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This Week in IDEA | May 14, 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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IDEA Announces New IDEA Board Directors and Officers for 2012-2013

The IDEA Board of Directors elected Steve Sokolow, Chairman of the Board, Leviton, as the IDEA Chairman of the Board for 2012-2013. He previously served on the IDEA Board as the Vice Chairman from 2011-2012 and Treasurer from 2010-2011.

“Over the next year, IDEA’s #1 priority will continue to be collaborating with manufacturers to populate marketing content in the IDW. We’ll also work together to provide the industry with innovative technology applications that integrate systems across the supply chain, from manufacturer, through distributor, to the end-user, to meet their evolving needs,” said Sokolow.

Prior to being named Board Chairman at Leviton, Sokolow served as Executive Vice President in which he directed Leviton’s manufacturing, engineering, distribution and information technology operations. He has been the driving force behind many process improvements during his 50-year career at Leviton spanning all disciplines and areas of the company. Sokolow also serves as a member of the Board of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) and is a recipient of Electrical Wholesaling magazine’s prestigious Ganzenmuller Electrical Marketing (GEM) Award.

Outgoing IDEA Chairman, Larry Stern, served in the position from 2011-2012 and will continue to serve on the Board as a voting director.

"I really appreciate the focus and enthusiasm of the IDEA staff and Board over the last year. Collectively, with the support of over 100 electrical manufacturers, we more than doubled the marketing content available in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) which is an accomplishment I'm very proud to have helped lead," said Larry Stern, President and CEO, Standard Electric Supply Co. (WI).

IDEA welcomes one new officer: Wes Smith, President, Mayer Electric Supply, and four new voting directors: Jack Lawson, President and CEO, Electrical Equipment Co., Jack Carlson, President, Electrical Division, Southwire Division, and Vernon Nagel, Chairman, President, and CEO, Acuity Brands Inc., and Bob Siegel, VP, Investment and Inventory Management, Graybar.

The 2012-2013 IDEA Officers: (* Denotes Non-voting Director)

  • Chairman: Steve Sokolow, Chairman of the Board, Leviton
  • Vice Chairman: John Burke, President and COO, Kirby Risk Electrical Supply
  • Treasurer: Valerie Jones, VP of Customer Service and Inside Sales, OSRAM SYLVANIA
  • Secretary: Wes Smith, President, Mayer Electric Supply
  • President: Robert Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA*

Additional Voting Directors:

  • Phil Barrios, Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing and eBusiness, Hubbell, Inc.
  • Jack Carlson, President, Electrical Division, Southwire Division
  • Jack Lawson, President and CEO, Electrical Equipment Co.
  • Vernon Nagel, Chairman, President, and CEO, Acuity Brands Inc.
  • Bob Siegel, VP, Investment and Inventory Management, Graybar
  • Larry Stern, President and CEO, Standard Electric Supply Co.

Additional Non-voting Directors:

  • Evan Gaddis, President and CEO, NEMA
  • Tom Naber, President and CEO, NAED

View the press release online>

Find out more about IDEA’s Board of Directors in "About Us">

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Introducing IDW ‘Bands of Excellence’ Rating System: Congrats to the Leading Manufacturers!

As part of the industry’s ongoing efforts to populate the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) with robust product marketing content, IDEA, with support from owners NAED and NEMA, is introducing an IDW ‘Bands of Excellence’ rating system, to increase visibility on the progress that’s being made by manufacturers.

The ‘Bands of Excellence’ rating system measures each manufacturer’s completion percentage for populating the most-requested marketing content in the IDW, otherwise known as the “SAID” information (see definition below). This rating is only applied to the manufacturers’ stock/quick-ship products. In this case, stock/quick-ship products are defined as all products ready for sale through distribution, which are usually on-hand or inventoried by the manufacturer. The target deadline for populating IDW with all “SAID” information before the manufacturer bands go public is June 30, 2012.

In order to help sell manufacturers’ products, distributors have “SAID” they need manufacturers to provide the following essential marketing elements:

  • Spec Documents: Specification sheets or product brochures that provide technical details about a product, including what the product is and does
  • Attributes (defined in the industry’s Electrical Attribute Schema): Product information based on its characteristics, such as: brand, voltage, size, material, application, color, etc., which enable customers to search and select products
  • Images: A good visual of the product that customers can view to confirm they are making the right choice
  • Descriptions: An easy-to-understand text summary of a product’s key features that help define and/or differentiate it from other like products

Once the “SAID” elements are populated in the IDW, distributors can download the information to build a robust web storefront or print collateral that differentiates manufacturers’ products and makes it easier for customers to search, filter and select the best product to suit their needs.

