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This Week in IDEA | September 30, 2009

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 and IDEA IRD Customers

IDEA announces one new IDEA customer and 10 new IDEA IRD customers. Read more about these companies and how you can begin trading with them electronically to expand your business.

New IDEA Customer

United Sales Associates, Inc. of Harahan, LA became an IDEA customer on September 28, 2009. United Sales Associates is a manufacturer representative with over 40 years of successful operation in the Louisiana and Mississippi electrical markets. They sell exclusively to the electrical distributor, but build working relationships with distributors, industrials, contractors, engineers and end users. United Sales Associates will take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of Industry Data Exchange (IDX) to trade their B2B documents. They are a proud member of NEMRA. Find out more at Welcome aboard!

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 10 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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Graybar and Rockwell Automation named recipients of the third annual Richard Buzun Award for Leadership and Innovation in eCommerce

Winners recognized at the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2009 in Tucson, AZ

IDEA recently announced Graybar and Rockwell Automation as the distributor and manufacturer recipients, respectively, of the third annual Richard Buzun Award for Leadership and Innovation in eCommerce. Bob Gaylord, president & CEO, IDEA and representatives from the 2008 winning companies announced the winners during the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2009 in Tucson, AZ.

The award was introduced to the industry in 2007 to recognize one manufacturer and distributor company that demonstrate leadership by implementing and promoting successful eCommerce programs throughout the electrical industry. The award is named after the late Richard Buzun, former IDEA Chairman, and former president and CEO of Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.

“Recipients of this prestigious award understand the value of innovation in the channel. They invest in the future by exploring and adopting more efficient and effective ways of optimizing business with their trading partners. The 2009 winners continued to lead the change in the electrical channel despite a tough economy. We are most grateful for Richard Buzun’s significant contributions and for those leaders like Graybar and Rockwell who follow in his footsteps,” said Gaylord.

Joe Wallace, Data/Pricing Administration Manager, Van Meter Industrial, and Mark Richards, Director of eCommerce, Leviton Manufacturing Company, announced the winners on behalf of the 2008 winning companies.

Both Graybar and Rockwell Automation were recognized for their on-going initiatives as well as recent accomplishments. Chris Long, Supplier E-Business Manager, Graybar; Dave Stormo, Global Process Transformation (GPT) Program Executive, Rockwell Automation; and Mindy Michalski, Project Manager, Rockwell Automation accepted the award on behalf of the winning companies.

Graybar was recognized as the distributor model for eCommerce. They were praised for successfully integrating eCommerce through their value proposition and using it to improve the customer’s user experience. One recent accomplishment was the successful implementation of Customer Project Order Management, a process that uses SAP tools to seamlessly upload information from suppliers and export it into custom sheets for customers.

"As one of the founding members of IDEA, Graybar is incredibly honored to receive this award. For more than 10 years, Graybar has supported IDEA's mission to standardize electronic data sharing practices, and we are privileged to be recognized as one of the leaders in eCommerce innovation," said Robert A. Reynolds, Jr., Graybar’s Chairman, President and CEO.

The manufacturer winner, Rockwell Automation, was recognized for “leading the change” and making a bold statement when it comes to eCommerce in the electrical industry. Rockwell was praised for actively participating in data quality programs and demonstrating that all of their data, including marketing and catalog data, is valued as intellectual property. In 2009 they implemented best practices and improved data reliability allowing them to expand EDI capability with partners and customers.

"The alignment of our global EDI strategy with IDEA industry standards allows us to become more efficient in transacting business with our distributor partners, and will help them become more efficient as additional manufacturers adopt these standards. It is important that we work with our business partners to continue to find ways to eliminate costs and drive productivity, improving the way we manage our mutual businesses," said Keith Nosbusch, Chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation.

