September 10, 2015

tED Magazine – Plugging into the IDW: Connecting to Contractors

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Plugging into the IDW: Connecting to contractors


Plugging into the IDW: Connecting to Contractors

With all members of the supply chain plugged into the same data, conducting business with speed and accuracy has never been easier. 

Authorized distributors use the product data in IDEA’s Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) to populate their business systems, digital catalog, and web stores; better manage warehousing and logistics; and even facilitate business operations that don’t directly touch products, such as billing and inside sales. Manufacturers use that same clean and complete data within their own systems to assist internal communications and conduct business more smoothly. So while the IDW product data is useful for both manufacturers and distributors alike, it can – and does – go one step further down the supply chain.

The IDW has established connections with several major contractor estimating systems through ElectricSmarts’ NetPak service. If a manufacturer authorizes ElectricSmarts to access its IDW data, a real-time direct feed of manufacturer-supplied IDW product data becomes available through estimating systems used by contractors, specifiers, and others.

This synchronization between the IDW and estimating systems allows contractors to directly access high-quality IDW data and use that information in their daily operations. They are able to perform job estimates that include brand selections with the same complete and up-to-date product and pricing information that distributors and manufacturers are using today. 

Why does this matter? 

Typically, contractor estimating systems come prepopulated with a limited set of products from a narrow choice of manufacturers. This means certain product lines or manufacturers may be missing from the selection pool altogether.

Further, if a contractor needs specific product or pricing information and finds that it is not available within its own estimating system, the contractor may import that data from other sources that have not been confirmed for consistency or accuracy. 

Now that the IDW is connected to these estimating systems via ElectricSmarts, contractors are able to access the same manufacturers and products that their trading partners find in the IDW right in their estimating software. This synchronization means a more efficient, brand-specific bidding process and fewer incorrect price quotations and missing manufacturer product lines.

The IDW’s connection to estimating systems doesn’t just make it easier for contractors to plug in to the IDW: It also allows manufacturers and distributors to directly reach them.

For manufacturers, the link between the IDW and estimating systems raises its visibility down the supply chain, increasing the likelihood that their products will be selected by contractors.

For distributors, using IDW information helps them to more accurately report stock levels and better guarantee product availability to their contractors. The quotation process becomes streamlined and more efficient, and distributors can foster stronger relationships with their customers while simultaneously increasing business with their manufacturers.

IDEA’s Data Certification Program guides manufacturers in providing their trading partners with complete, high-quality transactional data and attributes through the IDW. The IDW’s connection to contractor estimating systems via ElectricSmarts makes it easier for the entire supply chain to access the information necessary to complete orders and win bids.