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This Week in IDEA | September 10, 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 IRD Customers

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

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 four 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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Going for the Team Gold

An IMARK Group eCommerce initiative inspires four distributors to collaborate and collect

Four electrical distributors from Buffalo, NY recently demonstrated teamwork and collaboration to reach the eCommerce goals set by IMARK’s eCommerce program. Quermback Electric, Davis Electrical Supply, Andersen Electric Supply and L.A. Woolley have reached or are positioned to reach IMARK’s Gold tier level within the next month.

The IMARK eCommerce program offers a cash incentive for IMARK members to complete a check-list of six eCommerce criteria and to implement 850 (purchase orders) and 810 (invoices) electronic data interchange (EDI) transaction sets with at least five IMARK Preferred Suppliers. IMARK members that do not meet the minimum criteria will incur a monetary fine effective 2009. Those that meet the minimum criteria, Bronze tier, will receive a check from IMARK. The check amount and the criteria increase with each: Bronze, Silver and Gold tier.

“We embraced the IMARK program because we know IMARK has our best interests in mind. EDI is not the wave of the future – it is here now. Distributors of all sizes need to embrace it to get ahead of the curve and stay economically sound in the future,” said Roger Cleary, president, Davis Electrical Supply.

The four Buffalo distributors discovered they had more in common than IMARK membership while researching ways to integrate EDI with their business processes. They also use the same enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system, ERP technical consulting partner and buy product from many of the same suppliers. Careful consideration led to a mutual decision to collaborate and master EDI.

“All four owners recognized the opportunity to cut costs and increase efficiencies by creating one standard process to engage in eCommerce with trading partners. We are friendly competitors who want to maximize the benefits from our eCommerce efforts,” said Peter Quermback, president, Quermback Electric.

“None of us really believed that EDI could financially benefit our company outside the IMARK incentive program due to our company size but the benefits of eCommerce are undeniable. We are already noticing quicker order fulfillment and we are now positioned to receive electronic price updates. Why would we stop now? EDI is just the beginning, we want to take advantage of everything eCommerce can offer,” said Cleary.

IDEA was jointly selected as the group’s eCommerce service provider, utilizing Industry Data Exchange (IDX) to conduct EDI transactions. Andy MacVie, IT Manager for Quermback Electric, worked with IDEA and ProServe, their mutual ERP technical consulting company, to begin the process. They chose Flat Files to conduct EDI through an IDEA provided service that translates Flat Files to EDI documents. The EDI document is sent to trading partners via IDX. The company representatives worked with IDEA to reach a consensus on the Flat File formats. This decision circumvented limited technical capacity at each company.

“No other VAN provider can compare to IDEA. The cost savings and service offering IDEA provides the electrical industry is untouchable,” said David Woolley, president, L.A. Woolley.

Each stated there were challenges along the way with trading partner interaction and electronic document formatting topping the list.

“Supplier responsiveness was one of the toughest challenges to overcome. We assumed that our suppliers had vast experience in EDI but many of them were not ready when we approached them,” said Woolley.

IDEA provides a value-added service to build trading partner relationships by helping to make the initial contact and continually working to communicate and gather information the supplier and customer needs.

“Each supplier has unique needs and our company does not have the capacity to collect the requested information and send it in the preferred format each time we want to conduct eCommerce with a trading partner. IDEA is the perfect middleman for us. They find out what the suppliers need and make eCommerce happen,” said Cleary.

An agreeable MacVie stated, “IDEA was an extremely effective liaison to our suppliers. They worked with me day to day and were able to push the right people when we needed it.”

The teamwork demonstrated by the four distributors paid off. Each company is now engaging in eCommerce with multiple suppliers and they are already discussing more ways they can work together in the future.The accomplishments of these four distributor companies demonstrate that the impossible can be done when people work together to utilize the best resources and technology along the way.

“IDEA is proud to have had the opportunity to work directly with these four companies to make eCommerce not only possible, but effective within each of their unique corporate cultures,” said Bob Gaylord.

MacVie was extremely enthusiastic with the end result, “It is time to break out the balloons and confetti and chill the champagne. The IMARK webpage shows that Quermback Electric has crossed the finish line for the Gold level. And they said that it couldn’t be done.”

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Thanks for 10 Years of Loyalty and Support!

The curtains open this Sunday for the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2008. We look forward to celebrating IDEA’s 10 Year Anniversary (1998-2008) at the event with many of those who have made our success possible. Since we know not everyone is able to attend for various reasons, IDEA wants to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty and support over the years. We are excited to help your company move forward with eCommerce over the next 10 years and beyond. IDEA is proud to be serving you!

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Did You Know? IDW Hot Fact

IDEA’s distributor and manufacturer customer base has grown 85% and 126% respectively since 2002. This customer base includes over 500 electrical industry focused companies.

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