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This Week in IDEA | May 23, 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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Registration Opens for the 15th Annual IDEA E-Biz Forum

The 2013 agenda and registration is now available for the only eBusiness event in the electrical supply chain

The 2013 IDEA E-Biz Forum is themed “Dream it. Do it. Let the Innovation Begin.” and runs September 25 – 27th in Orlando, FL at the Hilton Bonnet Creek. The Forum is co-hosted by IDEA, NAED, NEMA, NEMRA and EFC, and Unilog Content Solutions is the Executive Partner sponsor of the 2013 event. The agenda, including general and breakout sessions, and online registration are now available on the Forum website.

Not sure what to expect at the event? Watch the video below to find out.

Craig Owens, VP of Business Development, Black Electrical Supply, shared his experience after attending his first Forum last year, “I came away with a whole new vision and was thoroughly energized by the event.”

Josh Linkner, New York Times bestselling author and five-time tech entrepreneur will open the event with his keynote “Executive Imagination: Turning Raw Ideas into Powerful Results.” His first book, Disciplined Dreaming – A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, was named one of the top ten business titles by in 2011. His extraordinary business accomplishments, such as founding and leading ePrize, led him to be honored as the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and as a President Barack Obama “Champion of Change” Award recipient. His presentation at the Forum will deliver practical tools that can be used to increase creative output and deliver bottom-line results.

Additional Educational Highlights:

  • “People Follow You” General Session and correlating Breakout Sessions “People Buy You” and “People Love You”: Jeb Blount, best-selling author of six books and expert on human behavior in the workplace, will share strategies that lead to accelerated change and performance improvement in leadership, sales and marketing, and customer experience.
  • Innovate to Thrive Workshops: Robert Brands, principal of Innovation Coach and author of Robert’s Rules of Innovation, will host a two-part interactive workshop that will cover ten types of innovation, ideation techniques and prioritization methods, and how to creatively engage people in your organization.
  • Trading Partner Roundtable Discussions and Speed Networking: Manufacturers, distributors and service providers will have multiple chances to network with partners and identify new opportunities at the event.
  • Annual Tech Center: A trade show for attendees to receive personal consultations and demos from technology companies.

View more details about the 2013 Forum agenda>

2013 sponsors to date: Unilog Content Solutions, Epicor, Digital Business Architects (DBA), Eaton, Kirby Risk Electrical Supply and Border States.

Early-bird discounts end on Friday, June 28. Please visit for more event information and to register online. New IDEA customers and media representatives receive complimentary registration. More promotions>

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New eCommerce & iCIMM2 Webinar Available On-Demand

IDEA’s last live webinar, “iCIMM2: From Search to Sale” is now available on-demand. Submit your request to watch the recording of this session, featuring Suchit Bachalli of Unilog, Justin Smith of IDEA, and Les Johnson of North Coast Electric Company as the speakers.

During this webinar, we took a closer look at compelling industry trends in competitor and customer behavior and reviewed seven best practices to help you maximize eCommerce efforts. We also provided an exclusive demo of IDEA’s web storefront and search engine software, iCIMM2, to help you assess your current eCommerce capabilities. The iCIMM2 is pre-populated with the most up-to-date and accurate product information from the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), which enables you to easily manage your own online catalog content and integrate it with your ERP system.

Here are a few session highlights from our Twitter :

  • An eCommerce solution is not just a website. Must directly connect your ERP system with your customers. – from #IDEAWebinars
  • Build your site around your customers. Find out what they want & develop around that. – Suchit Bachalli from #IDEAWebinars
  • #Distributors say gathering robust content to populate & maintain webstores is common obstacle to effective eCommerce site in #IDEAWebinars poll.
  • Before #iCIMM2, you were limited by the ERP's version of what data should be on your site. It's tough to expand & enrich data without a content management system. –
  • To drive traffic to your new web storefront, start by targeting your existing customers. – Suchit Bachalli from

Who will benefit? Marketing managers, IT/eBusiness managers/coordinators, product managers, and pricing manager/coordinators at electrical distribution companies

Request the eCommerce & iCIMM2 Webinar on-demand>

View more IDEA webinars available on-demand>

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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – A whole lot more than the PO and Invoice

Part of the New “EDI Expert Insights” Series!

