The FEDA Data Interchange
By Kent Motes
NRA 2014 there was a meeting of the Presidents of all 5 associations.
The discussion led directly to an initiative to work together with
trust, technology, and innovation to improve the efficiency of the
channel. The first step was to create standards for data structures,
data distribution, and security. The initiative acquired a name: the
FEDA Data Interchange. AutoQuotes was asked to participate in the design
and in the startup of the FDI.
AutoQuotes is working with FEDA President Brad Pierce and with the FEDA Excom. We have
had numerous discussions with 2014 MAFSI president Joe Ferri, with past
NAFEM President (and AQ advisor) Jeff Rhodenbaugh, and with FEDA Board
members. We read Michael Whiteley's President's letters and attended his
NAFEM speeches. The FDI leadership tells us where the hot buttons are
and what efficiencies need to be optimized. The first step is Order
FDI is not limited to FEDA members only. The standards and the data
distribution are available to all channel partners at all levels.
Although the initiative is very new, it has participation of most major
manufacturers; although the data distribution is not yet complete, it
manufacturers, the cost of distribution (independent reps, customer
service, sales staff) could easily be 10% of the $9.94 billion revenues
estimated by NAFEM in the 2014 Size and Shape study. The FDI targets the
labor costs of phone calls and emails: the most exacting, tedious, and
unpleasant tasks of customer service. It is estimated that 50% of the
calls to manufacturer customer service are for Order Status.
For Distributors and Dealers
(after merchandise) is the highest expense in distributor/dealer distribution. At
the dealerships, purchasing agents and project managers spend a
significant percentage of their time expediting orders through phone
calls and emails. The FDI will deliver the status of orders directly to
the distributor/dealer desktop, ERP system, and the mobile devices of the
salesforce. This will save payroll time and speed up the response to the
end user customers.
For Young People and Jobs
millennials to jobs in distribution in the foodservice equipment
industry has become a challenge. Teaching young people about design,
sales, installation, and customer service is complex. Commercial kitchen
products are high priced, highly configured, or highly specialized (by
size, color, pattern, etc). There are 500,000 SKU's and multi-million
possible product configurations that are necessary and available in the
foodservice equipment marketplace.
just as important to young people is their lifestyle in the workplace.
They grew up with the internet, social media, desktops, and mobile
devices. They don't like phone calls (too inefficient), and therefore
jobs that require phone calling. They want to work online, anywhere, at
any time. The FDI is an investment in technology to automate the tedious
tasks in the entry-level jobs and to appeal to their lifestyle.
The FDI Mission Statement
innovative new technology to the distribution channel. Keep it simple.
Charge nothing. Reduce payroll costs. Attract more young people by
creating better jobs in distribution.
if successful, iterate. Tear it apart and rebuild it again. Technology
is exponential and the opportunities to improve the channel, from
manufacturer to rep to distributor/dealer to service agent to operator, are
comprehensive and diverse.
For more information about the FDI, go to MyOpenOrders.com.