2021 has been another strange and difficult year, with tantalising glimpses of normality countered by new challenges in the global supply chain and in adapting to a post-Brexit business environment. With all this going on it’s important not to forget that the opportunities and the threats posed by digitalisation are still with us and every wholesaler and manufacturer must plan for a digital future.
We’ve made much progress with EDATA this year with 53 affiliate manufacturers now having joined. All are going through the onboarding process and twelve have achieved Gold standard to date, while many others are on track to do so soon.
This year we started working with GS1 to establish the GTIN (or EAN code) as the all-important unique and universal product identifier, essential for industry digitalisation. We are also now working with wholesalers to embed EDATA into their systems and are considering various ways to make it as accessible and easy to use as possible. 2022 is sure to be another busy year!
We wish you all a successful and prosperous new year and, as always, please remember the team is here to help: 020 3141 7350 or by email.
General Manager, EDA Data Services.
On 1 December 2021, the EDA’s 3rd Digitalisation Forum and 1st Data Awards took place to celebrate excellence in product data and the day was attended by over 100 delegates from UK wholesalers and manufacturers.
The future of product identification? The industry has been calling for a Unique Product Identifier and the EDA, alongside other industry bodies, believe that the GTIN Code, or bar code, is the answer. But why?
2021 has been all about collaboration, giving us some big numbers to shout about. Some manufacturers have their own data teams, and others outsource, but what’s clear is the focus and enthusiasm for driving up product data quality.
A huge congratulations to the winners (Left) of the 1st EDA Data Awards!
At the EDA, we talk a lot about Gold Level, Silver Level, and Bronze Level data, but what does that actually mean and how can you reach Gold?
A warm welcome to the new EDATA Manufacturers, joining in 2021.
I have been involved with digitalisation of data since the days of my apprenticeship. When I started as a Design Engineer, my work was carried out on drawing boards and a few of the team at the time had access to CAD software. The hand drawings needed conversion to a digital format which consisted of scanning older drawings such as tooling to PDF files but a majority of drawings were drawn up on CAD so they could be used easily for the future. I also introduced a data management system for the control of the drawings back in the late 90’s. I started my career in the mid-nineties and have been in the electrotechnical sector the whole time.
Engineering was introduced to me by my late Grandfather who was a draftsman and toolmaker. The digital aspect of my career is due to evolution of technologies and the progression required to stay commercially competitive. Information and data technology has been crucial not only to my development but also for the companies I have worked for.
My career has gone from design to working in the IT department designing and managing the Microsoft SQL Server, mail and network servers, back to engineering and now supporting members within our trade association. I would say that the biggest surprise is how close knit the electrotechnical community is – although people move between businesses, they tend to stay within the sector which allows knowledge to continually circulate.
With BEAMA, I love to collaborate and support our members in getting the most out of the trade association and what we can offer. Many see a trade association, such as BEAMA, as only focused on product standards and regulation but it is so much more. The job is very rewarding and I have a great team to work with.
That’s tough. I have had some great managers and mentors over the years! I am passionate & enthusiastic about what I do and I have been told by many that this is a real positive attribute and to never lose this focus and determination.
Easy; embrace the digital world! Although the Pandemic has been horrendous for so many reasons the positive has been how everyone has embraced the tools available to improve our working lives and keep the UK market ticking over.
Whether you are on your digitalisation journey already or are just beginning, engagement from your teams is key at every stage: planning, implementation and the review. Digitalisation and transformation is not going away – it is an aspect of our working lives that will continue to evolve and improve as time goes on. Having specific teams for these projects may not be financially possible for all companies, so involving your team will determine those who have a passion and the skillset to make your business better for you and your customers.
I used to have hair… I have my own workshop and in my spare time love to be creative. I work with metal and wood to create a variety of home décor items.
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.
Customer Relationship Management. Normally used in the context of CRM software: a system which stores and manages customer data, manages customer interactions and enables analysis of customer data.
Comma Separated Values. A delimited text file format using commas to separate the values. Each line is a data record which consists of one or more values, separated by commas.
Digital Asset Management. Normally used in the context of DAM software: a system that enables companies to store, organise, manage and distribute a library of Digital Assets (see below). Normally works in conjunction with a PIM (Product Information Management) system.
Anything that exists in a digital format which a company has a right to use is considered a Digital Asset. In the context of product data Digital Assets normally include product images, brand logos, documents (such as data sheets, installation instructions etc.) and videos.
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 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.
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!
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 email@example.com or call 01156 975 975 for a demo
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.
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:
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.
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.
Latest Blog: ERP Software in the Electrical Wholesale Industry
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
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?
Or for more information about NG15 Ltd and e-Pim visit our NEW websites:
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.
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.
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.