By: Tom Guzik, Manager B2B EDI Solutions

Have you ever reviewed the ASC X12 list of EDI transaction sets? I have and there are 323 EDI transaction sets available; that’s 323 opportunities to automate a manual business process and cut costs from your business. But with all these opportunities, we observe 11% of Industry Data Exchange (IDX) subscribers are only using two or less EDI transactions. So where do you start when reviewing the list of available EDI documents that can make your company more efficient and easier to do business with? Don’t worry, the good folks at ASC X12 have grouped the transaction sets into categories enabling you to identify the documents that fall within the area you are trying to streamline. Here are the categories along with a couple EDI transaction set examples within each:

  •  Communications & Controls 
    • EDI 242 – Data Status Tracking
    • EDI 864 – Text Message
  • Finance
    • EDI 810 – Invoice
    • EDI 820 – Payment Order/Remittance Advice
  • Government
    • EDI 805 – Contract Pricing Proposal
    • EDI 813 – Electronic Filing of Tax Return Data
  • Transportation
    • EDI 210 – Motor Carrier Freight Details and Invoice
    • EDI 214 – Transportation Carrier Ship. Status Message
  • Supply Chain 
    • EDI 180 – Return Mechanize Authorization & Notification
    • EDI 845 – Price Authorization Acknowledgement/Status
  • Insurance
    • EDI 270 – Eligibility, Coverage or Benefit Inquiry
    • EDI 837 – Health Care Claim

You’re probably asking yourself, "What’s the significance to me?" or "How could this help my business?" The answer to that question is simple enough; in order to truly realize a benefit from your EDI program, you need to automate as many of your business processes as possible, enabling a more robust return on your EDI process investment. 

But what EDI documents should you consider using? What EDI documents will yield the greatest return on your investment? For most companies, their introduction into the world of EDI comes from a mandate issued by a major customer or supplier. When responding to a mandate, most companies will implement what is needed to be in compliance and never consider how else they can leverage their EDI capabilities within their business processes.

One of the easiest methods of identifying which business process to automate with EDI is to develop metrics around your company’s business processes. For example, you can track how much time your order entry folks spend entering purchase order lines into your order management system. The key is to track and record number of lines, not count of orders, to get a more realistic picture of the time spent manually keying in orders. Once you have your key metrics in place, you can spot the manual processes that are consuming the most resources and target them for EDI automation.

Still don’t believe that there’s more to EDI than just the purchase order and invoice? A quick check on the IDX network reveals close to 60 unique EDI and EDIFACT document types are being exchanged between trading partners every month. This suggests that IDEA customers are finding new ways to fully utilize their EDI investment and addressing their company’s business needs. To find out more, stay tuned for upcoming “EDI Expert Insights” articles. Next month we’ll discuss the top 10 EDI transactions in use on the IDX and how they can help you in your business operations.

Contact me at with your EDI questions, or ask questions in the comments section of this article so that I can address them in an upcoming issue of This Week in IDEA.

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IDEA’s Take on the #WeAreAD Photo Campaign

IDEA Employees have some fun with the #WeAreAD campaign

IDEA’s business partner, Affiliated Distributors (AD), asked its community to make some noise with their #WeAareAD banner to demonstrate that AD members are bigger than any national chain. We were excited to show off our AD pride in the office this week and thank them for our valued partnership.

IDEA continues to work with AD to encourage manufacturers to fully populate the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) with enriched product content. This joint effort has been a major contributor to many IDW improvements over the last year including over a tenfold increase in marketing content and over a 50% increase in distributors that are downloading IDW catalog content for use in their business.

Find out more about the AD, IDEA, SupplyForce SKU Attribution Initiative in the AD Today magazine>

Learn more about the #WeAreAD campaign, and from AD members across the country>

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Epicor: Premiere Sponsor of the E-Biz Forum

IDEA is proud to announce Epicor as a new Premiere sponsor of the 2013 IDEA E-Biz Forum. Thanks to Epicor for their continued support and partnership over the years! Secure your sponsorship today… there is only one more Premiere sponsor opportunity left. 

Epicor Software Corporation is a global provider of business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. With nearly 40 years of experience serving midmarket organizations and divisions of Global 1000 companies, Epicor has more than 33,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor’s enterprise resource planning (ERP), point of sale (POS), supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. 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 the following manufacturers that have recently achieved 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!

View all manufacturers with IDW Bands of Excellence ratings>

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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