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This Week in IDEA | May 21, 2008

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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New IDEA, IDW and IDEA IRD Customers

IDEA announces two new IDEA customers and 21 new IDEA IRD customers. Read more about these companies and how you can begin trading with them electronically to expand your business.

New IDEA Customers

Dover Electric Supply Co.

Dover Electric Supply Co. from Dover, DE, became an IDEA customer on May 14, 2008. They will depend on Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) for their product and pricing needs. Dover Electric Supply is a family owned and run business, and has been in the community since 1948. The company has four locations and serves the commercial, industrial and residential markets. They are a proud member of NAED and Equity EDN. Find out more at Welcome aboard!

Auburn Armature Inc. (AAI) from Auburn, NY, became an IDEA customer May 14, 2008. They will take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of Industry Data Exchange (IDX). AAI is both a distributor of industrial and commercial electrical equipment, and an electrical repair facility. AAI is a proud member of IMARK. Find out more at Welcome aboard!

New IDW Customer

Womak Electric Supply, from Danville, VA, recently expanded their eCommerce services. They will rely on Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) for their product, pricing and catalog information beginning June 1, 2008.

Womak Eletric Supply, founded in 1938, is a family owned independent electrical distributor. The company has 17 branch locations in throughout southern Virginia and the Carolinas. Find out more at  

New IDEA IRD 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 21 suppliers:

These companies will be trained to use IRD CERICOMX®, an IDEA branded product for supporting and uploading supplier product information into the GS1 Registry® and GDSN via the 1SYNC Data Pool.

If you would like to find out more about the CERICOMX® product, please contact , IRD Product & Customer Support Manager, at .

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Sterling Commerce, Rexel and IMARK: Sponsors of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2008!

IDEA would like to thank Sterling Commerce for their Platinum sponsorship, Rexel for their Gold sponsorship and IMARK for their Bronze sponsorship of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2008.

Sterling Commerce, a subsidiary of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), helps customers thrive in a global economy by connecting their business communities, processes, people and technology. More than 30,000 customers worldwide – including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 – use Sterling Commerce solutions for business process integration, multi-channel selling, and supply chain fulfillment to improve profitability inside and outside their company walls. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Sterling Commerce has offices in 19 countries and most major cities around the world. Find out more at

Rexel is a leading worldwide distributor of electrical supplies that serves three main end markets: industrial, commercial and residential. The company is present in 29 countries, with a network of circa 1,960 branches, and 25,600 employees. Rexel’s sales were 10.7 billion EUR in 2007. Find out more at   

IMARK GROUP, Inc. is a member-owned marketing group made up of 172 independently owned electrical distributors throughout the United States. Member companies serve their local customers at over 1,000 branch locations. With over $8 billion in combined sales, IMARK members represent the second largest electrical distribution entity in the United States. IMARK is an associate member of the National Association of Electrical Distributors and the National Cooperative Business Association. Find out more at  

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Nominations Open for the Second Annual Richard Buzun Award

Nominations are open for the second annual Richard Buzun Award for Leadership and Innovation in eCommerce, sponsored by Siemens Energy & Automation. The award is named after the late Richard Buzun, former IDEA Chairman, and CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation. One manufacturer company and one distributor company will be recognized for innovative use of eCommerce and continually working towards greater supply chain efficiencies.

“Companies in the electrical industry who make eCommerce and data synchronization a top priority should be recognized and praised for their efforts. This award was created to bring attention to those dedicated companies so their initiatives can be mirrored throughout the industry,” said Bob Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA.

The winners will be announced at the close of the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2008 in Washington D.C, September 14-16.

“It is appropriate to announce the winners of the Richard Buzun Award at the industry Forum that promotes education of eCommerce programs, new technologies, and collaborative trading partner relationships. I am honored to be a part of it,” said Gaylord.

The award nomination form is based on criteria that measures company involvement in electronic business activities and programs that achieve data synchronization. Nominations must be submitted by an employee of the company. The form and a complete list of criteria can be found at Nominations close August 1.

Take this opportunity to brag about your company’s accomplishments. Winning this award can help your company reinforce corporate direction, boost sales, and gain & retain talented employees. If chosen, you will receive:

  • a customized crystal award
  • a digital award seal
  • a press release and photo

Nominate your company today!

Tags for this post: ebiz forum bob gaylord richard buzun awards

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Counterfeiting Woes

We recently discussed the ongoing problem of counterfeiting in the electrical industry and how you can take preventative measures. Find out more about this issue in an article courtesy of

Excerpts from

The electrical manufacturing industry has been making strides recently to collectively combat counterfeit products from China. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have been working with electrical manufacturers and other anti-counterfeiting outfits to prevent dangerous, substandard electrical counterfeit products from reaching the general public.

“An industrial or residential breaker not ‘tripping’ at its intended phase can cause physical harm or even death resulting from explosions or electrical fires. Safety is compromised in every case that a counterfeit product is used,” says Dan Kalka, Counsel – Intellectual Property, Eaton Corporation.

Power cords and extension cords have been a staple product of counterfeiters for some time. And because counterfeiters are only looking to make quick buck, with little regard for safety, many counterfeit power cords are made with substandard components.

What makes these products even more dangerous is the false sense of security they give because many feature counterfeit UL labels.

Underwriters Laboratories’ certified label indicates a product has been tested to the electrical standards and considered safe for public use. As a result, knockoff labels falsely advertise that the product is safe and works properly.

