August 29, 2016

IDEA Tip of the Week: Exemptions

When the 43 critical fields within the Data Certification Program were identified, IDEA realized that not all attributes were relevant, and that there may be external factors that inhibit a manufacturer from being able to provide accurate realistic data.

Some of the 43 critical fields may be exempt from the compliance and excellence requirements if:
a) the item is indicated as non-stock,
b) is a repair/replacement item, or
c) is a non-price maintained item.

The “exemption” status allows the manufacturer to leave those fields blank; however, if the field is populated, then all of the excellence rules are applied and must be met for the item to achieve programmatic excellence.

To access the notations of all exempted fields, log into the IDW and navigate to the Data Certification landing page, where you can click on the “Guidelines” button in the upper right-hand corner to download. This document contains the list of exempted fields.

What are exemptions?

Items in the IDW that are classified as non-stock (stock indicator code = N) and/or as repair-replacement parts (Item status code = J) are not required to have all of the 43 critical fields populated, as indicated in the chart below. Additionally, items that are not price maintained (item status code = K) cannot have the price fields populated. These items will be considered compliant and/or programmatically excellent if all of the remaining critical fields are populated.

Why are there exemptions?

Manufacturers may not maintain marketing content (e.g., images, spec sheets, etc.) or standard pricing for small repair or replacement parts, such as a bag of fasteners or mounting feet for an enclosure. Similarly, they may not have packaging data for non-stock items, because they do not produce the product until they have a purchase order. Also, by its nature, a K status item (not price maintained) cannot have pricing data. These items are typically products that are very price sensitive, due to their raw materials (think copper wiring).

How are exemptions determined?

The exemptions were originally discussed and decided upon by IDEA Board members when they implemented the 43 critical fields initiative. At that time, some Board members were concerned that the critical fields initiative would force manufacturers to create content for the sake of meeting the compliance goal (all 43 fields populated), even if that content was not expected or needed in the channel.

Why will the exemptions for non-stock items be removed in 2017?

Distributors have stated that their idea of a stock item may be different from the manufacturer’s, and they maintain that marketing content and packaging data is needed for them to properly present all of their products on their webstore, as well as have the data to automatically receive and put away shipments. Non-stock items are not a one-time production or a specially configured item, so it stands to reason that a manufacturer should have the specs and marketing content for the item, as they will manufacture the part as needed. IDEA understands the distributor need for all critical fields to be populated on non-stock items, and will remove the exemptions in 2017. We are giving manufacturers advance warning so they can prepare and begin to gather the necessary content for their non-stock items before the exemption is removed.

Lifting the exemptions for repair-replacement items (status code J) has not been considered at this time. Although the content is highly desired, the case has not been made to require an image or spec sheet for a repair bag of screws or a terminal cover. Repair/replacement items are generally not stocked by the distributor and are ordered on an “as needed” basis.

K status items (not price maintained) cannot have pricing data, but can be considered for certification if all of the remaining critical fields are populated.

How are exemptions relevant to the Data Certification Program?

The Data Certification Program calls for all 43 fields to be populated with verifiable, high quality data. If an exempted field is not populated, the item cannot be considered for certification. However, if an exempt field is populated, then all of the excellence rules and visual checks for certification are applied.