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President's Note: A look at IDEA's progress
The need for high-quality data has been a challenge within the industry for years. To address that challenge, IDEA launched its Data Certification Program in 2015. This program supports IDEA’s goal of increasing the depth, breadth, and quality of the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW). Within this program, 43 critical data fields were identified as necessary for distributors to conduct business. IDEA set Oct. 1, 2015 as the deadline for the manufacturers supplying this data to achieve compliance – and more than 100 achieved at least 95% compliance. Today, the IDW has more than 1.4 million fully attributed SKUs.
Compliance is one of two metrics within the Data Certification Program, and it will remain a priority. Now, as the program continues to grow, efforts are expanding to include the second metric: excellence, i.e., the quality of the data.
Through a partnership with ElectricSmarts, IDEA is also addressing the challenge of the data limitations of most contractor estimating software products. Most of these products come with prepopulated data, giving contractors access to a limited number of items and product lines. If a contractor needs specific product or pricing information and finds that it is not available within the estimating system,that data may be imported from other sources that have not been confirmed for consistency or accuracy.
Keep in mind that IDW’s data doesn’t have any value until it’s been plugged into an application. ElectricSmarts – and other IDEA application partners – help to fulfill that value proposition. Now that the IDW is connected to these estimating systems, contractors can access the same manufacturers, products, and high-quality data that their supply partners find in the IDW. With all members of the supply chain plugged into the same data, conducting business with speed and accuracy is much easier. Distributors are able to sell more of their manufacturers’ products and, by using the manufacturer-supplied IDW information, can more accurately report stock levels. The quotation process becomes streamlined and more efficient, and distributors can foster stronger relationships with customers while increasing business with manufacturers.
Congratulations to IDEA, which has made great strides in addressing two major industry challenges.