Click & Connect – August 2021

Welcome to the fourth edition of Click & Connect, the EDA’s quarterly newsletter bring you news about all matters relating to ecommerce and digitalisation.

On 14th July we held our annual Solutions Providers’ round table.  Solutions Providers, by which we mean suppliers of software systems into the sector, are key allies in the digitalisation process.

Representing the needs of electrical wholesalers and manufacturers to those solution providers who have demonstrated a commitment to the sector was one of the main reasons why the EDA introduced a new category of membership, Solutions Provider Affiliate in 2020.  To date twelve companies have joined and you can find out more about them later in this newsletter.

Developing a close working relationship with these companies enables EDATA and ETIM to be integrated into their systems as a standard feature.  But it is very much a two-way conversation.  Many of the Solutions Provider Affiliates have many years’ experience working in other sectors that are more advanced in digitalisation such as retail, office supplies and even the electrical sector in other countries.  This enables us both to adopt tried and tested best practice from these sectors and to learn from their mistakes.

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.

Creating-Excellent-Product-Descriptions
Creating Excellent Product Descriptions

Do your product descriptions grab customers’ attention? Introducing the latest free White Paper from the EDA, which will advise you on where to concentrate your efforts – what you should include and what you shouldn’t. The latest in our series of White Papers tackling digitalisation topics, download your free copy of ‘Creating Excellent Product Descriptions now’!

Solutions Provider Round Table

On 14 July, the EDA held two separate round tables with Industry Solution Providers that updated attendees on the EDA’s digitalisation activities over the last year.

Affiliate SP Round Table 2021 - 1
Fegime UK joins EDATA

Fegime UK joins EDATA, the not-for-profit data pool, from 1 July 2021 as part of its digitalisation drive. Fegime CEO, Alan Reynolds, explains the added value it will deliver to his wholesaler members.

FEGIME UK joins the data pool
Viewpoint_Javier-
EDATA: Where are we now?

2021 has been a very busy year for the EDA, and our plates have been just as full at EDATA. The database has grown significantly, with more manufacturers joining the data pool, an increase in SKUs added to the platform, and new features constantly being developed.

ETIM-UK-&-BIM-strategy v2
ETIM UK & BIM – An Introduction to ETIM MC

In light of a growing interest in ETIM MC, a cost efficient way for manufacturers to create 3D digital representations of their products, in the UK Construction Industry, Richard Appleton shares a brief introduction into ETIM MC.

Cyber Security
Cyber Security

With the Age of digitalisation upon us and the increase in pace that has been brought on by the pandemic, the government are more aware of the risk of cyber attacks then ever. The EDA have identified two relevant courses by the National Cyber Security Centre : “Cyber Security Introduction: Top tips for staff” and “Cyber Security for Small Organisations“.

Alan Fisher
A warm welcome to Alan Fisher!

Based in Milton Keynes, Alan is the latest edition to the ETIM International Team and will be working as their Standardisation Support Manager.

BMEcat 5.0
BMEcat 5.0 is launched

Now available for download, this new version includes new additions and improvements on existing fields.

Latest Solution Provider Affiliates

The EDA is pleased to welcome two new Affiliated Solution Provider.

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.

In this issue, we meet Phil Thomson, Procurement Data Manager, NG Bailey.

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

In my current role since 2013, having won the CIPS “Most Innovative Use of Technology” in 2014, for the work on an e-catalogue solution, I have continued the theme into data management

What led you to this career?

Starting a tradesman on 1988, then in various engineering roles, before working on the “Lean Construction” initiative, which lead to supporting procurement department on the need for better transactions. Essentially data management requires a lean approach.

What has surprised you about your chosen career path?

How much there is to do, and how few people understand the need for good data in the construction sector, the industry is awash with problems related to poor product information, some of which has lead to disasters and loss of life.

What do you love about your job?

The short and long term challenges, on a daily basis there are many plates to spin, and risks to mitigate, whilst the long term objectives is to have a joined up strategic approach. In essence the problem is bigger that one single organisation can resolve.

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

There are too many to mention, but the majority of quotes are well documented, and can be applied at the right time, the trick is to know where and when to focus on them.

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

That with the right levels of trust anything is possible, and home working can be more productive than commuting for the sake of it. Also naysayers shouldn’t be listened to, and we should all focus on the Value Add over business as usual.

