October 14, 2009

IDEA Releases the First Electrical Industry Attribute Schema to Standardize Descriptive Product Info

Schema developed and approved by various participants to improve the sales process

IDEA recently released the first Electrical Industry Attribute Schema. This schema provides suppliers with a guide to communicate a standardized set of product descriptors to their trading partners through IDEA’s Data Synchronization Platform (DSP), as an accompaniment to the existing transactional and descriptive marketing data in Industry Data Warehouse (IDW).

The schema is based on the lowest and most detailed product category level of the electrical industry related portion of the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® (UNSPSC®) list. UNSPSC® is an internationally harmonized and standardized code set used to categorize products for reporting and spend analysis.

“This attribute schema is a major muscle movement in the energy to advance eCommerce and stands as an example of the collaborative power of the electrical channel. We should all be appreciative for the leadership of the Standards Committee manufacturer and distributor volunteers, heavily supported by DATAgility, that developed and piloted the schema, and Activant, that quickly enabled the IDW data sync platform to accommodate the data,” said Bob Gaylord, president and CEO, IDEA.

The UNSPSC® field will become mandatory in IDW effective January 1, 2010. The UNSPSC® is the basis for the attribute schema which enables the growth of Internet based commerce. Correct assignment of the UNSPSC® code to products is necessary to effectively use the schema for attribute assignment.

“Bottom line, missing information equals limited or no sales,” said Phil Barrios, Chairman, IDEA Industry Standards Committee and Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing & eBusiness, Hubbell Incorporated.

"Once IDW is populated with detailed product attributes and UNSPSC® codes, distributors can incorporate this sales information into internal search and reporting functions and fuel the need of online commerce information,” said Barrios.

The Standards Committee is developing a “lessons learned” document to assist the industry in populating and using the schema based on insights from a pilot program. IDEA is prepared to assist manufacturers in expediting this initiative to populate the product descriptors in IDW.

DATAgility, partnered with Unilog Content Solutions, assisted with development of the Electrical Industry Attribute Schema that was ultimately approved for implementation channel-wide by the Standards Committee.

The official documents detailing the copyright protected Electrical Industry Attribute Schema are available on the new IDEA Portal (www.myideaportal.net) using the navigation Training>Standards>Product Identification. You are encouraged to contact your account manager for additional details.

Read more about the schema in the Electrical Wholesaling article “Big Schema Things”.