Getting to know Datalliance
By Edward Kuo, director of Sales, Motor Vehicles
What separates Datalliance from competitors in its marketplace?
Most technology solution providers try to do too many things. We have focused on thoroughly addressing one important area and have therefore become global experts in that area. Our focus is on inventory replenishment — helping suppliers and distributors work together on a daily basis to ensure the right products are available at the right place at the right time to meet end customer demand. And to do so at the lowest practical cost for both the distributor and the supplier. By maintaining a clear focus on that one important objective for over 17 years in heavy duty, we have earned the confidence of leading manufacturers and distributors.
How do you believe customers perceive your business?
VMI and technology represent change and certainly a lot of people fear change. But companies have to constantly seek out better ways to provide value to their customers. Most of our customers see the success Datalliance VMI has brought to heavy-duty and as a result, we have become a positive change for the industry.
What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about Datalliance that would surprise/impress them? (i.e., tell us something about Datalliance we don’t know)
Datalliance offers VMI solutions to many other industries outside of heavy-duty, including electrical, plumbing, grocery and consumer packaged goods. While each industry performs differently (yogurt turns faster than truck bearings), all of the industries are based on distribution models that are similar, and Datalliance is effective across the board in delivering improved performance metrics.
Do you feel Datalliance is in the position to change with the times? If so how?
Our business model relies heavily on innovation and continuous improvement. Datalliance actually upgrades our service three times a year (at no extra cost to our customers), allowing them to always be using the best version of our software that includes most all the changes they have requested over the years. If we don’t keep changing, we lose our competitive advantage and someone else will take our place.
Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?
Be an influencer for continuous improvement. In this industry, change doesn’t happen fast but it is necessary for growth. Change might require hard work and persistence, but if you believe it will bring benefits to your company, make it happen.
What are your goals for the long-term future of Datalliance in the heavy-duty aftermarket?
Our VMI product isn’t for everyone, but we’ve proven that if the distributor is interested in improving their business processes, VMI is very effective. My goal is to have the top 30 percent of aftermarket companies (both distributors and suppliers) utilizing their data combined with our analytical services to produce a stronger and more efficient distribution chain.
Why did Datalliance join GenNext? How can GenNext help Datalliance’s employees?
Already, we are seeing a growing interest in our services from GenNext companies, which I would expect as this organization represents the industry’s future leaders. GenNext members are committed to this industry and are aggressively pursuing ways to make it better.
Are there any industry leaders that have influenced you/mentored you? Who were they and how has their knowledge assisted you?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had a significant number of mentors guiding my career in this industry — too many to name without leaving some out. The nature of my role is to push technology into the heavy-duty truck parts distribution chain; something that doesn’t happen overnight. However, it would never have happened without a strong industry network of innovators and thinkers. People still look at me as if I’m crazy when I say I sell technology into the heavy-duty truck parts industry, but I know that with the help of my mentors, we have the industry on the right path.