Digitalisation of the electrical product supply chain must take place within the context of digitalisation of the wider construction industry. The position of wholesalers as a key stage in the “golden thread” needs to be understood both by themselves and by others in the industry, as does the potential benefit of adopting ETIM.
So, it’s vital that the EDA is closely engaged with decision makers and representatives of other stakeholders across the industry. We are proud to represent the electrical sector and ETIM on a growing number of industry bodies including the Construction Leadership Council RMI (Repair, Maintenance & Improvement) Digital Taskforce, UK BIM Alliance Affiliates Group, CPA (Construction Products Association) Trade Association Council and BIM4Housing.
In this issue of Click & Connect you can read about our successful 2020 digitalisation forum which was attended by over 180 people. This year’s forum is already scheduled for Wednesday 1 December – please save the date. Of course, we can’t be sure what form it will take yet, but let’s hope it won’t be too long before we can start meeting face to face again.
You will also find news about development of the ETIM standard and the BMF’s ETIM project. Onboarding Manager Javier Garcia shares his tips for getting your data in shape for EDATA, our Solution Provider affiliates make their predictions for the year ahead and we introduce EDA Data) Services Board Member George Brickwood.
We hope you find the newsletter useful and please remember, the team is here to help: 020 3141 7350 or by email.
General Manager, EDA Data Services.
1 December 2020 over 180 delegates met online for the EDA’s Digitalisation Forum to hear news, views and opportunities on product data challenges and solutions in the UK electrotechnical supply chain…
Practical advice on where to put your energy when it comes to product data. Javier Garcia, Onboarding Manager for EDA Data Services, shares his top tips for digitalising your data in 2021.
Prysmian Group joined ETIM International as its first Global Industry Member. “ETIM is fundamental for the most efficient classification” says Prysmian Group Senior Vice President Energy & Infra.
ETIM UK launches a new series of working groups and raises a call for volunteers!
After the launch of ETIM 8.0, ETIM UK begins to focus on increasing the usage of ETIM in the UK electrotechnical sector. Two working groups have already been held and there are more on the horizon – find out how you can get involved.
ETIM is growing! ETIM International has an exciting opportunity for a Standardisation Support Manager to join the international staff team and support the Technical Director, Marc Habets.
I’ve been directly involved in eCommerce and Digitalisation for over 10 years, predominantly driving growth and efficiency of process through web shops, EDI (Electronic data interchange), API and Punchout solutions.
It was during my time at Wolseley UK, when I was managing the UK Contact Centre operations. I could see how these technologies could give greater operational efficiency and improved customer satisfaction so set about implementing them. I was asked to develop an eBusiness team when the business appointed a Chief Digital Officer, and it went from there.
The size of the opportunity. A number of industries are behind the curve when it comes to digitalisation, and there is so much potential to do things differently and create a more resilient way of doing business.
First and foremost the people. I have the benefit of being part of a fantastic team, and working with like-minded people across the industry who are all on the digitalisation journey together. I also love being a part of something that is fast-paced and gives real results, I find that very motivating.
Don’t underestimate yourself. When trying to drive digital adoption it can seem like a very steep hill to climb, and there are so many things to do, it can seem overwhelming. However with the right mindset and culture it’s amazing what can be achieved.
I think it has opened our eyes to many things, such as the way we work and how we need to be able to adapt more quickly than we have perhaps been comfortable with in the past. I believe it has also shown that there is a real need to step-change digitisation in many areas.
It is often the case that technologies and the solutions become the priority, whereas getting the right culture and processes embedded are paramount to successfully delivering sustainable digitalisation.
Motorsport has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I used to hold a National Competition Licence and competed in a few different types of motorsports over the years. I then moved into the Northern Drift Championship for a couple of years before my son was born, then family commitments took priority!
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.
Artificial Intelligence. Computer systems which can carry out tasks which normally require human intelligence using algorithms to understand, analyse and learn from data. Now widespread, examples of AI in ecommerce include targeted on-line advertising, chatbots and auto-product recommendations.
In this context normally means a software tool (e.g. Google Analytics) which is linked to a web site. It monitors and reports on user activity and behaviour enabling the web site owner to tailor the user experience and set benchmarks to measure the success of on-line sales and marketing campaigns.
