Click & Connect – April 2021

Welcome to the third edition of Click & Connect, the EDA’s quarterly newsletter covering all matters relating to ecommerce and digitalisation.

There is an unintentional theme running through this newsletter: product data quality.  Unintentional maybe, but not surprising.  The quality of product data is increasingly understood to be one of the critical success factors for digitalisation.

With this in mind, the EDA’s digitalisation initiatives are placing a growing emphasis on data quality and supporting manufacturers in this endeavour.   We have agreed quality benchmarks for the data uploaded into EDATA where each individual product is classified as Gold, Silver or Bronze and manufacturers are able to see a snapshot of how their data performs on the data quality dashboard.  Our aim is to help as many as possible reach Gold standard.

Taking this to the next level, we have formed a Data Quality Working Group to discuss various aspects of data quality, agree best practice and to publish industry-specific guidelines.  More details can be found in this newsletter.

In our lead article, George Brickwood picks up on the theme and talks in detail about the importance of data and especially data quality in today’s market.  George also offers some tantalising hints about what “good data” will mean in the future.

Much of this is focussed on the supply chain.  However, data quality affects stakeholders throughout the construction process and we report on the CPA’s new Code for Construction Product Information which recently completed its consultation period.   The code mentions ETIM as one of the tools available to manufacturers and we are seeing an increasing range of opportunities for ETIM which are not confined to wholesalers and merchants.  In this newsletter you will find details about the new ETIM UK BIM strategy group will define ETIM’s role in the digitalisation of the wider UK construction industry.

As always, we hope you find the newsletter useful and please remember, the team is here to help: 020 3141 7350 or by email.

Richard Appleton

General Manager, EDA Data Services.

The Importance of Product Data for The Electrical Industry
The Importance of Product Data within The Electrical Industry

The Past, Present and Future of Product Data: George Brickwood, eCommerce Director at Schneider Electric UK&I, looks at how the demand for data has changed since the launch of the internet in 1991, where we are now and how the industry will need to develop to cater for the ever-growing want for immediate, self-service, purchases.

Introducing the EDA’s Data Quality Working Group

What is a good product image? How do I write a customer-friendly product description? What information does the end user need about my products? This Working Group will create industry guidelines to answer these questions and more.

EDA Data Quality Group
Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI)

The Construction Products Association’s new Code for Construction Product Information will affect both manufacturers and wholesalers. Find out more here.

CCPI image
Viewpoint_Javier-
EDATA: What’s the latest?

Javier Garcia, Onboarding Manager for EDA Data Services, explains the most recent EDATA Updates.

ETIM-UK-&-BIM-strategy v2
ETIM UK BIM Strategy

How does ETIM Relate to BIM? ETIM UK has formed a BIM working group to explore how BIM can play a vital role in the spread of the ETIM Standard.

Virtual meeting
Working Groups

Do you have e-commerce experience? Have you used the ETIM Standard? Can you add your two pence worth? You can help mould the future of digitalisation by volunteer for one of ETIM UK or the EDA’s working groups. See how you can participate!

Latest Solution Provider Affiliate

The EDA is pleased to welcome Electrika as new Affiliated Solution Provider.

Electrika
Date for your Diary!
Digitalisation Forum 2021
Wednesday 1 December
London
Latest EDATA Members

A warm welcome to the new EDATA Manufacturers, joining in 2021.

Making-a-connection-8-Marc-Habets FV
In this issue, we meet Marc Habets, Technical Director, ETIM International.

How long have you worked in E-Commerce and Digitalisation?

More than 17 years now. After a previous work life in the family business as an installer, I changed my career path drastically in 2003 when I started working for ETIM in the Netherlands.

What led you to this career?

When I was 35, I realized that I did not want to be the director of an installing company for another 30 years to come. So with a possibly ‘expired’ university degree I quit my job and started the search for a new challenge. Already having an interest in IT and recognizing the problems that ETIM was trying to solve from my time as an installer, the match was made easily.

What has surprised you about your chosen career path?

That I am still working for ETIM after all this time! At the time, it seemed like an intermediate step in my career, with access to a great network to find another long term job. But ETIM became more a fascination then a job, so I never made the next step and as I long as I can keep adding value I might never will.

What do you love about your job?

The contact to many different people from different nationalities and different business levels. But also being able to make a difference, appreciated for providing answers and solutions that work. Educated as a generalist, I like to be a specialist now, where you are supposed to have (or get) all the answers.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Not really a professional advice, but be yourself is not only important in your personal life but also in your professional life. I am sure many people have to ‘act’ to live up to the expectations of their job, if you can keep that up at all it must be frustrating. Be yourself and you sleep well at night. If you can’t be yourself in your job, find another job where you can.