IDW ‘Bands of Excellence’ rating metrics:

  • Platinum: Manufacturers that have populated 75-100% of their stock/quick-ship products with all SAID elements
  • Gold: Manufacturers that have populated 50-74% of their stock/quick-ship products with all SAID elements
  • Bronze: Manufacturers that have populated 10-49% of their stock/quick-ship products with all SAID elements
  • Not-Rated: Manufacturers with less than 10% of their stock/quick-ship products completed or those companies that opt-out of participating will not be rated. There will be no differentiation between those with less than 10% completion and those that opt-out.

Congratulations to the manufacturers that have already populated nearly 100% of the SAID elements for their stock/quick-ship products in the IDW, reaching the highest Band of Excellence, Platinum: ­


“Attention to detail allows us to provide added value solutions, such as those that IDEA provides, for our distribution partners, and reinforces Eiko’s business philosophy that doing business should be easy and uncomplicated,” said Mitch Carney, Director of Sales for Eiko NA states, Eiko Ltd.

­“Hubbell Lighting understands the importance that robust product data plays in an effective eCommerce strategy. We feel it is our responsibility to provide this data to our distributor partners to ensure our mutual success as more of the business moves online,” said Scott Muse, President, Hubbell Lighting, Inc.

“No question that pulling all the data together can be a challenge for a manufacturer, but the long term rewards resulting from this investment in time will benefit Burndy and the electrical channel in the future,” added Rodd Ruland, President, Burndy LLC, an affiliate of Hubbell Incorporated.

“As a leader in the electrical industry, ILSCO strives to be at the forefront of an ever-changing m­arketplace. Our distributor partners continue to require increasing amounts of electronic data, so it is essential that we make it available to them in the most current and accurate way possible. We feel that taking the lead by reaching IDEA’s Platinum Band of Excellence is one of several factors contributing to the market growth that ILSCO has been experiencing in recent years,” said Jim Kosciolek, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, ILSCO.

“Data attribution is a critical element to the success of OSRAM SYLVANIA and our distributors. We are thankful for the expertise, tools and vision of IDEA as we continue to navigate through our ever-evolving product lifecycles,” said Valerie Jones, VP, Customer Service & Inside Sales, OSRAM SYLVANIA.


“Providing clean and complete marketing data to our distributors through the IDW has allowed STI to make it very easy for them to have all the information they need to promote our products. This not only helps project our brand in a consistent manner across various media, it is also the most efficient way for us to help our distributors meet their customers' needs,” said Charbel H. Tagher, President, Specified Technologies, Inc.

Manufacturers should contact their Data Quality Analyst at IDEA to check their current SAID element population for their stock/quick-ship products. We can work with them to help boost their marketing content in the IDW before the IDW Bands of Excellence go public after June 30th.

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Unilog, Thomas & Betts and Leviton: New Sponsors of the E-Biz Forum

IDEA is proud to announce Unilog as the exclusive Executive Partner sponsor, Thomas & Betts as a Gold Sponsor and Leviton as a Bronze sponsor of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2012. Thank you to our new sponsors!­


Unilog is a global technology & services company that specializes in Product Data Management and e-Commerce. Unilog provides a host of services and solutions that are key to improving strategic business processes. With its flagship product CIMM2, Unilog helps companies drastically cut down their time to a mature e-Commerce business model. And with XRF2, Unilog can help companies keep a close watch on the competitive landscape in real-time. The product suits are offered via a secure private Cloud. Unilog is active in the following Industry domains: Electrical & Electronics, Industrial & Safety, Life Sciences & Lab Supply, Office Supplies & IT, Mining & Metallurgy, Chemical & Process, Telecom and more. Visit to know more.­


Thomas & Betts has been a leader in providing products for commercial and industrial construction, industrial plant maintenance, repair and operation, electrical utility distribution, communications and original equipment manufacturing for over 100 years. They offer one of the broadest product lines in the electrical industry, with more than 70 of the most widely recognized and valued brands in the industry. Through Thomas & Betts' portfolio, customers are able to find almost of the items they need for any typical electrical application. Thomas & Betts is headquartered in Memphis, TN. To learn more, visit


