Introducing ETIM

About ETIM

  1. ETIM is an international product data model – a classification or structure – it is not a database;
  2. ETIM applies only to the technical information about any product;
  3. ETIM exists to help B2B customers further along the supply chain find and choose your products.

ETIM started in the Netherlands in 1991. Truly international, this data model is now used by 20+ countries, including the UK.

In the UK work started in 2017 when the EDA introduced ETIM to the sector.  Since then, and driven by the popularity and demand for ETIM,  a new company structure was formed – ETIM UK Ltd.

Now it’s the standardisation body for the UK and its remit includes electrotechnical products (via the EDA); HVAC & Plumbing (via the BMF); and Building Materials (via the BMF).

The UK’s ETIM journey

EDA member research back in 2016 showed that digitalisation was seen by wholesalers as a major opportunity for growth, but that competition from on-line businesses from outside the traditional wholesaler sector was the greatest threat.

Wholesaler businesses rely on manufacturers’ product data to provide content for their web sites. As received, this data varies hugely in terms of accuracy, consistency and completeness and few wholesalers have the resources to restructure it for their own use.

ETIM is that structure. Tailored to the UK market, manufacturers use the standard to classify their products and serve-up their ecommerce-rich data to the wholesaler.

Imagine the transformation if every manufacturer used the same consistent structure of their product data when sharing it with wholesalers along the supply chain – that’s why it’s so important.

EDA President in 2017, Simon Barkes of BEMCO

Speaking at the launch: Simon Barkes, 2017 EDA President, calls for the UK tackle its product data problem

“The reason for ETIM is clear: currently the UK’s manufacturers and distributors have each developed their own standards and structures for capturing and publishing technical product data, whether that data is intended for back office stock control systems, customer-facing printed catalogues or websites.

“The result is a confusion of big data which differs hugely in terms of content, format and quality: at one end of the spectrum customers can access fully comprehensive and highly technical product information, but at the other end the data is patchy and inconsistent.

“By adopting one standard across the sector, product information can be served up in print and online with minimal work-arounds. Potentially, businesses can make savings in terms of the technical resources and labour needed to maintain the current mix of data sets and structures, and the end customer will benefit hugely.

“Contractors will be able to access comprehensive and consistent technical information to accurately compare products like-for-like, ensuring they buy the right product for the job, first time.”

Beyond electrotechnical: how the ETIM standard has evolved in the UK

In January 2020, ETIM extended beyond electrotechnical. There are now 2 Sector Lead organisations covering 3 product areas. These links will take you to more information on our dedicated ETIM website.

  1. Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) for electrotechnical
  2. Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) for HVAC & Plumbing
  3. Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) for Building Materials.

“High quality, unambiguous, consistent and complete – good data is the golden thread of commerce, ” says Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA CEO.

Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO at the EDA

“ETIM has been a key pillar of the EDA’s work since we took the strategic decision to introduce the ETIM data model to the UK’s electrotechnical sector in March 2017.”

EDA Members & Affiliates (Manufacturers & Service Providers) are automatically members of ETIM UK Ltd too.

Your business does not have to be an EDA Member or Affiliated Member to benefit from ETIM.

You can join as an ETIM UK Ltd Member.

To find out more call the team on 020 3141 7350.

A Phased Approach: How ETIM has developed in the UK

In 2016 the EDA joins ETIM International, as the licence holder for the UK.

In 2017 work starts to establish an ETIM team and resources for the UK and to build awareness of ETIM. 

  • March 2017: ETIM is formally launched to the UK’s electrotechnical sector
  • How ETIM ready are you? Free Data Audits for EDA Affiliates and Members launches

Developing the ETIM Standard for the UK

  • Free Data Audits for EDA Affiliates and Members
  • A large-scale Anglicisation process: product experts invited to form Standardization Committees to work through the data model – thousands upon thousands of lines of data reviewed and refined.
  • Product classes and attributes clarified or added.

Working with EDA Members in the UK, helping them implement the ETIM standard in their businesses

  • First ETIM Digitalisation Forum, December 2019

Creation of ETIM UK Ltd – an independent National Organisation – to champion the ETIM standard for your sector.

  • ETIM’s reputation has spread and the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) decides to champion ETIM for its members.
  • EDATA – the ‘by the industry for the industry’ data pool starts development.