May 20, 2015

IDEA’s NAED National Recap: Connecting with the Channel and its Future Needs

This past weekend, May 16-19, IDEA attended the 2015 NAED National Meeting in Chicago, IL. We loved connecting with our customers, learning the latest from industry members, and – of course – having a good time listening to Total Harmonic Distortion, the official NAED band.

Events like this help to give us a pulse on the electrical channel: we learn what is working (and what is not) with our business initiatives, and then we generate ideas for the year to come.  

What we enjoyed:

1. Speaking with our customers.

“You gain a few insights on industry trends at every session, but there is nothing like the one-on-one experience you get from talking to the customers during the booth sessions,” says Paul Molitor, President & CEO, IDEA. “I key in on the sentences that start with phrases like ‘We need…’, ‘I wish…’, or ‘IDEA should…’.  Because things in the digital world are changing so quickly for our industry, there are always plenty of suggestions.”

2. The panels.

“I particularly liked the distributor panel,” says Mike Wentz, EVP of Sales & Marketing, IDEA.  “It is always valuable to hear industry leaders’ perspectives on the future evolution of electrical distribution.”

What sessions would we like to see next year?

“I would like to see an IDW-focused session about how to utilize the content to be more efficient and profitable,” says Wentz.

“I’d like to see another ‘future of the industry’ panel from the perspective of the purchasers and asset owners: commercial building operators, residential construction giants, and industrial facilities,” says Molitor. “I like to know how industry trends are impacting their purchasing choices and the implications for distributors’ stocking and sales practices. Also, what kinds of data, information, and tools do their designers, architects, and specifiers use to make those decisions?” 

The Data Certification Program:

If you missed it, each of the manufacturer attendees whose companies have committed to achieving IDW compliance through the Data Certification Program wore an orange ribbon to signify their dedication to the program. Manufacturer attendees who have achieved 95%+ IDW compliance were also designated by a green name badge insert.

“Seeing all of the manufacturers proud of their accomplishments was outstanding,” says Wentz.

As of this week, the IDW has over 576,000 SKUs fully attributed and ready for distributor web store catalogs. The Data Certification Program has assisted manufacturers with supplying their trading partners the complete and high-quality product data that is needed to make competitive and profitable eCommerce sites. 

“We’re hearing about other service offerings for distributors that would provide 250k to 300k fully attributed SKUs. We already have almost 600k, and by October we should have over 1.5 million,” says Molitor. “Compliance represents peace of mind to distributors and they are excited to see the additional benefits as we move toward excellence and certification.”

Who we saw: 

What’s next?

NAED has partnered with IDEA to bring the first ever NAED Technology Bootcamp to Chicago this August. IDEA will act as an eCommerce and data resource for attendees, allowing industry members to ask questions and get answers, have face-to-face discussions, and share ideas with each other and IDEA. 

The event runs August 12-13, and will deliver new ways to automate internal business processes, build digital strategy, and create best practices to communicate with customers. If interested, you can learn more on the NAED event page.

We enjoyed our time at NAED National and look forward to the next year of development and growth in the channel!