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.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs about 20,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit  

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Tags for this post: ebiz forum news b2b ecommerce richard buzun awards graybar rockwell automation

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Forum Attendees Learn How to “eOptimize” in Tucson

Thanks to all sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and attendees for making the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2009 a productive and enlightening experience for all. IDEA’s president and CEO, Bob Gaylord, kicked off the event with an informative and educational keynote presentation highlighting the progress the electrical industry has made with eBusiness in the past year despite a tough economy. Gaylord coined the term “eOptimizing” as the desired end result of implementing strategies from the 2009 conference. Get the recap…

The Tech Center

The Forum began with the annual Tech Fair and Welcome Reception where attendees had the chance to get reacquainted with trading partners and learn about the latest technologies used to optimize business in the distribution community. The room was packed full of energy and excitement as sixteen exhibitors demonstrated their solutions and shared their expertise. Attendees met with the exhibitors to discover how B2B technology is evolving to increase efficiencies and reach a new generation professionals.

The General Sessions

Ron Schlader, VP, Operations and Quality, Crescent Electric Supply and current Chairman of the IDEA Board of Directors, introduced Bob Gaylord during the opening keynote presentation. Throughout his presentation, Gaylord highlighted the new and soon-to-be released products and services that are influenced by IDEA’s strategic implementation and customer feedback.

Gaylord demonstrated the new features of Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) including:

  1. A streamlined authorization process for manufacturers and distributors
  2. The new standardized Electrical Attribute Schema that will supplement IDW data
  3. The Utilities Work Station that will allow manufacturers to edit and add product data directly in IDW (to be released to customers at the end of October).

He highlighted other new services in development such as web forms, the IDEA Customer Portal 2.0 (to be released October 5) and a Net Price assistance program. IDEA’s new tools and services were expanded upon and discussed in various break-out sessions led by IDEA staff (see “Break-out Sessions”).

As a former White House advisor and Harvard Professor, the first keynote speaker, Todd Buchholz, entertained the audience with an educational and animated account of the economy past and present. He used history to explain how our industry can take advantage of the present market condition to grow business, quoting education as the most important factor. Take away tip: It’s just as important to read the trade publications of your customers as it is to read the ones that impact your business directly.

The Data Sync Panel consisted of Peter Vient, OSRAM SYLVANIA; Dan Wilkinson, 1SYNC and Ron Schlader, Crescent Electric Supply. Wilkinson educated the audience on the big players of global data synchronization including GS1, the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) and 1SYNC. Although only one person raised their hand when he asked who is involved in GDSN, he explained how everyone who sells product is involved in some way or another. Each panelist expressed their opinion on the difference between data synchronization and data accuracy – all panelists agreed that synchronization is meaningless without accuracy and that you must have both to succeed. Vient and Schlader took the crowd on a journey through their data endeavors and advocated the benefit of synchronization for their business. Wilkinson gave attendees a glance into the future when he discussed the “green” attributes and scorecards that are in development by GS1.

Ray Bender followed the Data Sync Panel with a fitting topic on how to create lasting change in an organization. Bender kept the crowd engaged with his interactive performance. Some key strategies he explored to build a commitment to change include:

  • Allow room for participation in the planning stage
  • Leave choices within the overall decision to change
  • Provide a clear picture of the change
  • Share information about change plans to the fullest extent
  • Divide big changes into more manageable steps
  • Minimize surprises – give advanced warning

Marilyn Sherman closed the Forum on an upbeat and inspirational note. She encouraged attendees to always take a front row seat in life by following her seven proven strategies: Act on your vision, invest in personal and professional development, be appreciative of your seat, be of service, don’t be cocky, be persistent and be gutsy.

