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ETIM North America

ETIM was designed for the European market and their data needs and regulations, which are significantly different from US and Canadian needs.


IDEA is an official member of ETIM International, representing the US and Canada. An IDEA-led ETIM Committee was formed to help create a translation/adaptation of the ETIM model to North American English. ETIM was designed for the European market and their data needs and regulations, which are significantly different from US and Canadian needs.

ETIM International strongly supports IDEA’s efforts to translate and identify areas where their model is missing North American product information, regulatory and certification requirements, etc. and then submit requests to have them included in the official model. These requests will inspire the creation of a map between our North American ETIM adaptation, and IDEA’s UNSPSC-based Classification and Marketing Description model (CMD, formerly the Electrical Attribute Schema).

By aligning the ETIM standard with the CMD, IDEA and the ETIM Committee will enable IDW users to trade internationally while still continuing to maintain their data in one centralized location, in one standardized format.

Who is ETIM International?

ETIM International is the non-profit international standardization organization responsible for governing and managing the ETIM Technical Information Model standard (think “IDEA Industry Standards Committee (ISC) of Europe”). The ETIM standard is a technical product classification system used throughout a number of participating European countries and is the European equivalent to IDEA’s Classification and Marketing Descriptor Model (CMD, formerly the Electrical Attribute Schema and based on the United Nations Standard Products and Services Codes (UNSPSC) ®), used in the United States and Canada. Individual country-based ETIM organizations (Federations) also exist to assist in any language/country-specific translations throughout Europe.

Like the CMD, ETIM offers manufacturers a guide for uniformly providing descriptive marketing content to their trading partners. Unlike the CMD, which is a hierarchical taxonomy based on the global UNSPSC® product categorization taxonomy, the ETIM model is arranged according to product parameters. Such parameters make it easier to search for, and find, products. According to ETIM International, these parameters include the following:

  • Product groups – A logical cluster/group of products used to more easily attribute categories/classes but is not used as part of a parametrical search.
  • Product classes – Each product class is used to group and specify similar products using technical product features.
  • Synonyms (Keywords) – Alternative names for a product class, facilitating product searches. Synonyms are language-dependent, so each individual ETIM country organization is responsible for the synonyms in the local language.
  • Features – Descriptive language about a product.  A list of features is uniquely assigned to each product class, and can be numerical, alphanumerical, or range type and then requires a unit of measure and of course logical (Boolean) as well.



Learn More About ETIM ETIM Committee Latest ETIM Version


IDEA’s Involvement with ETIM International

Standardized product data enables manufacturers to consistently capture, store, and distribute their product information through the entire supply chain. As more business is being conducted internationally, however, the power of standardization is often diminished when different markets use different standards.

In order to extend the benefits of data standardization across the Atlantic and support IDEA’s customers who require ETIM, IDEA is working in cooperation with ETIM International to align their two standards and provide a consistent set of product categories and descriptors for North America and Europe.

Once the alignment is complete, manufacturers will have an easier time sharing their marketing content with their US, Canadian, and European-based distributors simultaneously. In addition, IDEA will host, secure, and distribute ETIM data between trading partners, and develop guidelines for the exchange of the product data via IDEA’s Industry Data Warehouse (IDW).