Jeff Skiles

Jeff Skiles headshot

“The product data in the IDEA Connector drives our business system and is critical to increasing our profitability. Without the IDEA Connector, we’d need 3 to 4 times more staff internally and the data still wouldn’t be as good as what we get from Connector.”

A little bit about Jeff

I started at Kirby Risk about 32 years ago and worked my way through almost every department of the company, from the warehouse of a branch to managing all of their technology at headquarters. I’ve actively participated in three business system conversions, and have been involved with industry eBusiness efforts for over 10 years. I’m currently serving on IDEA’s Innovation Advisory Council to help shape the future of the IDW with other manufacturer and distributor thought leaders.

Why he loves the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW)

We deal with over 100 manufacturers on a regular basis, and several thousand in total, so the only way we can be effective is to have a consistent source of product data. The IDW and the eBusiness standards and definitions that have gone into creating the application have been a huge help to us. Without it, we’d need 3-4 times more staff internally, and even with that extra manpower, the quality of the product data would still not be as good as what we receive from the IDW today.  Plus, I like that IDEA goes to the manufacturer for the product data first; they should always be the #1 source.

How it affects his business

The product data in the IDW drives our business system and is critical to increasing our profitability. For example, we participate in Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) with more than a dozen of our manufacturers and manage a large portion of our inventory that way. This is a big cost-saving effort where data sync is critical; the product data we use for VMI must be an exact match with what’s in our manufacturer’s system to make it work. One item error out of a hundred, or even a thousand, results in extra manual labor every day. The product data we get from these manufacturers through the IDW is reliable and makes the perfect sync possible.

His customers are taking notice

We’ve seen big improvements with the product data in the IDW over the last couple years; the work manufacturers have done to provide more marketing content such as attributes and images is tremendous! Now more than 200,000 products on our web store are populated with product data from the IDW, and IDEA continues to play a proactive role in populating the application with more and higher quality enhanced data so that we can expand our eCommerce capabilities.

Our sales force could tell endless stories of how marketing content from the IDW has impacted our customer relationships. In multiple cases, a major customer was looking to reduce their distributor partners and they chose Kirby Risk in large part because of our eCommerce capabilities. We wouldn’t have been eligible to get their business without the product data from the IDW that we use to drive our web storefront. One of our customers emailed us saying that he goes to our site every day to find everything product-related he needs to do his job. These are the stories that remind us what this is all about – making customers happy.