As an industry, what do you think the pandemic has taught us?

A difficult question, can we already answer that when we are still in the middle of it? Expect the unexpected would be my first thought, but that does not help us much. Finding a better balance I would say should be the goal, increasing efficiency using digital and online solutions, but at the same time don’t underestimate the power of personal face to face contact.

What would your top digitalisation tip for manufacturers be?

Digitalisation is of strategic importance, don’t look at it as a side issue any more and assign dedicated expert staffing to it. Using a standard helps you save time in digitalising your product data, time you can invest to distinguish yourself offering digital solutions that add value for your customers.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

I am actually quite a shy person and do not like to be in the spotlight!

The A – Z of Digitalisation

The digital world has its own language full of buzzwords, technical terms and TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms).  To help our members navigate through this, we present the first instalment of EDA’s A-Z of digitalisation.

Business-to-business.  A business model focussed on selling goods or services to other businesses.  B2B buyer behaviour may differ from that in a B2C (business-to-consumer) model, and this will inform a company’s digital strategy.

A method of representing data in a visual, machine-readable form.  Most commonly barcodes are used to represent a numeric code called a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) which identifies a specific product.

Building Information Modelling.  A process involving the organisation and management of digital representations of a built asset which are used to support planning, design, construction and operation.  International standards for BIM have started to emerge, notably the publication of the ISO 19650 series.

An XML-based data exchange format used for the exchange of product catalogue data which includes provision for classification models such as ETIM.

Introducing these digitalisation specialists

Each is an EDA Affiliated Member offering a range of software and consultancy services all supporting the creation, enhancement, exchange and display of product data.

b2b.store logos
Comma Group
eCommonSense is an Affiliated Solution Provider at the EDA
Electrika One Time PIM
Kerridge commercial Systems is an Affiliated Solutions Provider of the EDA
NG15 Ltd
OrderWise logo

Click on the dots below to scroll through the content from each EDA Solution Provider.

It’s never been easier to get onlineb2b.store logos

With online sales of electrical products increasing by around 300% between 2012 and 2017 and the likes of Amazon making greater strides into the sector, it has been clear for some time that investing in online sales capability could be a wise move for electrical wholesalers. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend, making the move to digital even more pressing.

That’s why we have partnered with the EDA to bring cost-effective yet powerful eCommerce to electrical wholesalers. b2b.store is an eCommerce platform designed specifically for the B2B market that works across web and app.  It enables distributors of all sizes to offer 24/7 digital ordering. The basic service has zero cost and can be up and running within 24 hours of receiving your product and customer data files.

For those distributors who want to offer a more functionally rich experience, there are a number of premium features which can be subscribed to for a monthly fee or through an Enterprise plan. These features include useful functionality such as in-app payment and customer based pricing which allows you to set individual product prices for individual customers.

B2b.store offers a range of different options for integrating with your existing business systems from simple CSV file transfer, to a public facing API or bespoke integration with ERP providers.

We have integrated with the EDA’s eData system so those EDA members signed up to the eData service, will also get access to EDA’s library of electronic product imagery and data.

If you would like to try out a demo version of our b2b.store and eData eCommerce system, then all you need to do is visit https://edata.b2b.store/ or for more information get in touch with Adam Brown on 07960 606596.

Comma GroupNeed support with ETIM and data? Comma Group joins EDA as Affiliated Service Provider

Comma Group, an award-winning data management consultancy, recently joined the EDA as an Affiliated Service Provider to support members in preparing for ETIM compliance and with wider data projects.

With experience of solving complex data challenges at organisations such as CEF and Luceco Comma is well placed to advise and support EDA members.

“We’re delighted to join the EDA at a time when product data and digitisation are critical to business success” said Stuart Squires, Consulting Director at Comma. “With our broad data experience, we’re confident we can support EDA members in taking advantage of the benefits of ETIM, especially helping them to operate more effectively online and communicating with their partners.”

What advice do Comma have on the importance of ETIM compliance?

“If you’re not set up for ETIM your customers and suppliers may find it harder interacting with you than with your competition” said Stuart. “In the worst case you may not be able to feature your products in marketplaces and data pools which effectively means not trading in those markets.”

