The unstoppable advance of digitalisation

ETIM: now part of our industry’s vocabulary

2018 was a year of dogged foundation building, with plenty of progress made to adapt the ETIM standard for the UK and raise awareness of it in our sector.

ETIM has gone from being an unknown acronym to a recognised word in the industry vocabulary and 90 per cent of product classes have been anglicised.

In this article, David Lorrison, Head of ETIM-UK at the EDA, gives an update on ETIM progress and explains why spreading the word about the benefits of ETIM to the industry is a key task for the Association in 2019.

Hager backs ETIM

Ian Smith, Marketing and Support Services Manager at Hager

At the start of the year, Hager said it would adopt ETIM as its master data standard and BMECat as the protocol for transferring it throughout the sector. Hager’s UK marketing and support services manager Ian Smith (pictured above) said:

“Our BMEcat/ETIM approach is a massive step forward in being able to provide extensive data to our wholesaler partners.’”

It’s a strong sign that we are heading in the right direction.

Also, we are developing an introductory leaflet to put ETIM in context with the digitalisation of the supply chain and the work being done in our member organisations.

ETIM Advisory Board

A priority for the EDA throughout the ETIM project has been to ensure that industry is on board.

All parties in the electro-technical supply chain must be aware of ETIM-UK’s plans and progress, understand ETIM and its impact and benefits for the industry, and have a say in its development and implementation. To this end, the ETIM Advisory Group – with representatives of manufacturers,wholesalers and trade associations – was formed in late 2017 and met twice in 2018.

In March 2019 we were overwhelmed by growing interest – more than 30 representatives engaged in discussions and updates on recent progress with ETIM:

  • Continued anglicisation: In the course of this work, it emerged that some important product ranges, such as steel trunking and pre-assembled consumer units, are unique to the UK. The EDA is organising working groups to create these ETIM Classes from scratch.
  • Adapting to change: Once manufacturers start to classify their products according to the anglicised ETIM standard, it could be that they wish to make further changes and tweaks to the translations and may want to add new products, features and attributes for the UK market. As new building regulations and standards come into force and new technologies appear on the market, the ETIM classification model will have to adapt.
  • Roundtable discussions: Product Information Management (PIM) system roundtables were arranged to help members and affiliates find a PIM system that’s simple to install and manage, good value for money, and compatible with ETIM classified data.
  • Industry database: One final key topic of conversation was the appetite for and the practicalities of an industry database with ETIM at its heart.

Above: Discussions at the ETIM UK Advisory Board on Wednesday 6 March 2019

This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Taking Stock, the EDA’s quarterly newsletter.