2017 Agenda

Tuesday August 1, 2017



3:00 - 4:30PM         
ISC Year-in-Review


Join us for this year’s Industry Standards Committee Year-in-Review, where members of the committee will share highlights of the work they’ve been doing this past year, and what’s to come for next year.  Hear about their experiences, benefits, comradery, and their thoughts on why you too should participate, and bring your company’s voice to the development of the data and ecommerce standards and best practices for the whole industry!!

5:30 - 7:00PM           
Joint Welcome Reception


Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

8:00 - 8:30AM             
Joint Breakfast
8:30 - 11:30AM             
Joint General Session Keynote: Innovation, Electrified Presented by Josh Linkner, Chairman & Co‐founder of Fuel Leadership and the Institute for Applied Creativity


In these challenging times, the need to harness innovative approaches has never been greater.  In an industry that launched the lightbulb - the very symbol of innovation - we now must be innovative far beyond our products in order to enjoy sustainable success.  Five-time tech entrepreneur and NY Times Bestselling author Josh Linkner will show you how to drive creativity and innovation into every aspect of your work - from marketing and technology to logistics and operations.  His keynote will 'energize' you, while providing practical approaches and tools to help take your business and career to the next level.


11:30AM - 1:00PM             
Joint Lunch and Innovation Hub

1:00 - 1:45PM              
Breakout Sessions


Attributes and Attributed Data: Why it is important for both manufacturers and distributors? Presented by Mary Shaw, Director of eBusiness Standard, IDEA; Mark Richards, Senior Director of eCommerce & Technical Services, Supply Chain, Leviton Manufacturing; Gary Vrana, Data Content Manager, City Electric Supply
Learn why it is so important to provide the right "attributes" on products to the marketplace. Explain the flow of process and features of products. Distributor and manufacturer eCommerce employees and data managers, who are responsible for providing accurate product information to the marketplace, will benefit from attending this session to learn about the importance of proper product descriptors to increase sales. 


EDI: The Advantages and Disadvantages of In-House vs Outsource Mapping and Translation Presented by Tom Guzik, Director of Digital Integration Services, IDEA; Rob Consoli, Chief Revenue Officer, Liaison
EDI can help to lower error rates, increase efficiency and lower your cost to process orders, invoices and other common transactions. IT and EDI professionals who have considered whether to in-house or outsource EDI needs can gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of each. The IDEA EDI puzzle has different options with Liaison and the LENS tool.


Getting Multichannel Right for your Business Presented by Jonathan Bein, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Real Results Marketing
For many distributors, multi‐channel only means adding e‐commerce alongside field sales. However, there is more to multi‐channel than just field sales and e‐commerce. It might or perhaps should include proactive inside sales, vending machines, EDI, punchout, mobile, email, and SMS/MMS.  The key driver for all of these potential channels is your customer’s need for more efficiency in how they shop and buy from you as well as your need to cost-effectively manage your customers. In this session, Jonathan Bein will show you key trends in customer shopping and buying preferences from over 8000 customers of distributors, best practices from several hundred distributors, how to solicit actionable preferences from your customer and prospect base on shopping and buying, and the use of ROI and payback analyses to determine the value of different channels such as proactive inside sales, eCommerce, direct response print and digital, EDI, and email and fax order automation.



2:00 - 2:45PM              
Breakout Sessions


Critical Attributes Project: Manufacturers and Distributors Define What Are Considered Critical Attributes Presented by Barbara Prince, Data Quality Specialist, IDEA; Nick Reed, Manager of Cost Services, Graybar
The Critical Attribute Project is addressing the need for consistency of product attribute population within the industry. When critical attributes are defined, manufacturers can concentrate on providing the information their distributors need to power their eCommerce sites. Both parties benefit from the results of this project. You will also hear why it’s important to load more than the critical attributes, including video clips, installation instructions, certifications, and more. This session is open to all attendees who seek to learn more about the critical attribute project and how your company can have a say in the process.


Building Information Modeling (BIM): Find out how our European electrical distributors are leading the way with BIM technology powered by ETIM (electro technical information model) data categorization. Presented by Tarja Hailikari, Managing Director of the Finnish Electro Technical Trade Association and Frank Jaegtnes, CEO of the Norway Electrical Association
This session features the two leaders of their respective electrical distributor associations in Finland and Norway.  Ms. Tarja Hailikari, Managing Director of the Finnish Electro Technical Trade Association and Frank Jaegtnes, CEO of the Norway Electrical Association will join forces for this session. Join Tarja and Frank to find out how electrical distributors in their countries are leveraging BIM to grow their business and become an essential part of the emerging BIM technology adoption in the supply chain.


