February 10, 2015

tED Magazine – Demystifying the IDW


View the article in NAED’s tED Magazine by clicking on the image below. 

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Demystifying the IDW


Demystifying the IDW 

Bad pricing data leads to misquoted bids and lost sales. Bad packaging data incurs extra warehouse expenses. Bad marketing data makes it more difficult to fulfill customers’ needs. In a nutshell: Bad data is costly. 

Through the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), distributors can alleviate errors arising from bad data by accessing standardized product data from manufacturers in one centralized location. Today, more than 4000 distributor branch locations use the IDW to power their business systems, catalogs and web stores. To help distributors better understand the IDW, we asked Mike Wentz, executive vice president of sales and marketing at IDEA: What percent of all electrical distributors are using the IDW, and what is being done to address the concerns of those hesitant to use it? Here is his response: 

When looking at the known dollar volume represented by all NAED distributor members, 65% of those dollars come from members that use the IDW. Despite that significant financial representation, fewer than half of NAED’s total distributor members use the IDW today. Let’s clarify some misconceptions about the IDW that may account for those distributors hesitant to use the IDW:

Myth: The IDW does not have a lot of data.

Reality: The IDW contains more than 2.5 million SKUs from more than 2,000 manufacturer brands, offering transactional, packaging, and marketing content needed to power business systems and web storefronts. With the IDW Catalog Plus subscription level, distributors gain access to even more, including:

  • IDEA-sourced product data for 20,000+ new products in the IDW
  • 70+ of the most frequently used product attributes, normalized for improved searching and consistency
  • Digital content URLs hosted by IDEA to guarantee validity and stability

Myth: The IDW does not have quality data.

Reality: IDEA has several tools/programs to make it easier and more efficient for distributors and manufacturers to work together to enhance data quality, including:  

  • Data Quality Certification Program: Measures manufacturers’ completion of 43 transactional and descriptive product information fields in the IDW that distributors need to conduct business and sell manufacturers’ products, with two quarterly quality checks of completed fields to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Data Quality Reporting Tool: Allows IDW users to report item-level data quality concerns within the system, facilitating direct communication between trading partners about specific pieces of data to enable faster updates and result in cleaner, more accurate data.
  • IDW for Manufacturers Support Program: A support-based services bundle for IDW manufacturers, that provides access to industry-approved eBusiness standards; dedicated monthly support time; and the IDW Analytics Tool, which empowers manufacturers to evaluate the quality of their product data and fix issues at the source.

Myth: The IDW does not have net pricing.

Reality: The IDW has net pricing. Some manufacturers do provide their distributors’ net pricing through the IDW, enabling a distributor to extract that information with their regular data downloads. Otherwise, distributors can send IDEA their net price lists to load into the IDW so the net prices are available for download in their preferred data format. The IDW regularly passes security audits to ensure its hosted data is secure and available only to authorized distributors.

Myth: The IDW hosts only image URLs, not actual images.

Reality: IDEA hosts digital marketing content (including images) based on manufacturer-provided URLs on a separate server. This content is accessible to authorized distributors, providing a stable source for distributors to draw content and populate web stores without worrying about broken URLs.

Myth: It is unclear where IDW data comes from.  

Reality: IDEA is transparent about the source of IDW data. Most data comes directly from manufacturers, although some small gaps in marketing content are filled with outsourced data to enable distributors to complete web storefronts, etc. The source of all IDW data is easily identifiable and available upon extraction, whether provided by IDEA or by the manufacturer directly.

IDEA continues to put processes in place to improve and sustain the completeness and quality of IDW data, so distributors can be confident in the information they access. Using the IDW to combat the issues caused by bad data makes e-business more efficient, accurate, and cost-effective.

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