News & Events

This Week in IDEA | March 31, 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.


Subscribe to This Week in IDEA

Get the Top 4 Data Content Requests from Distributors

A tough economy, reduced staffing, shrinking markets… distributors need key product information in order to help sell products to customers – now, more than ever. IDEA distributors are formally asking all manufacturers to support a 4-point request to help distributors sell products and improve end user satisfaction for timely, accurate, product data. The request was developed and supported by leaders of the IDEA Industry Standards Committee (ISC).

When NEMA and NAED formed IDEA over 10 years ago, they envisioned a process to improve the flow and accuracy of data between trading partners. The realization of that vision resulted in the development of Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) and Industry Data Exchange (IDX). If you have attended recent industry events, there is barely a meeting held without mention of improving data content and synchronization. IDEA distributors are formally asking all manufacturers to support the 4-point request below to help them sell products and improve end user satisfaction for timely, accurate, product data.

The Top 4 Data Content Requests from Distributors:

  • Send “Core product, pricing and packaging data” as a minimum, to IDW on a frequent and consistent basis.
  • Send “Extended and Catalog product data” such as images, long product descriptions, etc. through IDW, and reduce your costs of distributing this data to trading partners in other forms (e.g. CD, email, paper, and web).
  • Utilize “Item Status Codes*” to communicate product life-cycle activity to IDW - from inception to deletion  (Active, Phase-out, Obsolescence, Superseded by, Replace with, etc.).
  • Do Not Reassign an existing or previously used UPC / GTIN / EAN number, to a new catalog or part number.

*The IDEA Data Content & Quality Sub-Committee developed an IDEA Standard for product life-cycle management which defines industry “Item Status Codes” and outlines best practices for manufacturers on their use. This white paper titled “IDW Product Life Cycle Benefit Analysis” provides a graphic outline of the challenges your trading partners and end customers endure regarding data sync issues and the benefits when data management best practices are in place. A copy of the white paper is located on the IDEA Portal  under Training>Standards.

Manufacturers are encouraged to respond to this trading partner request positively and put a plan-of-action in place to deliver or update data in IDW. Manufacturers can start the process by circulating this request internally to those who create, maintain and manage product and pricing data. This typically includes product managers, marketing and communications, eCommerce and price / cost / quotations personnel.

Please contact , Standards Director, if you have any questions about this 4-point request.

You can also download the case study “A Journey through Data Discovery”  to get more education from Phil Barrios, IDEA Standards Committee Chair and Sr. Director, Corp. Marketing & E-Business of Hubbell Incorporated, and Ron Schlader, Chairman of the IDEA Board (2009-2010) and VP Operations and Quality of Crescent Electric Supply.

Tags for this post: idw data synchronization product life cycle item status codes

Back To Top

IDW Enhancements Increase Flexibility and Help Distributors Plan Ahead

IDW enhancements were completed in March to add flexibility options 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. Get the details on the latest customer-inspired enhancements and find out how they could affect your business.

Enhancement: Manufacturers can now communicate future price codes, seller class codes and their effective date using IDW (see screen shot below). Providing these future codes will give distributors time to make appropriate updates to their business systems and will prevent process disruptions.

Background: Price Codes are typically used by manufacturers to communicate discounts to distributors (e.g. all products with code #123 are sold at a 10% discount). Seller Class Codes are manufacturer-specific product categorization codes used for a multitude of processes within the manufacturer and distributor business system. (Read more about Seller Class Codes)

Considerations for Manufacturers:

  • These future codes should be populated before you make changes to the current codes
  • The future codes will automatically be populated as current codes on the effective date provided

Considerations for Distributors:

  • You must request to receive these new future codes in your data extraction report
  • You can extract descriptions of the future codes using the Seller Class/Sub-Class Usage report on IDW
  • The future codes are included in the latest version of the EZ View Pipe v.2.4.3 on the IDEA Portal, but you must add the fields if you use a custom outbound map

Enhancement: Distributors now have the ability to extract product data by price sheet. This can be completed through the IDW search feature (see screen shots below).


Background: Some manufacturers publish multiple price sheets for distributors based on specific criteria (e.g. geographic region and/or sales volume). If multiple price sheets are available, distributors typically know which ones are applicable to them. This new search feature allows distributors to select the applicable price sheet from their manufacturer(s), reducing clutter from their data downloads.

Enhancement: Manufacturers now have the option to turn off their expired price sheets (see screen shot below). This will prevent distributors from accessing outdated pricing.

Background: Distributors may need to refer to expired price sheets for multiple reasons (e.g. billing for a job that began when an older price sheet was active), but some manufacturers prefer to keep all outdated pricing information hidden.

Got ideas for future enhancements? We continually strive to make our solutions more user-friendly and valuable to customers. Please send your ideas for future IDW enhancements to Manager, Data Synchronization Platform.

Tags for this post: idw pricing data seller class codes

Back To Top

Schneider Electric and Graybar: Bronze Sponsors of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2010

IDEA would like to thank Schneider Electric and Graybar for their Bronze level 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.

About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric is committed to making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. 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.  Find out more at

About Graybar
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, communications and networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of more than 240 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of customers. For more information, visit or call 1-800-GRAYBAR.

Join the ranks of these eBusiness leaders - take a look at the sponsor benefits to select and confirm your company sponsorship.

Tags for this post: ebiz forum sponsors graybar schneider electric

Back To Top

April 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 this month.

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 at .

Live IDX Tracker Training Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 06 10:00 – 11:00AM EST
  • Tuesday, April 13: 10:00 – 11:00AM EST
  • Tuesday, April 20: 10:00 – 11:00AM EST
  • Tuesday, April 27: 10:00 – 11:00AM 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 .

Tags for this post: idw unspsc idx training attribute schema

Back To Top

New Synchronization Customers

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 19 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.

      Tags for this post: customers ird

      Back To Top

      Need more info?

      Customer Service:

      View Latest eBusiness education and news for the electrical supply chain. Become an eBiz expert today! subscribe >