Enhancing digital data and its use in the UK electrical supply chain

Our first newsletter of 2019 brings you up-to-date with all the ETIM news. As we transition between Phases 2 and 3 or our journey, our round-up looks back of the past year and sets out the short-term and long-term plans.

You’ll find the content of the newsletter below, or you can simply click on the image below and download a PDF if you prefer.

Front cover of the Q1 ETIM-UK Newsletter

ETIM-UK Q1 Update, January 2019

As we transition between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of our ETIM-UK journey we are sending this short round-up to look back at the progress made over the past year and outline our short and long-term plans.

2018 has been a year of dogged foundation building with much progress being 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% of the product classes have been anglicised. However, it is still not totally understood, and we will continue to spread the word throughout 2019.

We were delighted to start 2019 with a press statement from Hager stating their intent to adopt ETIM as their master data standard and BMECat as the protocol for transferring it throughout the sector. It’s a strong sign that we are heading in the right direction and we hope to see many more such statements of intent in the coming months

To start our short ETIM-UK round-up, here is a reminder of the key Phases of our Project Plan which, in time, will lead to the ETIM Classification Model being the standard system for technical product information and at the heart of all manufacturer and wholesalers master data records in our sector.

ETIM-UK Project Phases

Phase 1 (2017): Implementing ETIM team and structure; communication to the market

Phase 2 (2018): Developing the ETIM Standard: Technical Product Information

Phase 2.1: Translate/Anglicise existing Standard

Phase 2.2: Adapting for UK Market – Adding classes and claryfying

Phase 3 (2019): ETIM Management and development with Members – Further refinement and assistance with creation and implementation

Phase 4: Potential Industry products database with ETIM at its heart.

ETIM Standardisation and Anglicisation Working Groups

Almost 50 Working Group Meetings took place last year with over 70 representatives from 50 companies. These were mostly manufacturers, but we also welcomed some wholesalers who have already implemented ETIM in their businesses or are about to do so.

The table below summarises the ETIM product groups that have been tackled and anglicised and subsequently communicated to ETIM International for integration into the model for use.

Product groupings used in the Standardisation process

  •  58 ETIM Product Groups translated, of which 46 are in the process of being made available for use on the ETIM International website
  • 1,447 ETIM Product Classes translated, of which 1,105 are in the process of being made available on the ETIM International website

Some points to note about the Anglicisation Process:

  • All Groupings in Green have already been communicated to ETIM International and uploaded.
  • Groupings in Amber are currently being finalised. (It is worth mentioning here that we had difficulty getting Working Group engagement for some of these product groups.)
  • Some of the Heating and Ventilation classes (Dark Amber) are being reviewed by an international panel and so we must wait for the outcome of their discussions before we tackle them in the UK.
  • IT and Data infrastructure Classes will be tackled in Q1 2019 as will PPE and Workwear, Fixings, Tools and Hand Tools.
  • Classes in white are not of major importance in our sector or are on hold.

In the course of this work it emerged that some important product ranges are unique to the UK, these include steel trunking and pre-assembled consumer units. The EDA is  organising working groups to create these ETIM Classes from scratch.

  • Steel Trunking will be reviewed on 26 February 2019
  • Consumer Units will be reviewed towards the end of February or beginning of March

A final important point to note about the ETIM standard:

  • It is constantly developing;
  • It is our belief that once manufacturers start to classify their products according to the anglicised ETIM standard they will wish to make further changes and tweaks to the translations and may wish to add new products features and attributes that are important 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. Already, 18th Edition amendments will have to be considered.

David Lorrison is the person to contact for all proposed UK amendments.

ETIM-ready audits for EDA members

In addition to the translation and anglicisation work, ETIM-UK continues to provide one-to-one ETIM support across our membership, including our free ETIM-ready audit. This examines your ETIM readiness and gives you advice and information to help you get your product master data in good order. Contact David Lorrison on 07476 733440 for more information.

Over 40 ETIM-ready audits have taken place so far and one of the principal findings is that manufacturers and wholesalers need to create a data strategy and often to invest in a Product Information Management System (PIM). A frequently asked question from manufacturers and wholesalers is how best to collect and store technical product data, and how ‘non-technical’ product information such as images and video can be integrated. The answer is a PIM system.

Product Information Management (PIM) Round-table briefings

To help our members and affiliates find a PIM system that’s simple to install, simple to manage, good value for money, and compatible with ETIM classified data, the EDA has worked closely with provider ProPlanet and its cloud-based solutions.

