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This Week in IDEA | June 23, 2010

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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Change the Way You Think of ARRA (A Relationship Reinvigoration Attempt)

It’s never smart to assume when it comes to money in your pocket or a lack thereof. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) continued to be a hot topic at the latest IDEA Industry Standards (ISC) Meeting in St. Louis, MO. Although some manufacturers have had success communicating which products qualify for ARRA funded projects, distributors voiced that retrieving that information is still a major challenge. IDEA’s remedy: use this as an opportunity to reconnect with your trading partners and think of ARRA as “A Relationship Reinvigoration Attempt”.

Background: IDEA added ARRA-specific data to IDW last year to help manufacturers efficiently communicate ARRA-compliant products to distributors. The “ARRA Eligible Flag” in IDW is a quick and easy way to identify these products, and the “Country of Origin” field can be used to identify products that are made in the U.S. Both of these fields can be extracted during the normal download process. Learn more by reading our previous ARRA articles.

The Challenges:

Global Operations: Many manufacturers have global operations with production plants in multiple countries. These different plants could all be making the same product and shipping it directly to U.S. distributors. Since there are many variables that determine where a product is made, constructed and shipped from, global manufacturers can’t guarantee that certain products are eligible for ARRA funding.

Misconceptions of the “Country of Origin” field: Many distributors have the misconception that if a product has “U.S.” selected as the “Country of Origin” then that product qualifies for ARRA funding. This should never be assumed and it is definitely not always the case – many other factors determine whether or not a product is ARRA-compliant. For example, if a product’s materials are made in the U.S. but constructed in China, the product may or may not meet the robust ARRA-compliancy rules.

The Solutions:

IDEA is an advocate for developing trading partner relationships on a continuous basis. In fact, most of our solutions and services are designed to help companies maximize trading partner relationships to cut costs. We encourage all of our customers to look at the challenges of providing, communicating and using ARRA-compliant products as an opportunity to reinvigorate relationships.

If you are a manufacturer and have a list of products that are ARRA compliant, send your product list to IDEA so that we can ensure the “ARRA Eligible Flag” is populated to communicate product compliance to your distributors through IDW. We also encourage you to send a message to your distributors through IDW to let them know that you’ve made this important update. If you have globally-made products in which you can’t guarantee ARRA compliancy, let your distributors know about it. You should also tell them the steps to take if they need to make a special request to receive an ARRA-compliant product.

If you are a distributor, we encourage you to contact your manufacturer trading partner directly to determine the best way to receive information on ARRA-compliant products. Every manufacturer has its own methods to communicate this important information.

It’s best not to assume when it comes to important business information – a quick call or email could prevent major errors and unnecessary costs for both sides of the supply chain. Use this ARRA opportunity as a reason to reconnect with your trading partners and remind them that you value your business relationship.

As quoted in the “Cashing in on the ARRA” article by Jim Lucy of Electrical Wholesaling, “A strict interpretation of which products are and aren’t covered is beyond the scope of this article. Your best bet is to check with the manufacturer of the product in question, or the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, VA., which has been tracking ARRA closely.”

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Last Week for Forum Early Bird Rates - Download the Official Agenda Brochure

The IDEA E-Biz Forum early bird rates end next Wednesday, June 30th. Be sure to register (save $75 per attendee), spread the word to your peers, and secure your exhibitor booth (save $500 on your booth) within the next week! You’ll also get the recently announced educational sessions and download the official Forum agenda brochure.

Recently Announced Educational Sessions:

  • Opening Keynote: “eOptimizing Performance and Profitability” Leadership Panel
    Bob Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA and Industry Leaders
    IDEA is approaching a major turning point in its history of serving the electrical industry supply chain. The company, having been called a “quiet game-changer” by industry folks in 2010, looks to continue their momentum, and in doing so will be discussing their new integration plans that will change the speed at which customers can adapt to the ever-changing nature of business. IDEA has partnered with key thought leaders in the industry to bring this discussion to the big stage. Hear from three manufacturers and two distributors who have lent their support, expertise and feedback to help us deliver a tool to help customers have a business reach farther than they ever imagined.
  • B2B eCommerce: Small Steps to Increase Electronic Activity (Beginner to Intermediate)
    Barbara Prince, IDEA

    You have adopted B2B eCommerce for the exchange of basic business transactions (e.g. purchase orders and invoices) and the results have streamlined your order entry process and reduced the time needed to match invoices to PO’s. Now what? This session will explain some of the small steps your company can take to expand the use of EDI to other business processes and open up more of your supply chain to the ease of doing business electronically. Whether you are a distributor or a supplier, you will gain insight into the benefits of adding just two more transactions, the Order Acknowledgment and the Ship Notice/Manifest, to your list of EDI documents. Don’t stop there, what about using EDI to send or receive price files? Would you like to know when your trading partner has made an electronic funds transfer to pay an invoice? There’s a doc for that! Come learn how to “eOptimize Performance and Profitability” a few small steps at a time. For beginner/intermediate EDI users.