As a data consultancy, Comma also stress that technology alone isn’t enough to keep on top of ETIM standards. Processes are important – and that means addressing the way that data is flowing through your business. Focusing on data governance – the rules used to categorise data – is important too.

The good news is you don’t have to do this alone as Comma can simplify the ETIM process by using best in class data tools and their team of consultants to help you manage your data more effectively.

Comma are hosting an ETIM webinar this Spring with representatives of the EDA along with the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) who are also working towards ETIM compliance so keep an eye out for details.

To find out more, visit www.comma-group.com.

eCommonSense is an Affiliated Solution Provider at the EDAeCommonSense joins the EDA just as eCommerce for electrical wholesalers becomes mission critical

The digitalisation of the construction materials distribution sector is finally happening and 2020/21 will be the years when eCommerce trade finally came to the fore.

After years of online trading being ‘something we’ll do later’, it has risen to the top of the agenda for wholesalers and merchants.

There’s no doubt that retailers such as Amazon and Screwfix with their latest offering of Electricfix have capitalised, while traditional merchants have ‘watched the parade go by’.

COVID-19 has been the shock treatment that the industry needed to see eCommerce & digitalisation as an urgent business strategy.

During the various lockdown’s eCommerce has been the only channel that not only grew rapidly but propped up merchants with eCommerce when offline revenues were in decline.

Across merchants using our eCommerce & PIM solution, we have seen an average of 88% of web sales in the first 6 months are from new customers, and margins of those sales are at 40% instead of around 27% margin from branch sales.

These are made up of a combination of younger trade, DIY, and retail customers.

In addition to the sales and lower ‘cost to serve’, an incredible 10,000 accounts were opened across just 12 websites in 2020, 70% of which were trade accounts who now trade regularly with the merchants.

The spring and summer of 2021 are predicted to be bumper DIY seasons as people embark on home improvement projects instead of spending money on holidays, so there’s never been a better time to start trading online and to capture that spend.

Andy Scothern is the CEO of eCommonSense: An award-winning eCommerce and product management solution specifically designed for construction product merchants and wholesalers.

Email Andy Scothern to find out how eCommonSense can help you trade online. 

Electrika One Time PIM An All Inclusive PIM, Data Organisation, ETIM & EDATA Package

At Electrika and OneTimePIM, we now have a special promotion for EDA manufacturer members to provide a complete product information management, ETIM and EDATA solution.

For the price of our world class PIM system that can manage all your product data and distribute it to every aspect of your business, we are offering two extra services free of charge.

  • Full setup of your PIM, importing of all products and variants, plus data cleaning and improving as part of the process.
  • Best-in-class ETIM & EDATA data created and updated on your behalf for up to 2,000 SKUs.

OneTimePIM

Our cloud-based Product Information Management (PIM) software provides you with a single system for storing and organising all your product data, which can then be distributed to websites, catalogues or any other sales channels as required.

PIM systems are designed to simplify and streamline the product data management process for everyone at the company.

Setup, data organisation and training – FREE

As part of adopting a PIM system, we will complete the initial setup process free of charge. Including importing and sanitising all your current product information and integrating OneTimePIM with your existing systems.

Best-in-class ETIM data & gold-standard EDATA – FREE

We’re offering to provide and update the EDA with the highest quality product information for free as part of the service, including:

  • Classification and maintenance of data for ETIM format.
  • Media files required by EDATA provided and updated on your behalf.
  • Spreadsheet data required by EDATA provided and updated on your behalf.

In December, one of our clients was selected to demonstrate their data organisation quality at the EDA’s Digitalisation Forum.

For more information on this exclusive offer for EDA manufacturers, visit our website http://onetimepim.com or book yourself a free demo at http://onetimepim.com/request-demo, to find out if this package can work for you.

Joining the EDA as a Solution Provider Affiliate Member

Intact, one of the UK’s leading ERP and business management software providers, have recently been appointed as a solution provider affiliate to the EDA. Intact are deeply committed to the electrical wholesale sector and are working closely with EDA data services in their bid to help digitalise the sector. An existing platinum platform integration partner with Trimble Luckins, Intact is employing its expertise in the electrical wholesale sector to ensure wholesalers will be able to seamlessly access the high-quality product data from EDATA within their business software and across their digital offering.

Intact’s local team have been developing, implementing, and supporting wholesale-driven business management software solutions for over 28 years. From stock control to trade counter, mobile PODs, financials, CRM, BI, ecommerce and much more, Intact’s feature-rich, easy to use business software solutions are designed to get wholesale businesses operating at their best.

