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

IDEA Standards logo

IDEA brings expert volunteer distributors and manufacturers together throughout the year in a collaborative to refine our data model and specifications for the IDEA Connector and IDEA Exchange services. These guidelines, business rules, and standardized product descriptors ensure an industry-approved approach to improve marketing content, product data, and international trade.

Efficient and accurate information sharing

Consistent specifications enable better information sharing among all organizations, which ensures that everyone is speaking the same language.

Developed by eBusiness experts

Dozens of distribution and manufacturing experts volunteer their time to contribute to
updating business standards each year.

Proactive for the Future

As competitive pressures continue to grow, it’s critical to develop and follow business data
and ecommerce standards to support future business opportunities.

Updates released annually

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


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

Bring Your Expertise to the IDEA Connector User Group

eBusiness Standards Developed
Maintained and/or Endorsed by IDEA


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


Warehouse photo


This product attribute specification 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 ExchangeSM and to and from the IDEA ConnectorSM. For more information or to receive a copy of the EDI Pro Standards contact Ilene Bromberg, Ibromberg@idea4industry.com


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


An international model for the standard classification of product data, ETIM enables the efficient exchange of product information throughout the entire ecosystem of the electrical industry.

Read more


Key Partnerships

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.


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.

Sign-up to get the latest IDEA updates.


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