Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most often about the SEMA Data services.
To submit additional questions or get more information, please contact us.

Q: I know SEMA Data offers GTIN's. What about bar codes?

As SEMA Data is an authorized reseller of product GTIN’s, many times we are asked about their relation to barcodes, as you might find on a package. To help distinguish the two, please note that the barcode is an optical, machine-readable, representation of data, represented by the graphic bars, and the GTIN is the number beneath the bars. You can assign a GTIN randomly to your part numbers, and when a retailer exports your product information from us, they can load the GTIN into their internal system (along with the rest of your product information). This allows them to scan your products into inventory, and at the point-of-sale for immediate reliving of inventory, and reorder tracking.

While the GTIN is simply a number, there are many solutions for creating the graphic bars. You can purchase a barcode printer, with the conversion software to create the necessary artwork allowing you to print barcodes as needed, or check with your packaging printer. They may be able to create the barcodes for you, and provide finished packaging with the barcode – easy for you, and great for your customers! There are also some freeware solutions on the web, and entering a phase like “barcode generator” or “barcode printer” in your browser will provide the top results.

Q: If there is one thing that members should understand about the SEMA Data, what would it be?

SEMA Data is a service directive created and funded by SEMA for the benefit of the industry, so please use it! It is open to all manufacturers and resellers, and our goal is to create the most comprehensive and affordable industry data repository possible. If you have been waiting for a solution because of concerns about the expertise required, the expense or you are just plain intimidated by the whole data thing…now is the time to get started! If you already have your data in order, then feed it to us!

Q: Is there anything member companies can do to enhance their participation in SEMA Data?

Our best advice on that front is to get involved early! We have considerable capacity to help bring manufacturers into the process, and a fully staffed help desk is on call now to assist in any way. This is important…don’t wait because you think you don’t know enough about product data and how to gather or manage it. That’s what we are here for! One of the primary objectives of SEMA Data is to provide an “on-ramp” for businesses of any size and level of expertise, so there are no roadblocks or reasons to delay this very important process.

Q: Some businesses may be hesitant to use SEMA Data at first. What should they understand about how their proprietary information will be safeguarded?

The answer is simple. SEMA Data was built with the tightest security precautions and product data is accessible only by resellers that are approved by the data owner (manufacturer). As part of the standard functionality, permissions-based rules dictate not only who can access data, but very specifically what they can access. Security should not be a concern for any participant.

Q: How will SEMA Data benefit the various types of SEMA-member businesses, including manufacturers, warehouse distributors and jobber/retailers?

As an Association dedicated to creating valuable member services, SEMA is uniquely positioned to invest in this difficult and far-reaching project. There is little question that the idea of a centralized repository for clean, rich product data has become more and more important as business technology advances, and it is the opinion of SEMA’s leadership that data to power business systems should be openly available, owned by the manufacturer and be affordable for any SEMA business to participate in. That’s why our model includes SEMA funding of the complete construction and ongoing development of SEMA Data systems. The end result is a one-stop source for standardized product data at a very affordable cost to the manufacturer, and at little or no cost to all approved resellers. This will allow all participants in the sales channel to have product data available for their internal business systems, web applications, inventory control and any other data driven business needs in the most affordable way possible.

Q: What is the purpose of the SEMA Data?

SEMA Data is a technology and service initiative created for the benefit of SEMA member companies, with the mission of encouraging and enabling the development, safe storage and universal export of industry product data. SEMA Data, through the development and operation of key business tools and processes, now enables any manufacturer to take control of their product data, maintain its compliance to standards, and provide a seamless means to distribute that data to approved data resellers of their choice in the most affordable way possible.

Q: I don’t have a data expert on staff and know nothing about ACES and PIES. How will I be able to manage these complex data standards?

A data expert is not required with SEMA Data, but you will likely find that as you engage with us, you will want to assign responsibility for your data files to a trusted employee. Our help desk will work with that individual to gather your data in whatever format you have (even a simple spreadsheet), and we will use our tools to begin the process of making your data compliant with the standards. As we identify missing or inaccurate data, we will work with your contact to fill in the blanks, correct errors, and prepare your new standards compliant data for export to your customers.

For information about SEMA Data and how to join, visit or call either Tom Ameduri, West Coast Sales Manager, or Jim Graven, East Coast Sales Manager at 888-958-6698.

Q: What is the cost to Manufacturers now that the production system is live?

As a non-profit association, SEMA is ideally suited to provide quality education, the latest technology and expert services at the lowest possible cost. Therefore, we are anticipating a total cost to manufacturers for all on-boarding, data validation, secure storage and unlimited data exports to range starting as low as $99 per month, depending on the amount of storage space required. This will enable all companies regardless of size to benefit from the most state of the art data facility and services while taking control and complete ownership of this valuable business asset.

Q: I am already having my data managed through a third party provider. Why do I need SEMA Data?

An important part of SEMA Data is the data repository where all data is stored. Our goal is to create a centralized place for all industry data to securely reside, providing a one-stop resource for resellers of all kinds. We are already establishing valuable reseller relationships, and we will provide unlimited data exports in standard PIES/ACES formats or custom exports specific to the reseller’s needs, with only a small annual membership fee. This repository relieves you from creating and exporting data in countless formats, and enables you to manage who gets your data though a custom online interface. We welcome data feeds from your third party service, provided they meet SEMA Data requirements for completeness and they pass our validation tests.

Q: I’m a manufacturer who wants to take control of my product data, but we don’t know where to start. How can SEMA Data help us get on the right path?

SEMA Data is as much about education and training as it is actually managing data. Our full time help desk is dedicated to teaching the process from whatever level the customer needs, beginning with an introductory session to identify the current state of your data. We then walk you through a process to gather key data points from your existing systems and create a standards compliant version to build on. This process will require some time investment on your part, but will lead to a lifetime of benefit as you take ownership of this critical business element.