EDA launches plans to overhaul product data for the UK

March 11, 2017

The Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) has today launched its ETIM-UK campaign, designed to transform the quality of technical product data flowing through the electrical installation supply chain. The EDA’s vision is for all UK manufacturers and distributors to adopt ETIM’s global standard for classifying technical products, bringing us in line with key markets across Europe, the USA and Canada, where millions of products have already been classified using the long-established and centrally maintained ETIM standard. 

Confusion of big data

Simon Barkes, Managing Director at BEMCO and incoming EDA President, explains why ETIM is such an opportunity: “Today we met with EDA manufacturer members who have already adopted the ETIM classification in other markets, together with key UK distributors and associated organisations, to introduce our plans for ETIM-UK and to hear their views,

“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.”

ETIM audits

Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA Director, adds “Today the EDA has called on supply chain partners to join us on the ETIM-UK journey and to work alongside us to tailor the classification for the UK market. Successfully launching ETIM in the UK will, we estimate, take between 3 – 4 years and this will be a major pillar of the EDA’s work.

“Our first step is to offer to carry out ETIM audits in manufacturer and wholesaler businesses and to provide advice on how the standard can best be implemented in each case. We also plan to form Standardisation Committees, one for each product Group in the ETIM Model, and will be inviting manufacturers, distributors and other interested bodies to nominate senior team members to serve on these Committees.”

With over 20 years’ product data experience in the electrical sector, David Bate has joined the EDA as ETIM-UK Project Manager, and will help lead the coordination of the ETIM-UK initiative.  

Membership of ETIM International is only open to recognised national, non-commercial ETIM organisations.  In general, it is country trade associations like the EDA who have championed the introduction of the ETIM standard.

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