January 21, 2009

IDEA Standards Committee Enhancements

The IDEA Standards Committee (ISC) recently announced changes to its business unit. This will include a revised and restructured ISC and sub-committees, new communications and logistics, and top priorities to create an industry attribute schema standard.

The ISC made some significant strides in fall 2008, beginning with the transition to a new Chairman, Phil Barrios, Hubbell Incorporated, and Vice‐Chairman, Tammy Paters, Werner Electric Supply. The IDEA Board of Directors completed a new Strategic Plan, positioning the IDEA Standards Committee as a formal “Business Unit”.

The committee’s first undertaking was to reassess the structure and effectiveness of the ISC to enable more efficient and timely development of standards and guidelines. The challenges of an economic recession underscored the need to use industry volunteers as efficiently as possible. For 2009, the following changes have been made to reshape the new business unit structure and support the revised ISC approach to standards and guideline development:

Revised ISC Charter

  • Definitions of committee purpose and structure
  • Required volunteer commitment levels and responsibilities
  • Clearer voting rules, project reporting and accountability

Consolidated Sub‐Committees (restructure)

Three process focused sub‐committees with job specific work teams

  • Data Content & Quality: IDW/PDD, White Papers & Best Practices
  • B2B Communications: EDI, EDIFACT, XML
  • Product Information: Product Codes (UNSPSC), Product Identification

Logistics and Communications

  • Consolidated physical meetings (face‐to‐face)
  • Added self‐registration to allow committee/sub‐committee sign-up, participation commitment level and contact information
  • Updated ISC email distribution list for active participants
  • Launched quarterly ISC newsletter to keep the industry informed of activities & results
  • New standards request form – all requests for development will need to be submitted to the ISC for review

Top Priorities Moving Forward

Develop an industry attribute schema standard

  • Provides manufacturers with a standardized list of attributes (name and value structure) for populating IDW for use by the distributor community
  • Enables distributors to know what attributes they can expect from suppliers
  • Based on the lowest level product categories of the current UNSPSC code

The ISC, with support from the IDEA Board, opted to fast‐track development and contracted a third party company to provide a consolidated schema template. The Product Code work team will finalize and submit those changes for the next release of the UNSPSC, in spring, 2009 (the IDEA ISC maintenance of the electrical industry product categories of the UNSPSC is an on‐going process, started in 2004). Once approved, the schema will be incorporated into the IDW Product Descriptor (PDD) standards for industry use. The population of the UNSPSC field will be mandatory in IDW effective January 1, 2010.

The focus and goal of the ISC and its sub-committees is to benefit the electrical industry with cost savings through standardization and automation. Participation in the ISC is open to anyone in the industry who wants to be part of a team that truly wants to help the industry cut costs out of the supply chain through eCommerce standardization. If you are interested in becoming a committee member or would like additional information, please complete the standards registration form.

Join a committee now!

If you have any questions regarding the IDEA Standards Committee and/or its standards and guidelines development, please contact Mary Shaw, Standards Director.

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