Technology Newsmaker Q&A: Bryan Funke

Jan. 1, 2020
Bryan Funke is director of sales and client services at R.L. Polk & Co.

Bryan Funke is director of sales and client services at R.L. Polk & Co. He chatted with Aftermarket Business World about this year's Inventory Efficiency Award, and some planned changes for next year's program.

You didn't present an award to a retailer this year. Why?

I think the retailers were really focused on keeping their numbers up this year. They've been very worried about keeping their businesses going, so they didn't have much time and had limited resources. There was a lot of interest, but the retailers just didn't have time to go through the submission process this year.

We're actually talking about revamping this whole process moving forward, if we can. We want to simplify the process and try to facilitate more participation so we can hear more of these success stories from the industry.

What sorts of trends have you seen among the awards program submissions?

We've seen everything from implementing an ERP system to people developing homegrown systems. The biggest trend we're seeing is that companies are starting to figure out how to automatically and systematically combine all the different data sets and knowledge they have. In the past, companies had Polk data, and sales data, and inventory data, and they had all these different numbers that tell you something individually, but they weren't able to pull them together. Now they have the technology available to do that, and it's easier to make the data stores talk to each other.

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What kinds of changes do you plan to make to the awards process for next year?

We'd like to try to increase the scope of the program. The applications we've seen submitted have been pretty consistent the past few years. We see a lot of the same types of systems. We'd like to expand the program to include more supply chain and logistics applications. Right now, people are focusing on stocking parts and making sure the parts mix is okay. We want to see what's happening in the rest of the supply chain.

At the same time, we want to facilitate the application process a bit better. One idea we're kicking around is assigning a Polk rep or some other person to walk through the process with the companies, so it's not so cumbersome or burdensome for them to apply. We want to see an increase in the submissions.

Bryan Funke is director of sales and client services at R.L. Polk & Co. He chatted with Aftermarket Business World about this year's Inventory Efficiency Award, and some planned changes for next year's program.

You didn't present an award to a retailer this year. Why?

I think the retailers were really focused on keeping their numbers up this year. They've been very worried about keeping their businesses going, so they didn't have much time and had limited resources. There was a lot of interest, but the retailers just didn't have time to go through the submission process this year.

We're actually talking about revamping this whole process moving forward, if we can. We want to simplify the process and try to facilitate more participation so we can hear more of these success stories from the industry.

What sorts of trends have you seen among the awards program submissions?

We've seen everything from implementing an ERP system to people developing homegrown systems. The biggest trend we're seeing is that companies are starting to figure out how to automatically and systematically combine all the different data sets and knowledge they have. In the past, companies had Polk data, and sales data, and inventory data, and they had all these different numbers that tell you something individually, but they weren't able to pull them together. Now they have the technology available to do that, and it's easier to make the data stores talk to each other.

PAGE 2

What kinds of changes do you plan to make to the awards process for next year?

We'd like to try to increase the scope of the program. The applications we've seen submitted have been pretty consistent the past few years. We see a lot of the same types of systems. We'd like to expand the program to include more supply chain and logistics applications. Right now, people are focusing on stocking parts and making sure the parts mix is okay. We want to see what's happening in the rest of the supply chain.

At the same time, we want to facilitate the application process a bit better. One idea we're kicking around is assigning a Polk rep or some other person to walk through the process with the companies, so it's not so cumbersome or burdensome for them to apply. We want to see an increase in the submissions.

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