Application Programming Interface. An intermediary piece of software which enables transfer of data between one software product and another.
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 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.
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.
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
This pandemic has hastened the pace of digital change in society. We all seeing the economic impact as the business landscape is being transformed before our eyes. We are also witnessing the amazing success of those 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. We at Kerridge Commercial Systems stand ready to help you!
K8, our flagship digital ERP solution, is a fully integrated business system that can help you overcome this challenge. Developed by experts with a real understanding of the electrical supplies industry, K8 combines a suite of cloud-based digital solutions 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
Our industry and technology specialists stand ready to help Electrical Wholesalers now to meet the challenges of today’s economy, to develop and to grow – we work in partnership with you to deliver a world class solution that enables you to drive your business and to rapidly evolve your digital strategy
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:
Handheld technology is no longer a far-fetched investment in warehouse operations, but sadly, many SMEs still fear it’s out of their reach. OrderWise shares five unspoken benefits of adopting handheld technology:
A huge benefit of handheld terminals (HHTs) is the real-time visibility they provide the picking operation. With wireless synchronisation, pickers can easily see notifications and work assignments on their device in real-time, so they can take action when new picks arrive in their feed.
Freeing up management
This works the other way, too. With paper-based operations, daily supervision is required to ensure pickers are redirected as and when priorities change. Using pick rules on HHTs, pickers become self-efficient through automated assignment of picks and built-in priority technology – even when one assignment is complete, the next one will appear on the device!
HHTs generally operate just like a phone, with more up-to-date models operating like the smartphone you have at home. New recruits can simply pick up a device, turn it on and get to work without lengthy meetings to determine priorities for the day, allowing for a faster and smoother onboarding process.
Keep going all shift
One of the biggest benefits of the modern day HHT is that the battery lasts. Some devices have a 14-hour battery life, meaning pickers can work a double shift without interruption. Plus, they easily connect to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other networks for complete usability.
The best bit? Your staff will be completing more jobs than ever, so you won’t need as many pickers on shift, reducing the cost per each order filled. And as they’re easy to learn, new staff can get up-to-speed quickly.
For more information about what HHTs can bring to your business, visit: https://orderwise.co.uk/solutions/android-hht/
As you know, Manufacturers work closely together with EDA throughout its onboarding process to EDATA. The EDATA team closely monitors the quality of data, including validation of ETIM imported data according to strict quality standards. Despite that, delivering this high-quality article information on time is time-consuming, error-prone and could be complicated.
ProPlanet simplifies ETIM enrichment of product information.
ProPlanet is the solutions provider for the EDATA Platform and an affiliate solutions provider for EDA. For 20 years, ProPlanet has been supporting manufacturers, merchants and wholesalers who manage substantial amounts of product information and simplify ETIM enrichment, ProPlanet has developed DataProcessor TJ.
As the demands of wholesalers are getting higher for product data enrichment, logistics and warehousing. The need for Product Information Management (PIM) solutions is getting bigger.
DataProcessor is a Product Information Management solution that integrates with ERP-systems, eCommerce platforms and EDATA. The PIM solution ensures seamless data transfer of product, logistic and warehousing information in accordance with standards like ETIM.
Along with EDA, we are seeing more manufacturers within the electrotechnical sector adopting the ETIM classification model. Classifying products to ETIM is the key to product enrichment. Technical information aids the search and findability of products on webshops. These webshops require complete, and at all times up to date product information, essential for achieving a high conversion rate.
The added value of a PIM system DataProcessor TJ
Proplanet’ DataProcessor supports the latest ETIM and ETIM MC, GS1 and UNSPSC classifications.
As Manufacturers adopt ETIM, there is a growing interest in ETIM MC. ETIM MC, also called ETIM Modelling Classes, is an extension to the ETIM model. ETIM MC was developed in the Netherlands and is an official ETIM International standard. ETIM MC is an application of ETIM in BIM (Building Information Modelling) and enables the exchange of 3D product data for users of CAD software.
Are you looking to onboard with EDATA? And do you require a PIM solution that is easy to use and pre-configured to the EDATA platform, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on ProPlanet Data solutions and ETIM classification please see: www.proplanet.co.uk
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.