February 3, 2016

Data Certification Program – Overview & 2016 Goal

What is the Data Certification Program?

IDEA’s Data Certification Program measures the breadth, depth, and quality of data available in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) at the item level.

Measuring breadth within the Data Certification Program focuses on 43 critical data fields in the IDW. These “critical fields” are sets of transactional, pricing, packaging, and web store information (e.g., brand, packaging, price effective date, etc.) that comprise the minimum data needed by distributors to conduct business and sell manufacturers’ products.

To support IDEA’s goal of increasing the depth, breadth, and quality of the IDW, the Data Certification Program evaluates IDW data using two different metrics: compliance and excellence.

What is “compliance”?

Compliance measures the depth, or completeness, of a manufacturer’s product and pricing data in the IDW. A product is identified as “compliant” if each of its 43 critical data fields is complete and fully attributed.

IDEA previously set a deadline of October 1, 2015 for all of a manufacturer’s new and existing IDW items with a stock indicator code of stock, quick-ship, or non-stock to become compliant. IDW manufacturers rose to the challenge, increasing the number of fully attributed SKUs from 16,000 at the beginning of 2015 to over 1.4 million compliant items today, a number that continues to grow.

What is “excellence”?

Once an item is compliant, the quality of data within its critical fields is measured against the excellence metric, which consists of two quarterly quality checks:

  1. Programmatic – Industry standards and IDEA best practices (a combination of industry standards, best practices, customer feedback, IDEA expertise, etc.) are applied to data at the item level.
  2. Visual – Once 95% of a manufacturer’s items pass the programmatic checks, a representative sample of those items is subjected to a quarterly visual quality review conducted by a team of IDEA’s Data Quality Specialists.

For example, while having a product image is mandatory for an IDW item to achieve compliance, the quality of that image will be assessed during the excellence evaluation. The quality checks will then evaluate whether the image is black and white or in color, whether it’s high resolution or low, whether it’s an image of just one item or a representative image of a group of items, etc.

Though compliance has been the primary focus of IDW users from the launch of the Data Certification Program, it is only the first step of the process. Achieving excellence – the second milestone on the pathway to full data certification – is IDEA’s 2016 goal for IDW manufacturers. 

We would like to congratulate the first manufacturers to achieve programmatic excellence, and who are on their way to full data certification: Allied Moulded Products Inc.; ANAMET Electrical Inc.; Atkore – AFC Cable Systems, Inc.; Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.; DuraGuard Products; Eaton’s Cooper Lighting Business; Eaton’s Cooper Lighting Business Canada; Electri-Flex Company; Hubbell – BURNDY LLC; Milbank; NSI Industries Inc.; Ronk Electrical; Shat-R-Shield; Wheatland Tube Company – Picoma Industries; Wheatland Tube Company – Wheatland Tube Company

An ongoing list of manufacturers who have achieved programmatic excellence will be maintained on the IDEA website.

What comes after a manufacturer achieves “compliance” and “excellence”?

If the entire sample of SKUs selected for the excellence visual check passes, then all of the manufacturer’s eligible items will be considered “certified.” Then, every quarter after the initial certification, the manufacturer’s data will be reevaluated through the same programmatic and visual checks. In case these quarterly checks uncover any deficiencies, IDEA’s Data Quality team and Data Management team will work with the manufacturer to return their data to “certified” quality. 

We would like to congratulate the first IDEA-certified manufacturer: Milbank. An ongoing list of currently certified manufacturers will be maintained on the IDEA website. Further, certified manufacturers will be permitted to display an “IDEA Certified Data Quality” badge on their website and in their product literature.

How can IDW users access data that has been evaluated against compliance and excellence metrics?

Manufacturers and distributors can apply filters when extracting data from the IDW to allow for more selective extractions. Checkboxes are used to either select all of a manufacturer’s data, or specific combinations of data to extract in accordance with the Data Certification Program. Extract filters include the following:

  • Certified – Items that have all critical fields (43) completely populated, and that have passed both programmatic and visual quality checks
  • Compliant – Items that have all critical fields completely populated
  • Not Certified – Items that are eligible** within the Data Certification Program (does not include Certified)
  • Noncompliant – Items that are eligible** within the Data Certification Program but do not have all critical fields completely populated
  • Ineligible** – Items that are not evaluated within the Data Certification Program


If you have any questions or would like more information about the Data Certification Program, please email idwsupport@idea4industry.com, or contact your Data Management Specialist.