PDM in the future?
Kelly: We want to open up PDM to the whole company to use, for example, our sales, operations, engineering and customer service teams. PDM gives us the ability for multiple departments to collaborate and ensure the data is correct. Sales can send product loadsheets to customers, marketing can ensure all product content is accurate and operations can populate the packaging, CARB & Prop 65 information.
About 4 Wheel Parts:
4 Wheel Parts/TAP Brands proudly supplies thousands of active dealers and distributors worldwide with innovative truck, Jeep and SUV accessories. TAP brands has expanded its product offering to thousands of different products servicing the national and international truck, Jeep and SUV markets. The constant involvement of management in the off-road markets has kept TAP Brands in touch with the latest market trends and on the forefront of engineering and design.
About PDM Automotive:
PDM was founded in 2017 on the principle that creating, distributing and consuming high-quality automotive product data should be easy, transparent and improve sales. We exist to create experiences where brands feel empowered to take charge of their own data, resellers seamlessly have access to all product information in real-time, and service providers can add their own special contributions to the process. We do this by engaging with like-minded organizations, listening, and utilizing the latest technologies to create an intuitive platform for the flow of high-quality automotive product data between all our customers’ trading partners.