News & Events

This Week in IDEA | January 20, 2011

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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2010 Year in Review – Focus on Adoption and Optimization

The value of IDEA’s solutions and services increase exponentially as more and ­more companies adopt them, increase usage, and optimize processes internally and with trading partners. Thank you for helping to make 2010 a year of adoption and optimization for IDEA’s community. Here are some of the accomplishments in which we are most proud.

Flexibility and speed improve usability of solutions

  • Multiple IDW software enhancements added flexibility for manufacturers and distributors. Manufacturers now have the ability to communicate future price group codes, seller class codes, and their effective date. Other enhancements include the ability for distributors to extract product data by price sheet and the option for manufacturers to hide expired price sheets.
  • Increased catalog and marketing content in IDW.
  • Populated United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® (UNSPSC) for over 96% of all active items in IDW. Over 82% of all active items and 88% of electrical items have a complete code assigned to the Category level – the lowest level of the UNSPSC code is used as the foundation for the Electrical Attribute Schema and is essential to its adoption.
  • Released Industry Data Exchange (IDX) enhancements to increase flexibility and visibility of electronic document exchange processes. By enabling a large document alert notification and the option to block EDI documents based on document size, type and trading partner ID, you can prevent unwanted and/or unnecessary charges.
  • Released two software enhancements to IRD CERICOMX®. The releases incorporated customer-inspired performance enhancements with the most notable being the data load speed increase.
  • Welcomed IDEA’s 1,000th IRD CERICOMX® customer.
  • Visited over 20 customers and participated in over 20 industry events. IDEA uses the insights gained from the conversations at these events to help prioritize solution enhancements and to examine potential new solutions and services.
  • Take action: Contact your if you are interested in learning more about how to take advantage of these solution enhancements or if you have ideas for new ones.

IDEA Industry Standards Committee focuses on standardizing marketing information

  • Developed the second version of the Electrical Attribute Schema (scheduled to be released tomorrow!). The new version expands coverage to nearly 2,500 product categories, a 64% increase from the inaugural release in October 2009. The schema will continue to evolve as it expands to cross-over markets such as Plumbing and Industrial.
  • Submitted 36 new code requests to UNSPSC on behalf of the electrical industry­ which are expected to be available in the February release, version 14. The need for these product category codes was identified through UNSPSC code adoption and the development of the attribute schema.
  • Developed a cross-reference between the European Technical Information Model (ETIM) product classification code list and the UNSPSC code set used in our attribute schema. The cross-reference helps support the needs of customers who have international presence.
  • Released numerous whitepapers on how to standardize and synchronize product information in IDW including “Catalog Descriptive Field Guidelines” and “Digital Images Guidelines.”
  • Take action: Download all standards, whitepapers and guidelines released by the standards committee on the IDEA Portal. Please contact if you can’t find what you’re looking for or have any questions about how to adopt these eCommerce standards.

Collaboration results in new services and industry efforts

  • Introduced two new services to help identify roadblocks to optimum performance for manufacturers and distributors through close, consultative partnering with customers.
  • Partnered with NEMA and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to create a global Building Information Modeling (BIM)-compliant open standard for electrical industry data.
  • Take action: Contact your to find out how you can leverage IDEA’s expertise to improve and/or outsource your B2B eCommerce and Synchronization efforts.

New education and training resources help industry optimize IDEA solutions & services

  • Released four new eLearning modules for customers to learn at their own pace 24/7 on the web:
    • The Electrical Attribute Schema Module reviews the schema benefits, walks through the schema components, and explains how manufacturers and distributors can apply the schema to their business model.
    • The Net Price Synchronization Module educates on the benefits of net price synchronization and the standardized options IDEA provides to facilitate a more efficient exchange. This module helps the industry understand how net price is used in business today, identify roadblocks of net price synchronization, and clarify the ways net price can be exchanged between trading partners.
    • The Industry Data Exchange (IDX) Tracker Module navigates users through IDX Tracker functions such as: how to search for incoming and outgoing transactions, search by specific document type, track and view all documents on and off the network, and download transaction information for creating metrics or performing data analysis. *Available exclusively to IDX customers once logged on to IDEA Portal.
    • The IRD CERICOMX® Module helps suppliers to understand the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) and the roles of 1SYNC and IDEA, how product data is synchronized based on standard criteria, how to register products with the GDSN, and how to use IRD CERICOMX® to publish and synchronize item data with demand partners such as Walmart, Lowe’s and McLane. *Available exclusively to IRD CERICOMX® customers once logged on to IDEA Portal.
  • Industry trade publications turned to IDEA’s community for insights on the latest trends in B2B eCommerce – nearly 40 article contributions in 2010.
  • Over 150 professionals from IDEA’s community convened in Dallas, TX for the 12th annual IDEA E-Biz Forum. Save the date for the 2011 E-Biz Forum, September 26-28 in St. Louis, MO at the Hilton Ballpark.
  • IDEAL and Kirby Risk shared their experience of how they leveraged Standards Adoption to optimize performance, increase electronic activity and automate more of their business processes in the case study “Collaborative Standards-Based Solutions Build a Strong Foundation for Growth.”
  • Take action: Contact your if you need a login for the IDEA Portal and contact if you are interested in sharing your eCommerce experiences with IDEA’s community.

