Get to Know HDM Subject Matter Expert Chris Ziegelmann

Name: Chris Ziegelmann

Company: Border States

Title: Digital Product Content Manager

Years in the electrical industry: 17

Years at current company: 17

What inspired you to pursue
a career in the electrical industry, and how did you
get started?

I started my career through an internship with Border States and once I earned my degree, I knew working for an employee-owned company in the electrical industry was where I wanted to start my career.

What is your current role and how does your responsibility relate to data and data management?

My current role is focused on process improvement and delivering a first-class customer experience through management of quality product data.

How would you describe your data management philosophy?

My personal data management philosophy centers around well governed and organized data can provide effective business analysis at scale. Data management is a key component for many organizations and having trusted data will lead to improved decision making.

What do you like about working with IDEA?

Working with IDEA allows us the opportunity to improve how we manage our product data by providing a centralized source of high quality, accurate data. IDEA also reviews initiatives to make sure they are aligned with current and future needs of both manufacturers and distributors.

How have your experiences helped you as a SME? How have you or your company benefited from being a part of the HDM initiative?

Being part of the HDM project has allowed us to take a step back and review our own data and how it is structured within our systems. It has also been valuable to understand how much variation we have around verbiage and terminology across the product categories. The normalization of the labels and values is going to be a great benefit going forward.

If someone is thinking about joining, what advice or encouragement would you give them?

The SME process is a good fit for anyone in the industry who is passionate about products and data. Participating as a SME provides opportunities to influence how the product data is modeled and provide feedback on what data is most valuable for customers.

What are some of the latest trends and technologies in the electrical industry, and how have these impacted your work?

Product information management (PIM) and master data management (MDM) are both technologies that continue to lead conversions related to data management. The support for E-commerce systems and digital tools has highlighted the need for improved data management tools and many companies are investing in technology to support the growing need for clean product information.

Over my career I have seen a change in how we manage data. In the past, most of the processes were centralized on publishing printed catalogs and now we focus on managing data for our website and digital tools. Data modeling, search, navigation and customer experience are now driving factors in how data is managed in our systems.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the electrical industry today, and how do you see them being addressed in the future?

Customer expectations are a constant challenge that most companies in the industry face. Individuals are utilizing online ordering for more and more items in their personal life and some of those expectations are crossing over to ordering products for their organizations. Improved processes for data integrations are one area that can help deliver a better customer experience by providing real time inventory and lead times throughout the supply chain.

Get Involved

If you want to help the industry solve data consistency problems, apply to be a Subject Matter Expert on the HDM Task Force.