August 31, 2016

Demystifying the IDW: The 43 Critical Fields and Beyond

In today’s era of digital business and electronic communication, IDEA’s Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) helps electrical manufacturers to manage their product information and automate its delivery to their trading partners. Building up their IDW product profile allows manufacturers to control the way their products are represented online, which is essential for growing sales, meeting their trading partners’ and end users’ expectations, and maintaining their brand’s integrity throughout the supply chain. In order to effectively use the IDW to succeed in the digital marketplace, it is important to understand the full capacity of the platform.

One of the common questions the IDEA team receives is about the kinds of product information that can be stored in the IDW. Over the last few years, the industry’s focus has been primarily on the 43 critical data fields within the IDW – the fields housing basic “must-have” data, e.g., size, weight, spec sheets, etc. These fields were identified as most crucial for distributors to conduct business and sell the manufacturers’ products.

The 43 critical fields contain vital transactional, marketing, and packaging information about each product and represent the foundation of successful eCommerce and efficient online brand management. However, they by no means represent the full extent of the IDW’s capabilities. In actuality, the IDW has more than 350 data fields available for manufacturers to populate. Manufacturers can take advantage of this flexibility and significant real estate to provide more in-depth information, differentiate their brand, and showcase their products as they see fit.

For example, a manufacturer may have provided a basic product image, one of the required 43 critical fields. But the IDW offers nine additional image fields (beyond the 43 critical fields) that can house multiple views of the product, such as top view, side view, 3D view, etc. The manufacturer may then choose to supplement the basic image with more visual content, providing a more detailed demonstration of their product’s characteristics for their distributors to access. In a different scenario, if a manufacturer sells their products abroad, they can use the “Certification Agency/Number” field in the IDW to share their product ECCN – a code required by the U.S. Department of Commerce for commercial export controls – with their authorized distributors.

With over 5,000 distributor locations using the IDW to power their business systems, catalogs, and web stores, we encourage manufacturers to leverage the full power of the IDW’s 350+ data fields – 43 critical fields and beyond – and equip their trading partners with information that will allow them to consistently promote their brand in the best light possible.

If you have any questions about the IDW, or would like to consult with IDEA’s Data Management Specialists, please contact