“There are 20 billion UL marks that appear on products every year.” says John Drengernberg, consumer affairs manager for UL. “The incidences of counterfeiting based on that number is really a very tiny fraction of counterfeit products, but that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring it. We’re very aggressive, supporting stronger laws and higher fines to keep counterfeit products out of the market.”

To combat the problem of counterfeit certification labels, UL has mandated a special holographic label for all products manufactured in China.

The silver 3-D mark can’t be printed through normal printing processes, making it difficult for counterfeits to copy. UL has trained over 2,000 customs officials to look for this sticker during inspections.

Most counterfeited products are items that can be easily mass produced, are low cost, and come in small packages. It also helps if the product is a recognizable brand or carries a recognized third-party testing label, such as UL or CSA (Canadian Standards Association).

As a result, Schneider Electric’s popular high volume, low cost Square D circuit breakers are a counterfeiter’s dream.

To defend its brand, Square D has been working closely with the Chinese government, actively searching for makers of the counterfeits and filing numerous lawsuits both domestically — to unauthorized distributors selling its product — and abroad.

Square D has not yet completely stopped the counterfeiting, but their stance has been making strides.

“What we are trying to do is send a message to counterfeiters that we’re not going to sit on the sidelines and allow people to counterfeit our product,” says Jim Pauley, industrial and government relations, Schneider Electric.

But the biggest challenge the manufacturers face is the scope of the counterfeiting operations. Many operations are shut down, but quickly pop up again in new locations.

International boundaries muddy the waters – and finding the culprits in some cases remains elusive.

“Counterfeits are not made in state of the art factories,” says Silcox. “We find most counterfeit products are made in small, back alley garages with a few molding presses and workers assembling parts by hand.”

Adding to this challenge is the volume these garages output. One garage may make a small batch of 10,000 to 15,000 breakers – only a portion of what is found in a shipping container. Hundreds of independent operations work to supply enough quantity for a shipping container.

According to Silcox, the smaller quantities help counterfeiters avoid criminal charges as China’s criminal penalties are geared towards a certain dollar value. As a result, smaller operations often avoid criminal punishments.

So how can manufacturers prevent their products from becoming counterfeits? And if a manufacturer does fall victim to this scam, how do they stop it?

“One thing you need to do first is go out and understand if your product is a target for counterfeiting. If you are a manufacturer with a good brand, and you’re dealing with a high volume product that can move quickly, then there may be somebody out there looking to counterfeit your product,” offers Pauley.

“Strength in numbers rings true for combating counterfeiters,” says Kalka. “If only one company aggressively pursues counterfeiters, then the counterfeiters will simply move on to other well known brands and companies.”

In addition, it is important to keep communications open between all distribution channels. Educate your partners and end users to buy only from authorized dealers and consider pricing as well.

“If the cost is too good to be true, it probably is,” says Drengenberg.

“Typically we find that counterfeit products sell at much lower prices because they are missing parts or they are cheating on raw materials in some way, like copper. So if there is an incredibly unusual pricing situation going on in the market, one possibility is that it could be counterfeit,” adds Silcox.

Also, manufacturers need to train sales people and others in the field to recognize an authentic product from its fake counterpart and what procedures they should take if the identify a counterfeit product.

“Ultimately, educating customers and end users to identify genuine products from authorized outlets is the best solution to the problem,” says Kalka.

It is also important to work with customs officials, letting them know about your product and where it is manufactured.

For example, if your product is made only here in the U.S., trained officials would know to immediately send up a red flag if they received a shipment of ‘your’ product from China. And while stopping counterfeiting does have its challenges, there are numerous resources available to assist manufacturers in putting a stop to counterfeiting.

“Working with non-profit organizations like NEMA, as well as standards organizations such as UL and CSA — these efforts will begin to have an impact by minimizing illegal activity and protecting consumer safety,” says Kalka.

Contact IDEA today to find out how you can use Industry Data Warehouse to reduce your counterfeiting risks.

Tags for this post: idw electrical industry nema security counterfeitting

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Industry Data Warehouse June Training Schedule

IDEA continues to offer Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) distributor and manufacturer trainings and focused sessions on Net Pricing and the Inbound Mapper. The June dates for these trainings are:

IDW Distributor Training Sessions:

  • Wednesday, June 11: 1:30-3:00PM
  • Wednesday, June 25: 1:30-3:00PM

IDW Manufacturer Training Sessions:

  • Thursday, June 5: 1:30-3:30PM
  • Thursday, June 19: 1:30-3:30PM

Net Pricing Training Sessions:

  • Thursday, June 12: 1:30-2:00PM
  • Thursday, June 26: 1:30-2:00PM

Inbound Mapping Sessions:

  • Wednesday, June 4: 1:30-2:30PM
  • Wednesday, June 18: 1:30-2:30PM

Additional training sessions are announced each month in This Week in IDEA.

To sign up for a training session, please contact at .

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Did You Know? IDW Hot Facts

Last time we reviewed the various security authorization levels available to manufacturers. This week we will explain how those authorization levels can affect distributor extracts.


When requesting data, you are given a selection list of authorized manufacturers from which to include in your data request. Yet sometimes, you still get an Extraction Failure notification from IDW. The reason is because you are not authorized for any of that manufacturer's Class Codes - the manufacturer selection list shows manufacturers authorized at the Company level. You must contact the manufacturer to request an authorization at the Class Code level to avoid this issue in the future.

Tags for this post: idw hot facts security

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