­Leviton is a global leader in electrical wiring devices, data center connectivity solutions and lighting energy management systems. The company’s broad product portfolio consists of over 25,000 devices and systems used in homes, businesses and industry. Leviton is at the forefront of green initiatives and has recently introduced Evr-Green™, a complete solution for residential, commercial and public plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging, and Leviton Solar, a complete and affordable home solar energy program. 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

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Congratulations to the new NAED and ESFi Board of Directors

­­IDEA extends its congratulations and welcomes the new Board of Directors of our partners, NAED and ESFi

National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED)

­­At the conclusion of the 2012 NAED National Meeting, Clarence Martin, CEO and CFO of Huntington, W.Va.-based State Electric Supply Company, was announced chairman of the 2012-2013 NAED Board of Directors.

Martin succeeds Bob Reynolds, chairman, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Graybar, and will be followed in 2013 by Sandra Rosecrans, president and CEO of Syracuse, N.Y.-based City Electric Co., who was named board chair-elect.

“From advancements in technology to the dynamic workforce, we must be prepared for the change afoot in our industry,” said Martin. “My focus this year will be on planning and execution as means for preparing for those changes. NAED has the tools and resources to keep us all on track for a successful future.”

View full announcement and the Directors for 2012-2013>

Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi)

­­ESFi announced the appointment of two new members to their Board of Directors: Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Communications for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Samuel G. Tornabene, Senior Director of Communication Services at Edison Electric Institute (EEI).

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated exclusively to promoting the importance of electrical safety. ESFI proudly sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May, and engages in public education campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of the steps that can be taken to prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities in the home, school, and workplace.

View the press release online>

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Taking Stock of a Runaway Inventory

According to this article by Steve Rees, poorly optimized inventory could lead to unnecessary expenses such as excess stock, wasted space and lost contracts and customers. Although demand-forecasting and a reduction in supplier lead times could mitigate inventory inefficiencies, Rees examines the challenges of each and how managed EDI solutions can be offered as an effective solution.

Read the Supply Chain Digital article online>

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New B2B eCommerce and Synchronization Customers

New iCIMM2 Customer

North Coast Electric, an electrical distributor operating over 33 locations nationwide, recently became an iCIMM2 customer. Family owned and operated since 1913, North Coast Electric supplies a broad range of electrical equipment to the electrical contractor, factory, automation, industrial MRO and commercial & institutional markets. They will leverage the iCIMM2 web storefront software, which comes pre-populated with IDW product data, to publish multiple versions of their product catalog data to various media, and provide robust search engine capabilities to their customers. Find out more at and read the iCIMM2 press release for more information.

New DMP Customers

Border States is a 100 percent employee-owned company with headquarters in Fargo, North Dakota, and an extensive network of branch locations. In June 2010, Electrical Wholesaling magazine ranked Border States as the ninth largest independent electrical distributor in the United States. Border States Electric will be using the Data Management Platform (DMP) to access the resources they need to build product catalogs, send specific data requests for information that gives them a competitive advantage, and capitalize on returns from utilizing DMP product data immediately. Find out more at

Cooper Industries is a diversified global manufacturer of electrical components and tools, with seven operating divisions including: Bussmann electrical and electronic fuses, Crouse-Hinds and CEAG explosion-proof electrical equipment, Halo and Metalux lighting fixtures, and Kyle and McGraw-Edison power systems products. Cooper has manufacturing facilities in 23 countries as of 2011, and employs more than 25,000 people throughout the world. Cooper will be integrating their business system with the DMP in a custom machine-to-machine connection to communicate product information more efficiently internally and to their trading partners by consolidating the process and publishing the data one time. Find out more at

New IDW Customer

Electrical Supply Center, an independently owned and operated distributor, became an Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) customer on May 4, 2012. With a Burlington and Wakefield branch in Massachusetts, Electrical Supply Center is dedicated to continuous improvement by utilizing the latest technology to optimize their facilities, delivery and inventory management. They will utilize the IDW to obtain product and pricing information from their suppliers. Find out more at

New IDX Customer

Eastern Propane Gas Co., the country’s 14th largest propane gas retailer, became an Industry Data Exchange (IDX) customer on April 30, 2012. Dedicated to providing residential and commercial business owners with reliable and affordable energy solutions and services, Eastern was founded in Danvers, Massachusetts in 1932 and remains family-owned today. They will take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of 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 21 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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