News & Events

This Week in IDEA | June 11, 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 Establishes an Innovation Advisory Council Comprised of Electrical Industry Thought Leaders

Council to focus on a plan that will enhance product content in the IDW

IDEA recently established the Innovation Advisory Council, comprised of innovative thought leaders in the electrical wholesale distribution space from leading distributor and manufacturer companies. The council will initially focus on an Innovating for the Future Plan to enhance manufacturer product content available to distributors through the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW).

The purpose of this new council is to develop an on-going forum to stimulate thought leadership for creative, innovative and visionary thinking. The council will extend IDEA’s domain expertise and offer a forum for stakeholders to communicate their opinions, share their expertise and collaborate on issues of mutual concern.

“These thought leaders bring unique knowledge and skills that complement those of the IDEA Board of Directors and extend the collaborative base of IDEA. The top priority for the council is to guide the enhancement of the product content in the IDW based on what our customers have identified as their most important needs in the growing digital economy,” said Bob Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA.

As part of the Innovating for the Future Plan, IDEA will work with the Innovation Advisory Council to determine the best ways to deliver additional product information through the IDW that will enable more efficient bids, sales transactions and eCommerce capabilities for distributors.

“This work leverages the significant improvements the manufacturers have made over the last year in the richness and completeness of their product marketing content for their distributor partners,” said John Burke, IDEA Chairman, and President and COO, Kirby Risk Electrical Supply.

IDEA has enhanced the IDW to include more accurate and complete marketing content, pricing, and non-specific manufacturer UPC numbers (i.e. 98-series UPC numbers), and will continue to announce improvements that result from on-going efforts to enhance IDW product content throughout the year.

The Innovation Advisory Council members include:


  • Barry Carden, VP & CIO, Mayer Electric Supply
  • Greg Chun, VP of Information Technology, McNaughton-McKay Electric Company
  • Phil Hale, CIO, Elliott Electric
  • Les Johnson, VP & CIO, North Coast Electric
  • Jason Seger, VP-Procurement, Border States Electric
  • Bob Siegel, VP-Investment & Inventory Management, Graybar
  • Jeff Skiles, Director of Technology Support, Kirby Risk Electrical Supply (Task Force Chairman) 


  • Phil Barrios, Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing & eBusiness, Hubbell Incorporated
  • Chris Castleberry, Director of Marketing, Thomas & Betts, a member of the ABB Group
  • Pat Quinn, CIO, Acuity Brands
  • Mark Richards, Director of eCommerce, Leviton
  • Iram Shah, SVP Digital Customer Experience, Schneider Electric
  • Samer Shehadeh, Manager of EDI & eCommerce, Eaton Electrical Sector
  • Phil Tuggle, Senior Vice President, Southwire

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E-Biz Forum Prizes and Promotions

Just a few weeks are left to take advantage of the Early Bird rates for the 2013 IDEA E-Biz Forum. Register before June 28th to save $100 on registration. Don’t forget to check if you qualify for our promotions and start participating before the event for some great prizes.

Registration and Travel Promotions:

  • Buy two registrations and the third is half-off (all registrants must be from the same company)
  • New customers (joined IDEA after September 1, 2012) receive one complimentary registration
  • Media representatives receive complimentary registration
  • Refer-a-friend in your registration and be entered in a raffle for a $25 Starbucks gift card
  • Reference the group code: ZIDE to receive the IDEA E-Biz Forum Rate of $179 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek – all rooms must be booked no later than September 3, 2013
  • American Airlines discount: 5% use promotion code (1793BP)

Forum Facebook Raffle:

Start connecting with other attendees before the event by “liking” the brand new . The first 50 people to like the page will be entered in a raffle for a $50 Disney gift card, redeemable at the Disney store in the hotel, at the Disney parks just a few minutes away, and on Disney websites online.

Social Media Contest:

You can also win a iPad Mini in our social media contest by contributing the most value-added comments on the  and/or on Twitter. Make sure to mention or use hashtag #ebizforum so we can track your Tweet. The contest begins now, and you can get a head start by sharing event news, commenting on the sessions you're looking forward to, and asking our speakers questions in advance to help us shape the session content. Just make sure you’re a registered attendee to qualify. 

Best of luck and keep an eye out for more prizes and contests during the event, including the Passport Program and Speaker Participation Raffle!

View the 2013 Forum agenda>
Register online for the Forum>

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New EDIPro Standards Resources for EDI 832 B Views

The IDEA Industry Standards Committee (ISC) recently published updated EDIPro standards resources for the EDI 832 B Views. As the official eBusiness standards-setting body of the electrical industry, the ISC develops and publishes industry-approved standards and guidelines to enable easier electronic communication with your trading partners.

