Ian Smith, Marketing and Support Services Manager at Hager

Following the Electrical Distributors’ Association’s initiative calling for ETIM to be adopted as the industry standard for product data in the UK, Hager has announced that from 1st February 2019, they will be fully deploying ETIM and BMEcat® as their data structure and exchange platform respectively.

In March 2017, in an effort to promote impactful change within the electro-technical sector, the EDA launched its long-term project to help digitise the UK’s electro-technical supply chain by championing ETIM – the long-established standard used in many countries of the world for the creation, management, and exchange of product data.

Expansion opportunity for wholesale distributors

Since launch, the monumental task of adapting the ETIM standard for the UK market has made significant progress. Product experts from EDA manufacturers and wholesalers collaborated in an EDA-led programme of Working Groups to anglicise the standard for the UK. As a result, Hager is one of the first of the larger manufacturers to commit to adopting ETIM for their wholesaler partners. This news is particularly exciting for wholesale distributors who are looking to expand their catalogue and online presence in an easier and more efficient way.

ETIM is a standard for the classification of technical product data that has grown tremendously worldwide over the past 25 years. ETIM owes a great deal of its success to its ability to eliminate the hassle of wholesalers having to manually convert new product data, resulting in businesses saving time and money. This was accomplished by developing a system that removes vagueness and guarantees that all users of the product data are using the same terms to describe attributes and features of each product, regardless of a difference in manufacturer, language and medium.

Customer benefit

Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA CEO and UK strategic lead on the ETIM International General Assembly, further explains the benefits,

“By adopting one standard across the sector, product information can be shared along the supply chain with ease and served up in print and online with minimal work-arounds. Potentially, businesses can save on the technical resources and labour needed to maintain the current mix of data sets and structures. And, ultimately, the end customer will benefit hugely by having access to clear unambiguous technical information.”

“Hager’s commitment is precisely the news we need” says David Lorrison, Head of ETIM-UK at the EDA and technical representative for the UK, “and we hope that other manufacturers follow their lead.”

As one of the first manufacturers to adopt ETIM fully, this decision aligns with Hager’s commitment to prioritise the needs of their wholesale partners, and in doing so fully support the EDA in its efforts.

Step change

Ian Smith, Marketing & Support Services Manager at Hager, (pictured) said

“Our BMEcat®/ETIM approach is a massive step forward in being able to provide extensive data to our wholesaler partners. Gone are the days of numerous excel spread sheets; ETIM represents a big step forward for the industry. At Hager, we are very excited to be at the forefront of the UK development work in conjunction with our colleagues at the EDA.”

In addition to adopting the ETIM classification for technical product information, Hager has implemented the BMEcat® format for data exchange, providing ETIM and other product master data such as descriptions, EAN codes and photographs. The BMEcat® is in an XML format which can be easily opened and formatted in MS Excel to provide access to the full product catalogue.