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This Week in IDEA | July 13, 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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Climbing the E-Biz Mountain Podcast Series: Segment One


We’re introducing a 4-part podcast series featuring representatives from the 2011 Richard Buzun Award winners, Border States Electric and Cooper Industries. In this first segment, representatives from both companies discuss the first step to initiate a successful eBusiness project: grasping the big picture by developing a vision, goals, and determining priorities. Over the next few weeks, the participants will share their secrets to success to help you leverage their lessons learned to make business processes easier and more enjoyable for your suppliers and customers.

You’re also invited to come learn more from these eBusiness experts at the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2012 September 25-27 in Dallas, TX. They will each be hosting break-out sessions during the event to provide more insights into their accomplishments and can answer your questions face-to-face at the Forum.


  • Greg Thrall, Senior VP Operations & IT (retired), Border States Electric
  • Jason Archbold, Marketing Catalog Supervisor, Border States Electric
  • Samer Shehadeh, EDI Manager, Cooper Industries
  • Lorraine Mott, Project Leader Electronic Commerce, Cooper Crouse-Hinds
  • Sonia Coleman, Moderator

Sneak Peek of Segment One:

“We started developing some metrics, such as percentage of our highest velocity items that were built in our online catalog. As we started to communicate those, and as the demands from our customers grew for specific catalogs for them, we were able to show that growing demand, but also sometimes the gap that existed between the requests and where we were at. But just simply being able to show that progress, I think was very significant.”

Border States

“I just want to add: getting out there and listening to our customers and understanding, ‘What do they want?’ ‘What’s going to help sell Cooper products?’ ‘What’s going to help their catalog creation?’ ‘What do they need to make their business successful?’ Getting the business to understand this is what our customers are saying, this is what they want, and listening to the voice of our customers is extremely critical to be successful.”

Cooper Industries­

Listen to the 1st segment of the “Climbing the E-Biz Mountain” podcast series>

Download the “Climbing the E-Biz Mountain” article from NEMA’s electroindustry>

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New Forum Keynote Speaker and Exec Panelists Revealed

­IDEA is proud to announce the general session speakers for the 2012 E-Biz Forum including the panelists for the executive panel and the digital marketing keynote. This Friday, July 13th is your last chance to register for the E-Biz Forum with the early bird rate. Register now to save $100>

Opening Keynote: The Art of Vision ­­­­

The best sustainable edge in business is the ability to differen­tiate yourself from your competition. Through this entertaining and highly practical program, we will uncover new ways to make your organization more creative, innovative and profitable, but more-so, help your employees to see the need to become better storytellers within your company and towards your industry. Professionals at all levels, who embrace innovative strategies, can achieve superior levels of performance by creatively and visibly differentiating themselves from the competition. No matter what kind of organization—from small companies to large corporations—employees at all levels will better embrace the future by becoming more innovative, more productive and ultimately more profitable. Wahl redefines “keynote speaker” by incorporating on-stage painting as a visual metaphor of his core message. His paintings auction from $7,000 – $27,000, and Forum attendees will help us decide which charitable cause will get the proceeds.

­­Erik Wahl, graffiti artist, author and­ entrepreneur­

Wahl’s understan­ding of vision was originally born in the school of disappointment. After an eight-year career as a partner in a corporate firm, he became frustrated by the lack of innovative thought and corresponding profits he saw in business. So, he set out to challenge companies to change their way of thinking, while simultaneously pursuing his own individual passions. He rediscovered his love for art, and now plays in th­e business world by working through his art.

Executive Panel: Drawing a Line of Sight from E-Biz to the Corner Office

Senior executives from various perspectives in the electrical supply chain will expand on Wahl’s keynote by drawing a line of sight from the eBusiness initiatives we implement day-to-day to the bottom line results they encounter at the top. They’ll discuss ways to differentiate your company by leveraging industry eBusiness solutions and demystify the myth that industry standards commoditize our products. The impact of new buyer behavio­rs and expectations will also be addressed, and our panelists will provide tips on how to effectively communicate the need for new eBusiness projects to senior executives internally as well as with trading partners.

­Jeff Drees, U.S. Country President, Schneider Electric

In 2010, Jeff Drees was named U.S. Country President for Schneider Electric, assuming responsibility for growth and profitability of the Power, Buildings and Energy businesses in the United States, along with driving energy efficiency and solutions initiatives across the North American territory. Drees is a member of the Alliance to Save Energy board, the National Association of Manufacturers board, the Schneider Electric Data Center Solutions board and participates in thought leadership panels for the Alliance to Save Energy and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centers/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications.

­­Tammy Miller, CEO, Border States Electric Supply

Tammy Miller joined Border States as the accounting manager in 1991 and was named president in 2005 and CEO in January 2006. She has been a Border States officer and member of the Board of Directors since 1996 (board chair since 2006), and an Executive Council member since its inception in 1997. Border States is now the 9th largest electrical distributor in the United Sates with annual sales exceeding $1 billion. In 2007-2008 Miller led the NAED (National Association of Electrical Distributors) as the Board Chair. Miller currently serves on the Board of Directors for Affiliated Distributors (A-D is the largest wholesale buying and marketing group in North America), the Board of Directors for the Elite Distributors Insurance Captive (EDIC), the Board of Directors for Starion Financial, and the Board of Directors for Sanford Medical Center.

