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This Week in IDEA | February 16, 2012

Our eNewsletter, This Week in IDEA, keeps you informed with the latest news and education about IDEA, our solutions and services, and our customers and partners. IDEA’s knowledgeable staff and other contributing writers share insights, resources and special offers to help you Unleash the power of e. Subscribe now to receive This Week in IDEA in your email inbox every other Thursday and add our RSS feed to your reader.


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IDEA and ecmarket Partner to Offer a New EDI Conversion Service


IDEA has entered a strategic partnership with ­ecmarket, an eBusiness solution provider, to resell ecmarket’s CONEXIOM™ solution, integrating it with the Industry Data Exchange (IDX) network. This integrated solution will be launched as “iConex” to help IDEA customers automate order management processes with trading partners that are not EDI-capable.

“IDEA continually evaluates new partners and technology that can add value to the foundation on which IDEA was built. This partnership with ecmarket will enable IDEA’s customers to work more efficiently with trading partners at various levels of technical capabilities without forcing either trading partner to change their business processes,” said Bob Gaylord, president and CEO, IDEA.

With iConex, trading partners will have the ability to generate order management documents, such as purchase orders, in their own unique formats, to be captured, transformed and delivered in an EDI standard format to the final recipient via IDX. A confirmation or acknowledgement can then be automatically generated, converted and delivered back to the sender.

“Through this technology integration, manufacturers and distributors within the electrical industry will be able to fully automate all order entry and processing with 100% data accuracy while leveraging the control, visibility and safeguards that IDEA’s IDX network provides,” said Brent Halverson, president and CEO, ecmarket.

McNaughton-McKay (, an electrical distributor headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan, is an early adopter of IDEA’s iConex solution.

"iConex enables us to convert high volume non-EDI customers to an EDI process with no capital investment, no internal resources and no data errors. The iConex process helps our customer service reps to increase productivity by reducing the time spent on data entry,” said James Wilkinson, director of business process management, McNaughton-McKay. "We truly believe in iConex and think this is a great opportunity to reduce costs and improve customer service."

If you’d like more information about iConex, please contact your IDEA Account Manager or email .

View the press release online and download the PDF>­

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Exclusive Early Sponsor & Exhibitor Opportunities for the 2012 E-Biz Forum


­For over a decade, eBusiness leaders have attended the annual IDEA E-Biz Forum, the only eBusiness event dedicated to the electrical supply chain, to learn about the latest technology and industry trends, receive exclusive training and connect with their peers. The 2012 Forum, themed “Reunite. Recharge. Rethink.,” will take place from September 25-27 in Dallas, TX at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas.

Exhibitors and sponsors of the Forum enjoy high visibility in front of a dedicated audience of manufacturers and distributors in the electrical, industrial and retail industries.

"Cost of the Forum- $595.00. Cost of the hotel- $129.00. Cost of meeting and interacting with the people who can help your business and solve problems- priceless."
­Mark Richards, Director of eCommerce, Leviton Manufacturing Co.

New Sponsorship Level for 2012

New in 2012 - one exclusive Executive Partner Sponsorship opportunity! In addition to the benefits of the Premiere level, the Executive Partner will receive:

  • Two invitations to an IDEA Board Cocktail Reception
  • An iPad to give away for lead generation
  • Complimentary A/V in a private meeting room

There are only two Premiere Sponsor opportunities available. Premiere sponsors will enjoy a prime location in the Tech Center, branded materials placement, a complimentary private meeting room and much more. Don't delay -- sponsorship opportunities are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis!

"The Tech Center is the center of all the action. It is the one place where every exhibitor has a chance to meet with key decision makers and showcase their products and services. Year after year it has been hugely beneficial for Unilog, and we have come away with more business than we had going in."
­Suchit Bachalli, Vice President Sales , Unilog Content Solutions

Early Sponsors gain more exposure:

  • Speaking opportunities - Gold level and above (limited space available)
  • Recognition in official Forum press release
  • Recognition in pre-event mailer
  • Earlier and longer visibility on Forum website
  • First choice of sponsored event

Early Exhibitors enjoy special benefits:

  • $500 discount on Tech Center booth reservations
  • Speaking opportunities during Lunch Sessions - (limited space available)

Please contact Kari Thomas at or for more information.

Download the Sponsor/Exhibitor Brochure>

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What Distributors Love About their Manufacturer Partners

Content courtesy of

According to this blog post from, an unexpected benefit from the economic downturn is that some distributors and manufacturers have developed innovative, mutually-beneficial practices which are strengthening their partnerships and providing long-term benefits to the industry. The post discusses several tools distributors and manufacturers have used to share more data and materials, provide flexible payment and return policies, and adapt creative solutions. The article notes that personal communication was appreciated by both parties, whether it was as simple as a phone call or a joint customer visit. As a result, manufacturers are building faster, leaner processes and improving the availability and depth of product data while distributors are becoming more knowledgeable about the products and leveraging the information in the field for sales.

What are some things you appreciate about your manufacturer or distributor trading partners? Let us know in the comments.

Read the blog post>

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Assessing the Viability of ERP Vendors

Content courtesy of, an independent ERP consulting firm

In light of recent mergers and acquisitions in the enterprise software market (Infor and Lawson, Epicor and Activant), businesses should carefully evaluate the long-term viability of an ERP system during their selection process, according to this blog post by Panorama Consulting. If a solution is discontinued or loses support as a result of an acquisition, businesses will need to spend additional time and resources purchasing and training employees on a new system or be resigned to using a legacy system unable to evolve to meet future needs. While companies and solutions can benefit from mergers and acquisitions, Panorama Consulting recommends looking for three key indicators to assess the viability of an ERP solution.

Read the Panorama Consulting blog post>

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New B2B eCommerce and Synchronization Customers

New iConex Customer

McNaughton-McKay Electric Co., an electrical distributor from Madison Heights, MI, recently became an iConex customer. Founded in 1910, McNaughton-McKay has over 100 years of customer service experience as a distributor of electrical products for the industrial automation, commercial and construction markets. They are using iConex, a text-to-EDI conversion service integrated with the Industry Data Exchange (IDX), to automate business communications and transactions with customers that aren’t EDI-capable. Find out more at, and read the iConex press release for more information.

New IDW Customer

Stelpro Design, Inc., a Canadian manufacturer based in St. Burno-de-Montarville, QC, became an IDW customer on February 14, 2012. Stelpro Design, Inc. specializes in electrical heating and ventilation products. They will utilize the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) to provide product and pricing information to their partners. Find out more at

New IRD CERICOMX® Customers

As a 1SYNC Data Pool On-Board Solution (OBS) partner, IDEA implements suppliers that subscribe to the 1SYNC data pool using the IRD CERICOMX® Data Synchronization Platform. IDEA was recently assigned 18 suppliers:

These companies will be trained to use IRD CERICOMX®, an online catalog that suppliers use to register product data with the GS1 Registry® and GDSN via the 1SYNC Data Pool. Suppliers also use this solution to publish product data to demand partners including retailers such as Lowe’s and Walmart.

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