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This Week in IDEA | January 14, 2013

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’s 2012 Year in Review

By Robert E. Gaylord, President & CEO, IDEA

In 2012, IDEA developed impactful partnerships, added three new eBusiness applications to increase supply chain efficiency, and collaborated with many companies to increase the marketing content in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) by more than tenfold.  None of this would be possible without your contributions and support in promoting eBusiness throughout the electrical industry. Congrats on another successful year! 

Banding together to improve access to marketing content

  • Thank you to all the manufacturers that have committed to the industry effort to provide robust product marketing content. We know it’s not an easy task, oftentimes even requiring an overhaul of a system’s infrastructure, to incorporate the distribution of quality data into the new product launch process. Thank you also to the distributors that have given voice to the need for this data and taken the time to talk to their suppliers about why this data in instrumental for moving the industry forward digitally and globally. In recognition of these efforts, IDEA introduced the IDW ‘Bands of Excellence' program to measure and promote the manufacturers that are providing exceptional value and marketing support to their trading partners. Congratulations to the 50+ manufacturers that have achieved the Platinum Band (75-100% of stock items populated with marketing content), and the nine manufacturers leading the effort at nearly 100% completion: Anamet Electrical, Inc., Anamet Canada, Inc., Columbia Lighting, EGS Electrical Group, Electri-Flex, Hubbell Lighting, ILSCO, OSRAM SYLVANIA and Universal Lighting Technologies.
  • Thank you to associations such as Affiliated Distributors (AD), Electro-Federation Canada (EFC), IMARK Group and the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA).
    • IDEA is supporting AD’s data attribution initiative to support the development of enriched catalog content. This alliance is encouraging manufacturers to fully populate their product information and supply it to the IDW within an accelerated timeframe.  
    • EFC gathers together leaders from distributors and manufacturers to drive the growth of global standardized data. IDEA partnered with EFC to form an IDEA-EFC Committee in support of the Canadian data sourcing efforts. As a result, 18 Canadian manufacturers are part of the IDW Bands of Excellence program, and nine of those companies have achieved the most prestigious Platinum Band.
    • IMARK Group promoted many eBusiness initiatives in the electrical industry to help move the channel forward. IMARK recently recognized IDEA as a Platinum service provider in honor of our contributions to the eBusiness efforts of IMARK members.
    • NEMRA continues to contribute to the industry by providing eBusiness resources to their representative membership and manufacturer affiliates. Most recently, NEMRA shared results from a Mobile Technology Survey conducted among its members.

Innovating to increase productivity and keep the industry relevant

Connecting the electrical eBusiness community

  • IDEA explored new channels to expand the reach of our communications and launched an industry-inspired webinar series with topics such as: building a strong online presence, data synchronization, automating order management, and conducting EDI with trading partners that aren’t EDI-capable. Watch these webinars at any time by submitting a request for on-demand. New topics coming soon in 2013 include an insider look into the IDW for manufacturers and an exclusive look at our new web storefront software for distributors. 
  • IDEA produced these videos to explain how IDEA helps electrical manufacturers and distributors in a simple story, and make it easier for you to tell others what IDEA does and why you use our applications. You can send these videos to your trading partners, share on your social networks, and embed them on your websites. 
  • IDEA hosted the 14th annual IDEA E-Biz Forum in Dallas, TX with over 175 industry eBusiness professionals in attendance. Don’t miss the education and networking opportunities at the only eBusiness conference in the electrical industry from September 25-27th in Orlando, FL at the Hilton Bonnet Creek. 
  • IDEA shared industry news and eBusiness education through our various online media and participated in tED Magazine Twitter chats. Stay in touch by subscribing to our This Week in IDEA eNewsletter or following us on our , , , , , and . 

IDEA’s value lies in our unique position to bring together best-in-breed organizations to help improve the overall profitability of the channel and the companies that comprise it. Behind our efforts are people who work everyday on your behalf. This year, we want to congratulate our Star Performers, individuals who have been recognized by their peers for their exemplary contributions to the team: Amanda Kiely, Marketing Manager; Colleen Psomas, Marketing Associate; Edwin Lopez, Customer Service; Robert Gregg, Office Administrator; and Robert Hollands, Data Quality Analyst. In addition, we truly value our strategic partnerships with 1WorldSync, DATAgility, ecMarket, ElectricSmarts, Epicor, IBM and Unilog Content Solutions.

Our mission would also not be possible without the support and advocacy of our founders, NAED and NEMA. We are also thankful to the NAED and NEMA members who have volunteered to be on the IDEA Board of Directors: Steven Sokolow, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Leviton Manufacturing Company; John Burke, President, COO, Kirby Risk; Valerie Jones, Vice-President of Customer Service and Inside Sales, OSRAM SYLVANIA; Wes Smith, President, Mayer Electric Supply; Phil Barrios, Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing and eBusiness, Hubbell, Inc.; Jack Carlson, President, Southwire; Jack Lawson, President and CEO, Electrical Equipment Co.; Vernon Nagel, Chairman, President and CEO, Acuity Brands Inc.; Bob Siegel, Investment and Inventory Management, Graybar; Larry Stern, President and CEO, Standard Electric Supply Co.; Evan Gaddis, President and CEO, NEMA; and Tom Naber, President and CEO, NAED.

We’d love to learn more about your company’s 2012 eBusiness accomplishments. Please share them by adding your comments below, and they may be featured in a future newsletter!

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50+ Electrical Manufacturers Reach the IDW Platinum Band of Excellence

The marketing content in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) has increased over tenfold since the ‘Bands of Excellence’ program initiated.

Over 50 electrical manufacturers have achieved the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) Platinum Band of Excellence. These manufacturers have helped increase the marketing content available to their trading partners through the IDW by more than ten times in the last six months.