These accomplishments would not be possible without our partners and customers -- thank you for your leadership and contributions throughout 2010. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the New Year.

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Speak at the E-Biz Forum 2011

The theme of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2011--September 26-28 in St. Louis, MO at the Hilton Ballpark--is “Gateway to Change: Shift Ideas to Results,” and we’re looking for speakers who can bring this theme to life. Leverage this opportunity to share your eCommerce experiences, fresh approaches, challenges and successes with your industry peers.

Speaker benefits:

  • Position your company as a thought leader
  • Professional career development
  • Complimentary registration (a $600 value) which includes access to all conference activities, scheduled meals, social functions and conference program materials

Topics to consider:

We want you to speak about a topic in which you’re knowledgeable and deem significant to share. Our main goal is to increase value for attendees who have indicated high interest in the subjects below. If you share that interest and have lessons that will help others succeed, please submit a speaker form related to one of these topics:

  • Integrating social media into your business strategy; engaging the next generation of employees and customers
  • Success stories/examples of how distributors are utilizing and leveraging manufacturer product information including catalog/marketing data and attributes
  • Manufacturer best practices for maintaining brand loyalty across various sales channels
  • Trading partner relationships that work – how manufacturers and distributors are working together to meet shared goals and objectives
  • Organizational solutions for adopting and implementing the Electrical Attribute Schema from distributor and manufacturer perspectives
  • Utilizing eCommerce to accomplish green and sustainability alternatives for your business; how to prepare your data for building information modeling (BIM)
  • Best practices on how to build and maintain relationships with retailers (e.g. Walmart, Lowe’s, Wegmans)

If you or someone at your company is interested in speaking, please submit the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2011 Speaker Prospect Form and email it to  or fax to . Submission deadline: Friday, February 18.

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NEMA Launches Vids for Grids with Smart Grid Educational Videos

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has launched its “Vids for Grids: New Media for the New Energy Workforce” (V4G) program with the first two videos of a 12-video series that demonstrates a best practice in integrating new media into engineering core curricula.

“Switchgear,” filmed at NEMA member Eaton Electrical, explains how high voltage and large currents can be controlled efficiently in a large industrial facility as well as a university campus. “Surge Arresters,” filmed at NEMA member Hubbell Power Systems, shows how distribution arresters and ground lead disconnectors improve grid reliability. They are available at .  

Future videos will address capacitors, conductors, connectors, dynamic line ratings, energy storage, flywheels, industrial automation, lighting management systems, and meters. NEMA expects to release one new video per month.

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, there is a dire need for workforce training in the electric power sector.

“Smart Grid is our future,” he said. “An aging workforce has created a brain drain in the electric power sector. This series will introduce Smart Grid concepts to tomorrow’s engineers.”

In collaboration with member manufacturers, the series features Smart Grid equipment, explains electrical engineering concepts, and portrays careers in power engineering. Curriculum has been developed in conjunction with Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.

NEMA members participating in V4G include A123, Beacon Power, Cooper Power Systems, Eaton Corporation, Hubbell Incorporated, Itron, Leviton, Rockwell Automation, Southwire Company, Thomas & Betts, and The Valley Group (a Nexans Company).

Find out more about Vids for Grids at

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New B2B eCommerce and Synchronization Customers

IDEA welcomes one new IDW customer, two new IDX customers and nine new IRD CERICOMX customers. Read more about these companies and how you can begin trading with them electronically to expand your business.

New IDW and IDX Customer

Advantage Industrial Automation Company of Duluth, GA became an IDEA customer on January 7. They have been serving customers in the Southeast United States for the last 20 years, providing automation solutions for Industrial Users and OEMs. They will take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of Industry Data Exchange (IDX) to exchange B2B documents electronically, and will utilize the IDW Data Synchronization Platform to synchronize product and pricing information with their supply partners. Find out more at

New IDX Customer

Professional Control Corporation (PCC) of Germantown, WI became an IDEA customer on January 14. PCC is a leading industrial automation and control distributor serving Wisconsin's manufacturing industry for over 30 years. They will also take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of Industry Data Exchange (IDX) to exchange B2B documents electronically. 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 nine 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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