The Future of Warehouse Technology Presented by Steve Congro, Director, Omni-Channel Fulfillment Technology, Saddle Creek Logistic Services
Warehouse Technology and Automation can seem daunting for companies large and small. In this session, learn about today's existing warehouse automation options (and how it fits into existing systems), as well as Emerging and Future Warehouse Technologies such as Augmented Reality and Drones and whether Dark Warehouses are a reality for your business in the near future. See how technology can assist you in your goals of a more productive and accurate operation. Finally, understand what's needed to tackle a warehouse technology project, and how good data and proper planning can ease the transition towards a more advanced facility.


3:00 - 3:45PM              
Breakout Sessions


Beyond the 43: the IDW Beyond the 43 Critical Fields and the PDD Presented by Sherri Thorne, Director of Product Content Services, IDEA; Mike Polansky, Director Planning & Procurement, Graybar; Cristina Cabone, Senior Sales Analyst, Lutron
The IDW has hundreds of fields that can be populated. Explore why it’s important to populate more than 43 required fields. Distributor and manufacturer eCommerce, data, pricing managers, product managers, data specialists, etc. can find out what other fields of information they should be sharing with their channel partners through the IDW. Distributors can share their needs for more data with their manufacturers and how they use that information.


Why It Is Important to Have Great Quality Data in your ERP Systems? Presented by Johna Aro, IDW Distributor Specialist, IDEA; Vikram Dasa-Rao, Master Data Manager, Eaton Corporation; Sheila Hernandez, VP, Marketing, Summit Electric Supply
Having strong and complete product information in your ERP system can increase efficiency, accuracy of transactions, lower costs and help increase customer satisfaction. Distributors can learn about the best methods for keeping pricing, packaging and other product data in their system accurate.  Manufacturers can find out why distributors need this information for their systems and the impact on their costs. 


Internet of Things Presented by Patrick Hughes, Senior Director of Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives, NEMA
What are IoT applications and how IoT will be intertwined into almost everything we do in a few years. Explore the various issues associated with IoT, such as interoperability---i.e., the need for standard communications protocols so devices from different manufacturers communicate smoothly with each other---security, privacy, etc. Highlight the various opportunities IoT offers electrical distributors and manufacturers. Why advocating for open IoT communications standards such as those by Intel, Cisco, Microsoft, etc. rather than protocols of individual companies helps the industry.


4:00 - 5:30PM              
Joint Innovation Hub and Reception


5:30 - 7:30PM              
OPTIONAL: AdVenture Best of the Best Program Awards Ceremony     


tED magazine's Best of the Best awards program honors marketing excellence and recognized creativity within the electrical industry. Judged by a panel of industry and marketing experts, the awards program provides winners with the opportunity to show that their work is highly regarded within their own industry. Find out who will take home the coveted crystal star!

Free Evening - Dinner on your own                      


Thursday, August 3, 2017 

7:30 - 8:30AM             
Joint Breakfast & Innovation Hub


8:30 - 11:30AM             
Joint General Session Keynote: Understand & Unlock the Power of Your ‘Because’, Presented by Gerry O’Brion, Author & Business Strategist, What Big Brands Know 


To win in distribution today, it’s no longer sufficient to have great selection, fair pricing and excellent service. These are the price of entry. To fend off the competition, you must provide unique value to your customers. The best distributorships see what is possible when others do not. They are willing to disrupt their companies, even when it’s unpopular. They give every employee clarity about how to provide value to their customers above and beyond the basics. Gerry is a nationally recognized marketing and branding expert who has worked on several billion dollar brands and distilled that experience into growth strategies you can implement immediately, regardless of your budget. The presentation is packed with strategies and case studies from several different industries that you can leverage right now in your business.


11:30AM - 1:00PM             
Joint Lunch and Innovation Hub 


1:00 - 2:45PM             
IDEA Presentation: IDEA 2020


Hear from our executive team about: key developments in the industry focusing on data quality, internationalization, and business intelligence; recent accomplishments in Standards and key upcoming projects; IDW platform update including an outline of the next generation platform's new features, and the schedule for roll out; an introduction to the powerful features of the new IDX platform and transition schedule; and a summary of IDEA’s roadmap in the coming years. 


1:00 - 2:30PM             
Focus Group: Benchmarks to Evaluate and Justify Investment in New Technology Initiatives, Erika TenEyck, Director of Research and Development, NAED


Join other thought leaders in a facilitated discussion on a common industry problem—finding the right benchmarks to measure and support investments in current and new technology at your company. During this working session, you’ll learn about the IT expense related statistics and performance benchmarks currently reported by NAED, and have the opportunity to identify additional areas NAED should consider in their future research efforts. Limited Seating—Advance Registration Required.


