Last week, IDEA attended Electro Federation Canada’s annual Electrical Channel Conference in Banff, AB. Apart from enjoying the scenery and golf tournament, we valued the opportunity to connect with Canadian electrical industry members and learn more about your business needs.
Speaking with attendees, we heard concerns that IDEA’s Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) is a US-centric product, only providing value to the American channel. In addition, there were requests for metric product specifications, Canadian pricing information, and Canada-specific items from US manufacturers. Furthermore, the addition of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and Buy American Act (BAA) to the Data Certification Program’s required critical data fields have extended the perception that IDEA’s focus is primarily US domestic.
IDEA recognizes that there is room for improvement and has already been working toward doing just that.
For example, the Data Certification Program, launched by IDEA in October of 2014, seeks to bring channel members complete, high-quality product information provided directly by manufacturer trading partners. The program includes two quality checks: one programmatic, and the other conducted quarterly by a team of dedicated data quality analysts who work with manufacturers to ensure the IDW can provide robust, high-quality data to customers. Manufacturers have populated 600,000 SKUs to-date with 41 other product attributes (e.g. spec sheets, marketing images, brand, packaging information, etc.), and that number is expected to grow to 1.5 million SKUs by October 1 of this year. With the exception of the two aforementioned American-specific field requirements, the population and quality control of these 40+ product attribute fields should have an equal level of utility to both US and Canadian markets.
IDEA President & CEO, Paul Molitor plans to work with members of the Canadian electrical channel to create a strategy moving forward for Canadian customers.
“In the spirit of cooperation that began in Banff, we are now working to schedule a couple of meetings with those in the electrical channel who are interested in the IDW,” said Molitor. “Over the coming weeks, we will be in contact with Canadian industry associations and marketing groups to help us collect suggestions for ways in which IDEA can provide greater value.“
IDEA plans to release new IDW features and functionality by 2017, providing further opportunity for Canadian customers to help define what new components the product refresh will include.
“We are just beginning the process to define the features for a next-generation IDW that we intend to start building in 2016,” said Molitor. “Now is the perfect time, and we welcome the opportunity to get [the Canadian channel’s] input firsthand.”
The meetings are expected to occur sometime in late June or early July 2015. If you would like more information or to provide input, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at +1 (703) 562-4600.