Intact’s industry focus also ensures the sector specific functionality required, whether that be cable batch tracking, intricate rebate management, PIMs database integration, easy handling of specials, super-cessions etc. is all available, as standard.

In addition, the unique flexible framework of Intact’s ERP solution offers electrical wholesalers more autonomy and control. As businesses grow, diversify, or change, Intact’s solutions do not remain static and easily flex to reflect changing circumstances.

At Intact the goal is to provide wholesalers with technology that is designed for their business. The Intact team implement perfect-fit software solutions that will future-proof your business, save time and money, automate processes, boost productivity, and facilitate scale and diversification with ease.

If you are querying the ability of your current system to adapt to the changing digital landscape, then speak to the team at Intact to see if an Intact solution is the perfect fit for your business.

www.intactsoftware.com

Latest Blog: ERP Software in the Electrical Wholesale Industry

Kerridge commercial Systems is an Affiliated Solutions Provider of the EDA

The change in the pace of digitalisation

This pandemic has hastened the pace of digital change in society. We are all seeing the economic impact as the business landscape is being transformed before our eyes. We are also witnessing the amazing success of businesses that had already developed a strong digital presence and stood ready to meet the onslaught. The Electrical Wholesale market sector is not immune to this change, we all know we must adapt – and quickly. At Kerridge Commercial Systems, we stand ready to help you!

K8, our flagship digital ERP software, is a fully integrated business system that can help you overcome these challenges. Developed by experts with a real understanding of the electrical supplies industry, K8 combines a suite of cloud-based digital technologies that includes fully integrated ecommerce and mobile solutions, designed to improve efficiencies and safety whilst still delivering that excellent customer service you want. Combined with an innovative suite of business software modules, K8 enables our customers to control every aspect of finance, trading and logistics.

 Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) is committed to delivering software solutions you need to maintain your strategic advantage over the competition.

“KCS are always driving us forward with the latest versions of K8. We’re already on the path towards a digital future by using all of the main features that KCS has to offer – and we’re in the process of launching any that we don’t already have.” Darren House, Managing Director Grant & Stone Electrical. Learn More

“A key benefit of K8 is that it’s so easy to use. When new people join the business, they often say that K8 provides twice as much information as other software they’ve worked with previously – it has really paid dividends for us.” David Monteith, Commercial Systems Manager, Eyre & Elliston Learn More

Your business. Your way

NG15 LtdBuilding your ‘single source of truth’ with e-Pim

Since the launch of NG15’s product information management system e-Pim in 2019, it is fast becoming the leading industry PIM within the electrical and construction industry.

NG15 are proud to share with you some of our customers who are powered by e-Pim including, Scolmore, Venture Lighting, Sylvania, GreenBrook, Crompton Lamps, Deligo, Envirovent, TimeGuard, Aico, SWA, Dart Tool, to mention but a few.

Our e-Pim system provides a central hub for your company’s product content and data. It helps you to create, manage, and distribute content seamlessly to every sales channel and customer touchpoint and ‘uniquely’ connects you directly with industry data, such as the EDA’s EDATA initiative.

NG15’s ‘product data experts’ specialise in data management and work alongside you to prepare, organise and speed up your data processes, making your digitalisation journey far less of a headache. We can also help you to ETIM Classify your product data using our intuitive, time-saving software tools.

Why not build your ‘single source of truth’ with e-Pim?

To find out more contact Suzanne Adgar on 07795 836194 or email: suzanne@ng15.co.uk

Or for more information about NG15 Ltd and e-Pim visit our NEW websites:

www.e-pim.co.uk & www.ng15.co.uk

OrderWise logoOrderWise on digital transformation challenges

With multiple variations of ERP software on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your business. Find out the problems faced by business leaders when it comes to digital transformation.

The fear factor

67% of senior managers are not comfortable accessing their data, making them unable to make informed business decisions.

Despite the guesswork, CEOs are the biggest obstacle for digital transformation. Research shows that 75% have a fear of disruption from data-driven, digital competitors. In a bid to beat the competition, they often rush into a technology investment that isn’t right for the business and damage their credibility of software. CEOs need to work out what they need from technology to give them the confidence to run their business.

Meanwhile, COOs worry about and struggle with risk management challenges far more than any other aspect of their jobs. An integrated solution is welcome by COOs as it allows them to keep their finger on the pulse business-wide.

Stress and low availability

CFOs put new technology to the back of their list, deeming it an added strain to their mounting workload. However, 78% of CFOs see stress levels rising in the next two years, so they need to remember that an investment in software will help to alleviate their pressures.

