IDEA Announces a More Granular Electrical Attribute Schema Version 4.0

New Schema provides a more precise product categorization process for distributors and manufacturers

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ARLINGTON, VA – The Industry Data Exchange Association, Inc. (IDEA), the official technology service provider and eBusiness standards body of the electrical industry, today announced the release of the Electrical Attribute Schema 4.0. The product categories in the newly enhanced Schema increased by almost 50% from the previous 3,468 product categories to more than 5,000. This increased granularity provides a more precise product categorization process for manufacturers and helps distributors to better represent products on their eCommerce sites.

“The Schema 4.0 will help distributors further classify products for use on their web store drill-downs and filters, and will ultimately make manufacturer products easier to search and find online,” said Mary Shaw, Director, eBusiness Standards, IDEA. “As a next step, IDEA will be reviewing the assignments of the UNSPSC codes to help manufacturers normalize the way products are being categorized in the IDW.”
To increase the granularity of the Schema categories, IDEA developed a fifth level to the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® (UNSPSC®) taxonomy, the global standard for product categorization used as the foundation of the Schema. This granular fifth level supplements and builds off the first four levels of the taxonomy which are represented with an 8-digit UNSPSC code.

All product categories in the new Schema have been assigned an industry-specific 4-digit code. This code was developed so that every product category within the more granular Schema has a unique identifier. It will also help to accommodate distributors that can only use 4-digit product category codes in their business system. 

Schema 4.0 is also more aligned with industry categorization systems used by distributors, and with the European Technical Information Model (ETIM), the European equivalent to the Electrical Attribute Schema used in North America. IDEA has been closely collaborating with ETIM International ( on this project and other initiatives for over a year.

IDEA will be sending the Electrical Attribute Schema 4.0 file to IDW customers in the coming week, and the file can also be requested by contacting Mary Shaw at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The next version of the Schema will be released in 2014 and will bring the product category count to over 7,000. You can find out more about the Electrical Attribute Schema and other eBusiness standards developed by the IDEA Industry Standards Committee (ISC) by visiting


About IDEA: The Industry Data Exchange Association, Inc. (IDEA) is the official technology service provider and eBusiness standards body of the electrical industry. The company helps thousands of manufacturers and distributors find the most cost-effective methods for running day-to-day business. IDEA’s applications help connect the supply chain and make business processes efficient, easy and enjoyable for people every day. IDEA was founded in 1998 through a partnership rooted in the collective leadership of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) members. Their applications also bring value to vertical markets such as industrial, retail, and consumer-packaged goods. IDEA is headquartered in Arlington, VA (