wholesale industry standards for North America
wholesale industry standards for North America

IDEA Standards logo

With thousands of products being sold every day, you need an agreed upon way of doing business to remain competitive. IDEA brings distributors and manufacturers together in a collaborative process to develop and maintain wholesale industry eBusiness standards for North America.

Efficient and accurate information sharing

Industry eBusiness standards enable better information sharing among all organizations, which ensures that everyone is speaking the same language. This results in comprehensive, consistent information about products, ultimately improving the sales process and removing costly errors so companies are more competitive.

Developed by eBusiness experts

Dozens of distribution and manufacturing experts volunteer their time to contribute to updating eBusiness standards each year. These guidelines, business rules and attributes ensure an industry-approved approach to improved marketing content, product data, and international trade.

Proactive for the Future

As competitive pressures continue to grow, it’s critical to develop and follow eBusiness data and ecommerce standards to support future business opportunities.
The wholesale industry’s needs are always changing. The eBusiness Standards development process empowers companies to share and voice their concerns to each other
while working together to streamline trading partner communication.

Updates released annually

IDEA’s eBusiness Standards updates are released once a year.

Opportunity to contribute

All members of the industry may
participate in any subcommittee
applicable to their expertise;
business and technical knowledge areas.


All of IDEA’s eBusiness standards and guidelines are made available to the industry for consideration and adoption.

Join an eBusinesss Standards Committee

eBusiness Standards Developed
and Maintained by IDEA

The Classification and Marketing
Descriptor Model (CMD)

This category attribute standard is based on the United Nations Standard Products and Services Codes (UNSPSC), a global categorization taxonomy. It enables manufacturers to communicate standardized product descriptors, such as color, voltage, material, etc., to their trading partners through the IDEA Connector.

Warehouse photo

Wholesale Product Attribute Standard

 This product attribute standard is the foundation for the IDEA Connector platform’s format, specifications, and
guidelines, offering a standardized template that defines how product-centric data should be exchanged in the
channel. Formerly called the PDD.

Female typing on a keyboard


A set of industry-specific guidelines based on the ANSI X12 standards for EDI (electronic data interchange), provide a standardized way of automating the exchange of traditional business documents electronically, between trading partners, through the IDEA Exchange and to and from the IDEA Connector.

Boxes on a conveyor belt

Net Price

IDEA has developed four standardized net pricing exchange methods for manufacturers to securely send confidential pricing to their trading partners. Using one of these methods, you reduce the time and money spent on data manipulation and streamline the invoice-to-payment process.

Two contractors shaking hands

ETIM Technical Information Model

This standard is a European-created classification model designed to provide the electro-technical companies in Europe with a standardized way to communicate product descriptors within their channel. IDEA is working with ETIM International to better align the two standards, to extend the benefits of data synchronization to its global customers.

Key Partnerships

ETIM standards global

ETIM International

ETIM International, a not-for-profit organization, formed as a joint effort by European countries to develop and maintain the ETIM classification model. In 2015, IDEA became an official member of ETIM International, representing the US and Canada as ETIM North America, and is developing a North American adaptation of the model for use by our domestic and global customers.

GS1 standards


GS1 is a global organization that develops standards-based solutions for communicating information across the supply chain. IDEA represents the wholesale industry’s needs as a member of GS1 US and a participant on GS1’s global standards committees.

Electro Federation Canada standards


EFC is a not-for-profit association of electrical, electronics and telecommunications manufacturers and distributors in Canada. EFC and their members collaborate with IDEA to incorporate Canada’s unique requirements into the standards.

UNSPSC product standards


The UNSPSC, managed by GS1 US™, is an open, global, multi-sector standard for classifying products and services. IDEA, on behalf of the wholesale industry, is responsible for maintaining the product categories that pertain to our industry’s products.

X12 standards product electrical


X12 is an organization, chartered by the American National Standards Institute, to develop and maintain EDI transaction standards. IDEA represents the wholesale industry’s needs on X12’s Supply Chain committee.


NEMRA is an association of independent manufacturers’ representatives. IDEA provides EDI services to NEMRA through the IDEA Exchange and will be working with them
to align our two Point of Sale transaction standards.

Learn more about the benefits of
IDEA’s eBusiness Standards Initiative

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Access Public eBusiness Standards


Distributors and manufacturers decide together the product standards: values, characteristics and attributes. This enables manufacturers to syndicate product information to the marketplace more efficiently.

Phil Barrios headshot

Phil Barrios

Senior Director, Corporate e-Business & eMarketing, Hubbell Inc. and former Industry Standards Chair

Standards help ensure that the product information we have in our system is clean, accurate and complete, so our sales and customer service representatives aren’t second-guessing the information. This presents a consistent message to our customers and avoids duplication of efforts.

Mike Polansky headshot

Mike Polansky

Director, Planning & Procurement, Graybar and Industry Standards Committee member

IDEA creates a collaborative environment where manufacturers and distributors can voice challenges and develop solutions together. Any company that's not participating in the standards conversation is really missing out.

Stacie Braffet headshot

Stacie Braffet

Former Electronic Commerce Supervisor, IDEAL