The Break-out Sessions

Between meals, business meetings and General Sessions, the attendees had a chance to learn and interact on a more personal level with special-interest educational sessions. IDEA staff presented multiple “user-inspired” sessions throughout the event with the most popular being the Standards session. In this session the Standards Director, Mary Shaw, explained how the industry can utilize the latest industry standards, specifically the newly released Electrical Attribute Schema and Net Price solutions to sell more and make better buying decisions. Shaw educated the audience on the importance and benefits of product attributes which was demonstrated with two unmarked water bottles. She went on to explain that without proper product descriptors/attributes, you have no way of knowing which one is water and which one was vodka distilled in an unsanitary country. Following the overview, she released the Electrical Industry Attribute Schema for the first time (stay tuned for a public release). An emphasis was placed on the call to action for manufacturers: they must assign a minimum of class level UNSPSCs in IDW before the December 31st deadline and UNSPSCs must be populated to utilize the schema.

The IDEA new services training presented by Nick Manzo, Director, Business Development and Integration, described the methodology that is used to determine new products and services for the industry and demonstrated the soon-to-be released web forms solution. The IDW and IDX user groups were also popular with attendees. IDEA staff gave customers an opportunity to learn about new features, tips and tricks that can improve efficiencies. The IDW user group trained attendees on new features such as the streamlined authorization process, source flags, attributed data fields, tooltips and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) flag.

A particular session from our executive series identified ways to become a “green” organization. Bill Bean, Green Planning & Coaching and Denise Keating, DATAgility provided practical steps to get started. Keating brought everyone up to speed with how green products are being marketed in the electrical industry and provided strategies and tactics companies in our industry are using to become more “green”. Government and private resources were provided for attendees to continue their education after the event.

Matt Hartman, Tour de Force, gave attendees best practices on adopting a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation (SFA) solution. He detailed how a good CRM/SFA solution can alleviate any problems that have hindered proper tracking of sales calls in the past. It can provide an efficient means to manage inventory, orders, quotes, receivables and payables. Most importantly it enables critical customer communication and collaboration.

Overall, attendees were engaged and excited about the future of IDEA and the new technologies and services that can optimize their business and provide results for increased profitability. The Forum survey will be sent very soon. Stay tuned for presentations and pictures from the event. We look forward to the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2010 to be held September 13-15!

Read the Electrical Marketing Forum review – “IDEA E-Biz Forum Report from Tucson”.


Tags for this post: ebiz forum idw unspsc news data synchronization attribute schema

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IDW Hot Fact: New Streamlined Authorization Process

IDEA unveiled a new authorization process for manufacturers and distributors at the IDEA E-Biz Forum in Tucson, AZ last week. The new process will save users lots of time and effort. If you haven’t seen it yet, you don’t want to miss this “before and after” hot fact.

Before: Unnecessary extra steps made authorizations in IDW a tedious process for some

  • Distributor had to drill down into the profile screen to request an authorization from each manufacturer – long process when multiple authorizations were needed
  • Manufacturer received an authorization email and had to login to approve or deny authorizations on separate pages for each authorization level

After: A simplified authorization process improves ease of use and helps trading partners jump start new eCommerce relationships

  • Distributor can request authorizations from all manufacturers on one page with just a few clicks (see screen shot below)

  • Manufacturer receives an authorization email that takes them directly to one page to approve or deny authorization requests at all authorization levels (see screen shot below)

Please contact at if you have any questions about the new authorization process (see training details below).

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October IDW and IDX Training Opportunities

This month IDEA continues to offer on-demand training sessions for customers online. The October training sessions will cover all the new features that were revealed at the IDEA E-Biz Forum 2009.

On-Demand IDW Training

IDEA offers on-demand one-on-one IDW training sessions. 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. These trainings will cover all the new IDW features that were revealed at the Forum. Niche training (e.g. net price, inbound mapping, etc.) is also available upon request.

Customers interested in scheduling an IDW one-on-one training session should contact , Data Sync Platform (DSP) Support Manager, at .

IDX Tracker Training Schedule

  • Tuesday, October 06: 1:30-2:30PM
  • Tuesday, October 13: 1:30-2:30PM
  • Tuesday, October 20: 1:30-2:30PM
  • Tuesday, October 27: 1:30-2:30PM

Times don’t work for your schedule? Contact our flexible IDX training expert, at to schedule a one-on-one training at a time that works for you.

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