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On the Road to Complete Coverage
IDEA is working to increase quantity and quality within the IDW.
IDEA’s Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) currently hosts more than 2.5 million products from over 2,000 manufacturer brands. Of the 100 largest NEMA member manufacturers in the IDW, nearly all have reported selling the same number of products in the electrical channel as they have loaded into the IDW. However, there remains a number of products that other IDW manufacturers supply to the channel that have not yet been made available through the IDW. IDEA is working to lower that number. This month, Mike Wentz, executive vice president of sales and marketing for IDEA, explains how.
While increasing the number of products in the IDW is a priority, it is important to make sure any increase in quantity is matched by quality. In fact, as the quantity of items in the IDW has increased in recent years, IDEA has seen a subsequent drive in demand for quality.
Further highlighting the need for a cohesive focus, the Data Certification Program was recently developed as the first-ever metric for both quantity and quality, assessing 43 transactional and descriptive product information fields in the IDW that distributors have identified as necessary to do business today.
For a clear roadmap to fill the IDW with more products and better data, IDEA offers:
1. Improved communication. New reporting tools have been developed to facilitate communication between trading partners and provide manufacturers and distributors with more information about the status of IDW data:
- IDW Dashboard. Currently under development, this will give manufacturers the ability to monitor the completeness and quality of their products in the IDW and provide distributors with visibility into the manufacturer lines for which they are authorized. It will also provide easier reporting features from one central location.
- Data Quality Reporting Tool. Distributors can report missing product information or problems found in IDW data. Likewise, manufacturers can report if they see a poor representation of their products in a distributor’s marketing materials or on its website. Such direct communication between trading partners makes it easier to solve issues at the source.
2. Enhanced application. The IDW application itself has undergone enhancements to provide the channel with greater value.
- IDW item status codes: The IDW now offers manufacturers the ability to code items as “C – Configurable” or “M – Made-to-Order.” These item status codes allow manufacturers to send configurable and made-to-order items to the IDW, providing a way to make specialty products available to customers if those products do not have all of the digital marketing content required for regular shelf stock items.
- Connections to contractor estimating systems. The IDW is now connected to the ConEst IntelliBid contractor estimating systems, enabling contractors to utilize high-quality IDW product data in their daily operations, streamlining the quotation process between contractors and distributors, and driving manufacturer brand awareness among contractors and end-users. Additional estimating systems are in the process of integrating with the IDW. This increased reach may ultimately encourage manufacturers to make more of their products available through the IDW to maximize the opportunity to be specified where the demand is created.
- Sourced products. IDEA conducted an audit of distributor stock item lists to determine key products that were missing from the IDW. As a result, more than 20,000 products that had not been in the IDW were sourced and made available to IDW Catalog Plus-level subscribers.
3. Stronger Education. IDEA is working to educate manufacturers and distributors to make business easier and more efficient:
- IDW for Manufacturers Support Program. IDEA now offers manufacturers a support-based services bundle that includes dedicated monthly support time from its Data Management Specialist team. This tailored service can help manufacturers quickly fix any product data errors they uncover in their own data. In addition, one-on-one help from IDEA’s experts teaches manufacturers and sets the stage for a sustainable data process as each adds more products in the future.
- Working with distribution. Manufacturers have expressed interest in learning how distributors use their IDW data, so IDEA is working to educate distributors on the importance of sharing that information with their manufacturers. Moving forward, IDEA will further educate the channel by working with NAED, who has developed educational programs for their members and has pledged to assist IDEA in doing the same.