In October and November, ProPlanet experts Moniek Boelhouwer and Maurice Walravens (below) flew into the UK from their Netherlands HQ to chair two lively and interactive briefing sessions for EDA wholesalers and manufacturers.

Moniek Beolhouwer and Maurice Walravens of Proplanet in the Netherlands

Communication is key – Connecting with the wider industry

A key priority for the EDA throughout this project has been to ensure that the 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 benefit for the industry, and have a say in its development and implementation. To this end, the ETIM Advisory Group, comprising representatives from manufacturers, wholesalers and trade associations including BCA, BEAMA, BESA, LIA, the ECA and SELECT, was formed in late 2017.

2nd Advisory Board meeting, September 2018: Representatives from BEAMA, BCA, BESA, LIA, Philips (now Signify), Venture Lighting, GDHV, BT Cables, Prysmian Cables, CEF, Rexel, Edmundson Electrical, EDA.

The Advisory Board met twice in 2018 and its next meeting is planned for March 2019.

The Advisory Group members also play an Ambassadorial role by ensuring that their organisations are kept up to date with ETIM-UK developments. In 2019, the Wholesaler Buying Group Heads will join the Group.

Other communication vehicles include:

We urge you to follow ETIM-UK on LinkedIn and to visit the ETIM-UK website which contains many useful technical resources and information about ETIM.


There is a view that ETIM is separate from, and competes with, the drive to create data for BIM. ETIM-UK is keen to dispel this misconception. ETIM provides information which should in turn link with the product data standards currently being developed for BIM and indeed many other data pools. ETIM International has already developed an advanced version of ETIM called ETIM-MC (ETIM modelling class) and David Lorrison is currently assessing how this complements BIM work being done by manufacturers.

ETIM-UK also reached out to link with other groups working in the UK digitally built environment:

ETIM International

When the EDA joined ETIM International in 2017, it was the 15th country to join the growing community which included most continental European countries, the USA and Canada. Since then 5 countries have joined and, in early January 2019, we received the news that Portugal and Slovenia were the latest to sign up bring the total number of countries to 20.

David Lorrison represents ETIM-UK on the ETIM International Technical Committee which meets twice every year and governs the development of the Standard. Key developments in 2018 have added value to the classification, and will be introduced in the UK during 2019:

  • ETIM UP: this tool helps manufacturers upgrade their product classification from one ETIM release to the next.
  • Elbridge: a tool to connect the wholesale shops to the industry’s product configurators.
  • ETIM in your pocket: an ETIM classification viewer. Until now the online Classification Management Tool (ETIM CMT) was the only tool to view the released ETIM versions. CMT however is not intended as viewer but as management tool. ETIM In Your Pocket (EIYP) as simple alternative, it is a website optimized for mobile use.
  • BMECat 4: the latest guideline 4.0 is implemented and ETIM 7.0 is supported.
  • ETIM4BIM: a product class with ETIM-MC feature values offers the possibility to generate a manufacturer-specific 3D object. A crucial step for the Building Information Model (BIM).You can get a global perspective and keep in touch with international developments by visiting the ETIM International website. 

Management of the ETIM Standard

In addition to ongoing standardisation work and providing practical support to ETIM-UK members in 2019 we will

  • continued governance and standardisation of the ETIM Classification Model
  • links with Digital Built Britain: BIM, BSDD (working with BEAMA, BESA, CESA, ECA)
  • development of ETIM Modelling Classes
  • working with ERP suppliers and PIM suppliers
  • representation and liaison with ETIM International
  • promoting the use of ETIM in the UK
  • communication to members
  • maintain relevance: continued working with members and affiliates through Special Interest Groups (SIG) as industry develops

Development of an industry database with ETIM at its heart

In its December 2018 meeting, the EDA Management Board gave the green light to carry out a proof of concept (PoC) project during which we will develop a prototype database. This will be similar to databases which are operating successfully in several other countries which have adopted the ETIM standard.

An independent industry expert has been commissioned to carry out this preliminary six-month project and a contract has been signed with ProPlanet as our technology partner.

In early February 2019, we will be contacting a sample of wholesalers and manufacturers to take part in the PoC and also speaking to our trade association contacts to ensure they are informed of our plans.

You can expect to see a lot of communication from us over the next few weeks and months and of course we would welcome your feedback and comments.

For ETIM related queries please contact the EDA Head Office on 020 3141 7350.

If you have any comments or questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Margaret Fitzsimons