The ISC created the EDIPro guidelines to support industry best practices and help electrical manufacturers and distributors conduct electronic data interchange (EDI) seamlessly. The guidelines provide a detailed subset of the ANSI X12 specification, one of the largest EDI standards available. Adopting IDEA’s EDIPro guidelines, available as a free resource to the industry, will reduce the time and effort it takes to become EDI-capable, and increase the return from your technology investments. Learn about more benefits of using EDIPro>

The EDIPro guidelines include information on the EDI 832 Price/Sales Catalog transaction. The EDI 832 utilizes logically structured “Views” of the data and supports the data requirements of the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW). Each View is used to populate a particular sub-set of the Product Descriptor Data (PDD). The PDD serves as the backbone of the IDW and describes the format and characteristics of each field for transactional, enriched, and attributed manufacturer data. Download the ISC white paper “Overview of the EDIPro 832 B Views” to learn more>

To accommodate changes made to the IDW and PDD over the years, the B2B Communications Sub-Committee of the ISC has updated guidelines for six of the B Views. The B Views are used to load product information into the IDW and enable manufacturers and distributors to reduce errors, increase accuracy, and lower cost when keeping their data in sync. As a result, a manufacturer can improve their speed-to-market by getting data to distributors faster. The B Views include the following:

  • B1 – Product information
  • B2 – MSDS information
  • B3 – Text information (the long description for a product)
  • B4 – Packaging information
  • B5 – Pricing information
  • B7 – Product File Name information (enriched data including URLs, images, spec sheets, and videos)

The guidelines include new formatting, minor adjustments to align the standards with the current PDD, and common information has been moved to the white paper “Overview of the EDIPro 832 B Views.” No new functionality was added, but the guidelines have improved for easier use and adoption. The new guidelines are available in Standards Resources and through the IDEA Portal by specifying “EDI Standards” for the “Standard Type” field.

As a reminder, both manufacturers and distributors can send/receive IDW product data using the EDI 832 document via the Industry Data Exchange (IDX) without incurring traffic charges.

Please contact Mary Shaw, Director of eBusiness Standards, at with any questions or to inquire about joining an IDEA Standards committee to contribute to industry standards efforts.

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DMP Demo and Expert Q&A Sessions

IDEA will be hosting ongoing webinar sessions about the Data Management Platform (DMP) for our manufacturer customers. These short 20 minute sessions are designed to provide high-level insights on how the DMP can streamline the communication of product data to various sales channels, how the DMP product interface works, and how the DMP integrates with IDEA's Industry Data Warehouse (IDW).

Please contact Melissa Longnecker, DMP Manager, at to schedule your session.

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Connecting with Contractors

Understanding how the electrical supply chain is connected through manufacturers, distributors, contractors and other end-users is essential for identifying business opportunities and streamlining the flow of product data to all industry channels. We’ve gathered some new resources to help you understand how contractors operate.

NAED’s recently introduced Contractor’s Corner, a new column dedicated to supporting the distributor and contractor business relationship. Each month, Stan Walercyzk, founder of Lighting Wizards and former distributor and contractor with 24 years of experience in the field, will share stories from the eyes of the contractor to spotlight what happens on the job and daily operations. Read the first article introducing the Contractor’s Corner series>

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) launched their new website including professional development tools, advocacy news, contractor resources, events, community announcements and a contractor locator. They also publish numerous blogs and eNewsletters. Visit the new NECA website>

Checkout a video on how to navigate the new website.

The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) association also offers robust online resources on advocacy, events, training, safety information, and communications resources. IEC publishes Insights magazine, distributes eNewsletters, and holds an online Newsroom. Read the Insights article “Online Transactions” on the IEC website>

Want to know where contractors interact online? Electrician Talk is a Forum discussion board for professional electrical contractors with more than 40,000 members and over 1 million posts. You are required to register for the Forum before you can start discussions or reply to other members in the community, but all information is available to the public. You can also search for the products you sell on the Forum to find out what contractors are saying about it. Search the Professional Electrical Contractors Forum on>

Have a contractor resource you think would benefit your industry peers? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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Thomas & Betts and TPI Corporation are New Sponsors of the E-Biz Forum

IDEA is proud to announce new sponsors of the 2013 IDEA E-Biz Forum. Thank you to Thomas & Betts for their Gold sponsorship and TPI Corporation for their Silver sponsorship.

Thomas & Betts Corporation, a member of the ABB Group, is a global manufacturer of essential components used to manage the connection, distribution, transmission and reliability of electrical power in utility, industrial, commercial, and residential applications. With a portfolio of more than 200,000 products marketed under more than 45 premium brand names, Thomas & Betts products are found wherever electricity is used. To learn more, visit

TPI Corporation is an OEM manufacturer of electric heat equipment, process heat ovens, ventilation products & fans, lighting equipment, and custom thermostatic controls for industrial and commercial markets. TPI Corporation is a privately-held organization committed to quality products manufactured in the United States. To learn more, visit

Sponsor & Exhibitor Benefits at the IDEA E-Biz Forum:

Download the Sponsor & Exhibitor form to learn about more benefits>

View more information about sponsorship online>

For questions, comments and personal service regarding sponsoring or exhibiting, please contact Kari Thomas at or .

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New IDW Platinum Band of Excellence Manufacturers

Congratulations to Hubbell Lenoir City and TPI Corporation for recently achieving the IDW Platinum Band of Excellence, the most elite status in the industry’s banding program which measures the amount of marketing content manufacturers provide to the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) for their distributors. These companies are now providing marketing content for 75% - 100% of their stock items to the IDW! There are now 60 manufacturers that have achieved the Platinum Band of Excellence.

View all manufacturers with IDW Bands of Excellence ratings>

Please also join us in congratulating Bridgeport Fittings on their achievement in populating marketing content for nearly 100% of their items in the IDW.

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

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