Download the Agenda and Activities Brochure and Register Now

Let your professional network know you are attending–!

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Border States, GE, Leviton, and OSRAM SYLVANIA: New Sponsors of the IDEA E-Biz Forum

­­­IDEA thanks OSRAM SYLVANIA for their Silver sponsorship and Border States, GE and Leviton for their Bronze sponsorship of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2010. These companies demonstrate their support of the training and educational event where B2B leaders in the electrical supply chain and other related verticals discover how to utilize the latest eBusiness strategies and technologies. Their leadership and support is greatly appreciated by all. The Forum, themed “eOptimizing Performance and Profitability”, will take place on September 20-22 in Dallas, TX.


Border States Electric (BSE) provides products and services to the construction, industrial, utility, and data communications markets. Active employees own 100 percent of the company under the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The employee-owned company has approximately 1,400 employees and 57 branch operations in 13 states and Mexico. BSE is one of the 100 largest private ESOP companies in America. Corporate headquarters are located in Fargo. For more information, visit


GE is an industry leader in integrated industrial equipment, systems and services. They provide solutions for commercial, industrial and residential use in more than 100 countries. GE brings innovative technologies that help their customers achieve cleaner, smarter, and more efficient ways to produce while meeting pressing environmental challenges. To learn more, visit  


Leviton is a global leader in electrical wiring devices, data center connectivity solutions and lighting energy management systems. Today Leviton’s product portfolio consists of over 25,000 devices and systems used in homes, businesses and industries. Nine out of ten buildings and homes throughout North America use products made by Leviton, and builders, electrical contractors and other industry professionals rank Leviton products #1 in brand preference. Leviton products are the smart choice for smart professionals. Find out more at  


OSRAM SYLVANIA is a leader in lighting solutions that feature innovative design and energy saving technology. The company sells products for homes, businesses and vehicles primarily under the SYLVANIA brand name, and also under the OSRAM brand. OSRAM SYLVANIA is part of the world’s second largest producer of LEDs. Headquartered in Danvers, Mass., OSRAM SYLVANIA is the North American operation of OSRAM GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens AG. For more information, visit or follow SYLVANIA on Facebook and Twitter.­

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New B2B eCommerce and Synchronization Customers

IDEA welcomes one new IDX and eight new IRD CERICOMX® customers. Read more about these companies and how you can begin trading with them electronically to expand your business.

New IDX Customer

The Reynolds Company, from Fort Worth, Texas, became an Industry Data Exchange (IDX) customer on June 17, 2010. The Reynolds Company is ranked as the 17th largest electrical distributor according to the June 2009 issue of Electrical Wholesaling. With over 60 years of experience, the Reynolds Company has 16 warehouses and 17 sales offices covering North Texas and the Gulf Coast including four locations in Southern Louisiana. They will be taking advantage of the cost savings and reliability of IDX to exchange B2B documents. The Reynolds Company is a proud member of A-D. Find out more at Welcome aboard!

New IRD CERICOMX® Customers

IDEA, a 1SYNC Data Pool On-Board Solution (OBS) partner, implements suppliers that subscribe to the 1SYNC data pool using IDEA's IRD CERICOMX® application. IDEA was recently assigned eight 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 like Lowe’s and Walmart.

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July Training Opportunities

This month IDEA continues to offer live training sessions for customers online in addition to on-demand eLearning modules.

UNSPSC Training and Assistance

The population of United Nations Standard Products and Services Codes (UNSPSC) is essential for the industry to begin utilizing and benefiting from the first Electrical Attribute Schema. Training will continually be offered to IDEA customers so that these codes can be appropriately maintained and utilized in the future. UNSPSC codes will be required at the commodity level in the IDW Data Synchronization Platform on July 1, 2010.

Download the UNSPSC Service Document to find out how IDEA can help you develop a custom assistance program for your company. Contact your IDEA account manager to sign up for live training this month – trainings are held every Thursday at 3:00PM EST.

Need a refresher? You can access the Electrical Attribute Schema eLearning Module 24/7 on the Portal under Training>Standards.

Live IDW Training

IDEA offers one-on-one IDW training sessions online. The trainings are divided into two parts for manufacturers and distributors. Part one reviews the essential business elements of IDW and part two dives deeper into the application. Niche training (e.g. Utilities Workstation, Net Price, Inbound Mapping, etc.) is also available upon request.

Need a refresher? You can access the IDW eLearning Module 24/7 on the Portal under Training>IDW>Training Modules.

Customers interested in scheduling a live IDW training session should contact Josh Given at .

Live IDX Tracker Training Schedule is offered every Tuesday at 1:30- 2:30 PM EST.

Need a refresher? You can access the IDX Tracker eLearning Module 24/7 on the Portal under Training>IDX>Training Modules.

Customers interested in scheduling a live IDX Tracker training session should contact Edwin Lopez at .

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