Electrical contractor

It’s time for the UK to adopt the ETIM standard

In this article, David Bate, ETIM-UK Project Manager, talks about why the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) believes the time has come for the entire UK to adopt the ETIM standard and to end the confusion of technical data.

In 16 countries across the world it’s much easier for electrical contractors to compare products before making a purchase than it is in the UK. That’s because across Europe and as far afield as the USA and Canada, they’ve adopted one common standard for serving up high quality and consistent technical product data.

Fortunately, thanks to an initiative by the EDA, the UK’s electrical supply chain could be about to transform its product data.

A confusion of big data

The common standard – known as ETIM – was conceived in the Netherlands in the 1990’s by electrical contractors who were fed up trying to make sense of a mish-mash of technical product information on offer.

The EDA is championing the ETIM standard for the UK (ETIM-UK) and, following an initial launch in March 2017, has been working closely with wholesalers and manufacturers to brief them on the concept and secure buy-in.

Simon Barkes, Managing Director of BEMCO and EDA President explains why the UK needs to adopt ETIM:

“The UK’s manufacturers and distributors have each developed their own standards and structures for capturing and publishing technical product data, whether for their printed catalogues or websites. The result is a confusion of big data which differs hugely in terms of content, format and quality.”

Simon Barkes, EDA President

Simon Barkes, the EDA President

Does what it says on the tin

With millions of electrical products needing to be transformed into the ETIM standard this isn’t going to launch overnight but the EDA is full steam ahead assembling a critical mass of like-minded manufacturers and wholesalers to drive the initiative forward. As Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA Director adds

“We want to help contractors choose the right product, first time, every time. Whether you buy online or direct from the trade counter, at some point in your journey to purchase you’ll research your product options. If the technical information available to you is inconsistent, patchy or even missing, it is quite a challenge.

“Our food industry is a good example of how streamlined data works for the customer. When you want to compare the calories, salt and sugar content before choosing which tin of baked beans to buy, the information is right there on the side of the tin. ETIM-UK will do a similar job for the electrical supply chain.”

Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA Director

Margaret Fitzsimons, the EDA Director

Data feed

For larger electrical contracting firms who need access to accurate technical information within their own estimating systems, importing data direct from multiple wholesalers and manufacturers, all of whom are adhering to an identical ETIM-UK data model, will save time, money and resources.