What is the most important thing that the industry needs to do to digitalise?

STOP what it is doing now, especially if they are a barrier to change.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

I have represented GB on three occasions at the world Underwater Hockey championships

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.

Computer Aided Design.  The use of computer software to aid in the creation of a design, is used in many industries.  In the construction sectors 3D CAD systems are used to create the detailed architectural and engineering drawings which are essential to the correct execution of any construction project.

Cloud computing refers to computer resources, typically software and storage, that are hosted in a remote data centre and available on demand to users via the internet rather than being hosted and managed locally on the user’s own computers.

Content Management System.  A computer software system typically used for web content management.  B2B web site packages such as an electrical wholesaler might use typically include a built in CMS.

Construction Operations Building Information Exchange.  A data format enabling digital information about a building and its components to be compiled and exchanged in the form of a spreadsheet.

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
EazyStcok is an affiliated member of the EDA
eCommonSense is an Affiliated Solution Provider at the EDA
Electrika One Time PIM
ES Tech is an Affiliated Solution Provider at the EDA
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 an 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 a powerful eCommerce offering to electrical wholesalers. b2b.store is an eCommerce platform designed specifically for businesses that sell to other businesses and works across all channels from mobile through to desktop.  It has never been more important for businesses to invest in digital which delivers a compelling ROI and is a far more cost effective means of accepting orders than traditional methods. 

Larger wholesalers or distributors with more complex requirements can also benefit from our Enterprise offering which provides a tailored service leveraging the standard b2b.store architecture. With this approach our clients have the best of both worlds – by benefiting from the savings made by using our prebuilt product, but also being able to have custom integrations or features. Examples of our Enterprise grade features include multi-depot,  bespoke customer pricing, complex promotional mechanics, custom development work etc.

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 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.

EazyStcok is an affiliated member of the EDAEazyStock joins EDA to support members with stock issues.

Supply chain disruption has become the norm. Throughout 2021 electrical wholesalers & distributors are continuing to experience delivery delays and stock shortages which are resulting in unhappy customers. At the same time, forecasting sales is challenging with historical data useless for predicting future demand.

EazyStock is a market-leading inventory optimisation tool that can help you manage these supply chain challenges and take full advantage of growing sales opportunities.

It connects with ERP systems to digitalise inventory management operations and removes the need for time-consuming and inefficient spreadsheets. Instead, EazyStock automates demand forecasting, optimises inventory levels and generates dynamic order recommendations which feed back to your ERP.

With EazyStock, businesses typically reduce their inventory levels by up to 30%, freeing up valuable cashflow and lowering operational costs. At the same time, they improve stock availability which improves customer satisfaction and reduces the risk of lost sales. By automating stock forecasting and ordering, businesses also boost efficiency & accuracy, making them more agile and responsive to customer and supplier demands.

If your business is experiencing stock issues or looking to digitalise its inventory management operations, let’s talk!

www.eazystock.co.uk

eCommonSense is an Affiliated Solution Provider at the EDAeCommonSense 

eCommonSense is an award-winning provider of eCommerce and product information management (PIM) solutions, designed specifically for the building supplies sector and used by many of the UK’s leading building product supply merchants.

Our eCommerce platform is functionally rich and can be integrated into the back-office trading system of any electrical products wholesaler and is the only website solution that delivers the branch-based business model online.

Our solution gives trade customers the ability to log in, search for products and place orders at their agreed trade prices. Customers can organise deliveries or click & collect orders from the branch network, manage their accounts and download and pay invoices.

In addition to the account management aspects, our platform has loads of additional trade focussed functionality, such as a quote builder and materials calculators and is the only solution that translates the branch-based business model online, enabling customers to be served as if they were in a branch 24/7.

Our solution has the highest security standards in the industry for peace of mind, it is also as easy and intuitive to use as the websites of leading retail brands, which means that you could also get the benefit of additional high margin sales from retail customers and younger trades people who are searching for building materials on their mobile devices.

The eCommerce market for building materials is more than doubling in size every year, so don’t miss out on the huge opportunity to open another branch at the fraction of the cost by growing your business digitally.

Email info@ecommonsense.com or call 01156 975 975 for a demo

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