The pressure is also high for warehouse managers. Human error was reported as a top issue in 46% of warehouses when it came to goods in, and 41% of warehouse managers have “an inability to attract and retain quality” staff. By automating processes, staff will spend less time working around underperforming technology or paper-based systems and work more effectively.

Read more about digital transformation in OrderWise’s report, Making business boom again: the complete guide to investing in ERP software.

CCPI and rich data worries? Ditch Excel and choose PIM with ETIM MC support

Distributors need rich product data to function in a B2B e-commerce environment. The onus is on manufacturers to add information about subjects like logistics, pricing, and warehousing (to name a few). The impulse to ‘just use Excel’ is understandable. But moving to a PIM solution also reduces overhead and errors whilst simultaneously preparing you for BIM and the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI).

PIM stands for Product Information Management. It helps wholesalers, merchants, retailers and manufactures maintain high quality, standardised product information. ProPlanet is the solution provider for the EDATA Platform and an affiliate solutions provider for EDA. Our PIM solution: DataProcessor TJ fully supports ETIM (Dynamic/MC), UNSPSC and GS1 DIY classifications. It seamlessly integrates with ERP-systems, eCommerce platforms and EDATA.

Growing interest in ETIM MC for BIM

As manufacturers adopt ETIM, there is a growing interest in ETIM MC (Modelling Class). This adds consistent 3D information on electrical and mechanical installations to ETIM. Construction companies using BIM (Building Information Modelling) can utilise the 3D information provided by ETIM MC. DataProcessorTJ has been supporting ETIM MC classification for years.

Meet CCPI with minimal effort

Manufacturers wishing to prepare for the Code for Construction Product Information should consider switching to PIM. CCPI will require all construction product manufacturers to provide information that passes five so called ‘acid tests’. By registering the properties of all products in a reliable and up-to-date system these requirements can be met with minimal effort.

Ditch Excel and switch to PIM

Ditching Excel and switching to PIM helps manufacturers provide reliable data to the construction supply chain. Use DataProcessorTJ to meet this demand and prepare the company for the future. ETIM MC supports cooperation through BIM and a properly set up PIM eases compliance to the CCPI.

More information

If you want to know more about ETIM, CCPI or PIM, visit www.dataprocessor.nl/en. Or request a DataProcessorTJ demo by emailing wayne.jarvis@proplanet.uk.

Delivering the Necessary Data Capabilities for ETIM

In just a few years commerce has evolved significantly, and yesterday’s tools won’t help win today’s buyer. The digitisation of product information for online e-commerce use has grown exponentially, which is why Syndigo has aligned with the EDA to help Affiliate manufacturers deliver important product information and imagery to Wholesale members based on the ETIM standard.

Centralising product content in today’s marketplace is a necessity, and Product Information Management (PIM) capabilities provide a consolidated way to manage content in order to share information more easily with trading partners. This makes the data more efficient to work with across different partners while making it easier to keep the content updated in real time.

But a PIM alone is not enough. In fact, most traditional PIM systems were not designed for today’s fast-moving wholesale/retail market. While many solutions are focussed on the input and management aspects of product content, there is often a gap – a lack of processes and functionality to deliver complete and accurate Manufacturer content to multiple Wholesalers, in their specific requirements. It’s often left to the content manager or e-commerce team to fill in the blanks.

However, with Syndigo’s Context Experience Hub, both PIM and syndication capabilities are connected, enabling Affiliate manufacturers to deliver their data correctly and accurately based not only on the ETIM taxonomy but on any attribute including core marketing data. Product content is syndicated correctly the first time and every time to the EDATA data pool as well as other recipients. This reduces the manual, time-consuming and error-prone back and forth communication via spreadsheets. By utilising Syndigo’s solution, Affiliate manufacturers can deliver up to date, correct product data to Wholesaler members, to automatically ingest into their data systems.

If speed to market and data quality are important, Syndigo can provide you the needed platform for managing product information and syndication network to multiple recipients in the ETIM format. Visit our website and click “Request Demo” to learn more about how our Content Experience Hub and product content solutions help you drive more sales.

For more information about ETIM UK or EDATA, please contact Kiera Greenwood by email or on 02031417352
EDA, EDA Data Services, EDATA and ETIM UK Ltd • 020 3141 7350 •
www.eda.org.uk • www.etim-uk.co.uk • Rotherwick House, 3 Thomas More Street, St Katharine’s and Wapping, London E1W 1YZ