3:00 - 4:00PM              
Innovation Hub


4:15 - 5:00PM              
IDEA Roundtables


IDX Upgrade Round Table Discussion Moderated by Tom Guzik, Director of Digital Integration Services, IDEA and Paulette Ortiz, IDX Product Support Specialist
IDEA chose to move the IDX to a Tier 1-level Value-Added Network to offer an enhanced platform and provide our customers with a competitive edge utilizing the latest EDI technology. Liaison’s ALLOY™ Platform features any-to-any translation, world-class mapping software, and the ability to handle disparate data sources and formats. Join our round table discussion to ask questions about the upgrade process and migrating to the new platform.


Next Gen IDW Sneak Peek Round Table Moderated by Brenda Maxwell and Melissa Longnecker, IDEA
This roundtable will offer a sneak peek into major features, functionality and processes of the Next Gen IDW platform.  Feedback will focus on comparison to today’s experience and the impact of enhancements or changes. 


6:00 - 8:00PM              
Sponsored Group Event at the Chicago Sports Museum 


The social event is open to all to enjoy a causal offsite event to mingle with all attendees and staff. The Chicago Sports Museum and Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch Catering services combine to create an interactive experience, with state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities and upscale design.


Friday, August 4, 2017

7:30 - 8:30AM             


8:30AM - 12:00PM             
Joint General Session Keynote: Shift Happens: How Marketing and Information Technology Can Work Together to Drive Revenue Presented By Bob Lewis, Founder and Principal, B2X & Justin King, Partner, B2X

In the recently published NAED State of the Industry 2017, distributors cited eCommerce as one of their top priorities for 2017, with planned spending increases third (only after expanding facilities and employee training & compensation). This brings up many questions: 

  • What does it take to succeed online and how should we define success? 
  • How do you gain customer adoption and develop a competitive, self-sustaining online presence? 
  • How do you move from trying to defend your customer base online to deploying a growth engine in an increasingly digital marketplace? 
  • Is Amazon really the dark knight here?   


Whether you are online today or considering making the move, this session gives you data to drive these decisions. Industry experts Bob Lewis and Justin King of B2X Partners provide insights and recommendations to help you succeed in an increasingly online world, including:

  1. Shift Happens. Get Ready. Your customer demographics are changing, you can’t stop it. With that change comes evolving expectations for doing business with you. In this segment, we will discuss your customer’s shifting expectations and introduce a B2B eCommerce framework to help guide your digital strategy and tactics
  2. How to build a winning strategy. Hope is not a strategy. Failing to plan is planning to fail. This segment we will outline the core elements of an overall digital strategy necessary to focus your company efforts and guide your online growth.
  3. How to drive Customer Adoption. After significant effort and investment, you’ve launched your online presence, but you’re not seeing the adoption you expected - why? Customers use your site not because they want to but because they have to, it’s their job. This segment will address aspects to focus on, and tactics to employ that drive customer adoption and fuel your online growth.

8:30AM - 12:00PM             
Joint General Session Keynote: Cyber Security – What You Need to Know Now, Presented By Mike Foster, CEO, The Foster Institute        


Companies across all industries face many cyber-security challenges. These days, ransomware and other attacks are in the news daily. The attacks can interfere with business productivity. You may not be able to serve your customers in the event of an attack; that’s why knowing some of the best protections is essential. 
Topics will include:

  • Proven core strategies, using resources that you already own, that will propel your cyber safety to new levels.
  • Take-home value: Key steps to dramatically increase the security of the information entrusted to your organization.
  • Practical solutions that are working in the real world at other companies to transcend the challenges.
  • Important security steps that will not break the bank.
  • Best ways to maximize results when working with IT professionals - especially outsourced IT firms.
  • Strategies to garner support for the IT projects you need to be approved.
  • Concrete strategies and tactics that you can put into action immediately.
  • Important information about how to even protect your home computers and your loved ones.


Be sure to come to this workshop so that you can sleep even better at night.



The topics were relevant and well prepared. I found myself having to choose between two topics held at the same time on several occasions throughout the event which indicates the quality of the material.

Angela Baraks, Director of Sales and Marketing, DATAgility

The E-Biz Forum brings eBusiness leaders and topics together in an event that is unmatched by any other format. The opportunity to network and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry is extremely valuable.

Jason Archbold, Business Intelligence Analyst, Border States

I loved the focus on content. It creates a lot of inertia for trading partners.

Nick Becker, Data Analyst, Standard Electric Supply Co.