ReThink Your Go-To-Market Strategy

The days of traditional brick and mortar expansion based on predictable ROI has been replaced with fast-paced online expansion at a fraction of the cost but with less certain ROI. How do you define your market and how far do you want to reach> What does success look like for your website -- is a basic customer service tool enough, or do you want a sales generation machines? Suchit Bachalli from Unilog Content Solutions, the executive partner sponsor of the Forum, will introduce Michael Brito, Senior VP Social Business Planning at Edelman Digital, to share his industry-specific expertise. Brito will provide insight into how search engine marketing, web/mobile presence and social media all intertwine from a content perspective and help identify ways that electrical manufacturers and distributors can make their products stand apart from the competition by leveraging a mix of Internet strategies.

­Michael Brito, Senior Vice President of Social Business Planning, Edelman

Michael Brito helps his clients transform their organizations to be more open, collaborative and socially proficient; with the end result of creating shared value with employees, partners and customers. His principal areas of expertise include search engine marketing, social media, social business planning, social CRM, change management and employee engagement. Michael joined Edelman after working for Intel Corporation where he served as a global social media strategist focusing on the consumer segment. He has also worked for other major brands in Silicon Valley including Yahoo!, Hewlett Packard and Sony Electronics. Michael just recently wrote a book, Smart Business, Social Business, that serves as a playbook for enterprise social media and adoption. He also launched Social Business News; a blog about social business. ­

View more of the agenda online and >

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New Distributor Resource: Script to Encourage Manufacturers to Provide Marketing Content to the IDW

­As a distributor, you need product marketing to populate your web storefronts and eCatalogs, educate your counter sales team, and differentiate a manufacturer’s products from similar items. If you’re already subscribed to the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), then you know the value of accessing all of your suppliers’ product information in one place. But what do you do when your suppliers refuse to send their marketing content through the IDW? Consider having an honest and frank conversation with your partners about why you need this marketing content and how it can benefit them.

IDEA has published a new resource for distributors to engage partners in this discussion. Download the ­“Distributor Pitch for Marketing Content in the IDW” from the Portal and add your personal spin to get the conversation started.

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NAED Exec Guide #2: How to Create an Effective Online Presence


­In the summer of 2011, NAED’s Strategic Technology Task Force conducted the Strategic Technology Benchmarking Survey, in which 69 distributor companies answered questions about their technology priorities, challenges and opportunities. Of the 94.2% with websites, only a select few offer the eCommerce functionality available at competitive B2B websites, such as

The Task Force recently published Executive’s Guide #2: Checklist for an Effective Online Presence,  a document that enables executives to evaluate their online presence and helps them to develop an action plan unique their company.

In this report, the Task Force explains key ways to help customers:

Find the website by:

  • Promoting the website
  • Optimizing the website for search engines (SEO)
  • Supporting mobile devices
  • Analyzing website usage

Locate products on the website by:

  • Educating customers how to find information on the website
  • Providing an online product catalog
  • Making it easy to search the online product catalog
  • Providing technical information online
  • Marketing online
  • Website design and usability

Overcome fears of conducting business online by:

  • Ensuring data security
  • Providing customer care
  • Offering online product training
  • Handing returns and exchanges

Download the pdf of the NAED Exec Guide #2>

Missed the 1st guide? Download that too>

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IDW Hot Fact: Tracking Activity from the Distributor Dashboard

By Tina Rostand, Data Quality Analyst

When a distributor first logs into the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) for the day, they are taken to the distributor dashboard homepage (see below). They can quickly scan this page to find out which of their manufacturers have recently loaded or changed pro­duct data.


This dashboard provides information on which manufacturers have loaded data in areas such as Test or Production environment, Item (B1 view), MSDS (B2 view), Text (B3 view), Packaging (B4 view), Current Pricing (B5 view), Future Pricing (B5 view), File/URL (B7 view), Attributes (B8 view), Current Net Pricing, and Future Net Pricing. The dashboard also presents the specific job number, the Manufacturer, what Format was used, by Type, Prices, Item Count, test or production database, and any EDI Views. This is just one way distributors can make decisions as to whether to retrieve or extract the latest updates from the IDW.

If you would like to learn more about the distributor dashboard homepage in the IDW, please contact your assigned Data Quality Analyst directly or call Tina Rostand, Data Quality Analyst, at .

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New Synchronization Customers

New DMP Customer

Lutron will be utilizing the DMP to to aggregate all their product information and communicate it more efficiently to all their trading partners through one application. Lutron is a global manufacturer of light control products, ranging from individual dimmers to total light management systems that control entire building complexes, serving both commercial and residential markets. Some of the larger Lutron light control systems in the US include the 52-story New York Times Building in New York; Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia; and the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. A privately held company, Lutron is headquartered in Coopersburg, PA with sales and service offices located worldwide in London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing. Find out more at

New IDW Customer

Michigan Electric Supply Co., an electrical distributor, became an Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) customer on July 5, 2012. For over 50 years, they have provided electrical products to contractors, commercial, residential and industrial accounts. Michigan Electric Supply Co. is also a member of IMARK Group and NAED. They will utilize the IDW to obtain product and pricing information from their suppliers. 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 12 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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