“I’m honored to congratulate senior executives when their company reaches IDEA’s Platinum Band. Every letter and email Steve Sokolow and I send reminds me of the tremendous impact these manufacturers are making in the electrical industry. Their dedication to the cause is helping over 4,000 distributor branches across the US and Canada improve their marketing and sales efforts,” said Bob Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA.

The ‘Bands of Excellence’ rating system measures each manufacturer’s completion percentage for providing robust marketing content to their trading partners through the IDW. To achieve the Platinum Band of Excellence, the product marketing content for specification documents, attributes, images, and descriptions all have to be populated for 75-100% of the manufacturer’s stock products in the IDW.

“This milestone demonstrates the industry’s commitment to making the IDW the preferred place to send and receive accurate product marketing data direct from the manufacturer. I challenge every electrical manufacturer that’s not on this list to make it a goal for their company to achieve the Platinum band in 2013, and challenge every distributor to find new ways of leveraging this marketing content internally and externally this year,” said Steve Sokolow, IDEA Chairman, and Chairman of the Board, Leviton.

The Platinum manufacturers are: Allied Moulded Products Inc.; American Polywater Corporation; Anamet Electrical, Inc.**; Anamet Canada, Inc.**; Bridgeport Fittings Inc.; CANTEX INC; Cooper Industries subsidiaries: Cooper B-Line, Cooper B-Line Canada, Cooper Bussmann, Cooper Bussmann Canada, Cooper Crouse-Hinds, Cooper Lighting, and Cooper Lighting Canada; EGS Electrical Group**; EiKO, Ltd.; Electri-Flex**; Federal Signal Corporation; Hubbell Incorporated divisions: BURNDY®, Bryant Electric, Columbia Lighting**, Dual-Lite, Hubbell Canada LP, Hubbell Lighting**, Hubbell Power Systems, Hubbell Premise Wiring, Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, Killark, Progress Lighting, RACO and Wiegmann; ILSCO**; JMC Steel Group brands: Picoma Industries, Inc. and Wheatland Tube Company; Legrand brands: Cablofil, Pass & Seymour, and Wiremold; Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc.; OSRAM SYLVANIA**; Pentair Technical Products; Perma-Cote; Philips Advance; Philips Lighting; ProSoft Technology; R-K Electronics; RAB Lighting, Inc.; Robroy Industries; Schneider Electric; Southwire Company; Specified Technologies, Inc.; Thomas & Betts; Thomas & Betts Canada; Universal Lighting Technologies** and Veolia ES Technical Solutions LLC.

**Companies that have provided robust marketing content for nearly 100% of their products in the IDW.

Visit the Bands of Excellence webpage to view all banded manufacturers and learn more about this program. 

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What’s Coming for Electrical Distribution in 2013

We’ve curated some trending distribution technology resources from around the industry so that you can plan ahead in 2013. 

Distribution Technology Podcast: Electrical Wholesaling recently published a free podcast featuring Chief Editor Jim Lucy and his picks for the biggest trends in eBusiness and distribution technology for 2013. Listen to the Electrical Wholesaling podcast>

“The Wild World of Global Distribution” Part Two: Jim Lucy also discusses the impact of the growing global markets in a recent Electrical Wholesaling article. The article highlights the development of global technical standards for product data and electrical products, mentioning IDEA’s recent partnership with the ETIM International, and NEMA’s international standardization efforts. Read the full article to find out Electrical Wholesaling’s predictions for distribution in a global market. Read the article on>

“Amazon Supply Looms for Electrical Distributors” Video: Amazon Supply is growing and poses significant challenges to electrical distributors and how they do business. The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) posted a sneak peek of this session, which will be presented in its entirety at the Western and South Central Region Conferences.

NAED Electrical Distributors Technology Benchmarking Survey: NAED and Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) conducted a survey of their members last month to benchmark technology usage in the electrical distribution channel. The survey results, representing 124 members, are now available as an infographic on NAED’s Strategic Technology site.

Survey Highlights:

  • The highest percentage of electrical distributors identified ensuring data in business system is accurate and up-to-date as a critical priority.
  • For mobile, 87% surveyed have developed apps for internal use and 34% have developed apps for customers.
  • Distributors surveyed employed laptops at almost the same percentage as smart phone/tablet devices.

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Janet Martin and Katybeth Martin Join the IDEA Team

Janet Martin has joined the IDEA team as a Data Quality Analyst. Janet will monitor and manage activities and processes that impact the quality of product data available in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW).

Janet has over 10 years of data analysis experience, including database maintenance and design, for organizations ranging from associations to government contractors. She is Oracle-certified and experienced in classroom-style training with an emphasis on pricing and data quality.

Janet can be reached at or at . 

Katybeth Martin, formerly of Renasant Bank, has joined the Finance and Administration department as an Accountant. Katybeth will manage Accounts Payable and Receivable responsibilities and work with the Director of Finance & Administration on additional accounting tasks.

She recently earned her B.S.B.A. in Accounting at Mississippi College.

Katybeth can be reached at or at .  

Please join us in welcoming Janet and Katybeth to the IDEA team!

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New IDW Platinum Band of Excellence Manufacturers

Congratulations to the following manufacturers that have rec­ently achieved the IDW Platinum Band of Excellence, the most elite status in the industry’s new banding program which measures the amount o­f marketing content manufacturers provide to the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) for their distributors. There are now over 50 manufacturers providing marketing content for 75% - 100% of their stock items to the IDW! 
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View all manufacturers with Bands of Excellence ratings>

Contact your Data Quality Analyst at IDEA or email to find out where your company stands and how to achieve IDEA’s Platinum banding level. ­

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