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What is ETIM?

ETIM is a system for classifying technical products. In addition to the electro-technical sector the classification has been adopted by a range of industries including

  • construction
  • shipbuilding
  • plumbing
  • heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)

Automatic language translations

The ETIM classification lists the most important technical characteristics for any product.

It is multi-lingual (translations for international markets are automatic), supplier neutral and can be served up in print and online.

ETIM is global: to date, the ETIM classification has been adopted across Europe, and in the USA and Canada. Currently, 7 million products use the ETIM standard.

Advantages at a glance

  • Smooth transfer of data through the supply chain to the customer
  • Heightens the information available to the customer, helping them to easily find the products they need
  • Data can be used for multiple purposes without re-keying or reformatting
  • Supports improved customer service
  • Increased efficiency
  • Avoids inconsistencies of data and therefore reduces stock control and ordering errors
  • High levels of automation in processing data results in fewer labour-intensive workarounds
  • Aids stock management

How did ETIM start?

It all started in the Netherlands in the 1990s, where installers had trouble finding products. They recognized that the model they devised as a solution could offer benefits that transcended geographical borders and markets.

ETIM-International was established in 2008. Based in Brussels,  it is the coordinating hub for the global march of the standard.

Which manufacturers are already using ETIM in Europe?

There are 18 major manufactures across Europe who have already committed to the ETIM classification standard:

Why is ETIM important for the supply chain?

There is a mass of product information cascading through the supply chain, from manufacturer to wholesaler and from there through to printed brochures and websites, with no agreed guidelines for what that product information contains.

For example, the information could include a mix of:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Performance
  • Estimating data
  • Part numbers and GTIN codes
  • Commercial info, such as packing units, pricing and discount codes
  • Compliance
  • Marketing: images, video, logos, promotional product descriptions, and so on

The manufacturer needs to supply product information to their wholesaler clients, but there is no sector-wide standard for the content and format of that data. Manufacturers vary hugely in the comprehensiveness of the data they can provide: ranging from the barest pricing information at one end of the scale, through to BIM-enhanced datasheets and 3D objects at the other.

Each wholesaler has to deal with these varying levels of information, turning them into content which can help drive sales.

Is ETIM a database?

No, it is a classification standard first and foremost.

If the UK electrical supply chain adopts the ETIM classification, however, one option to be explored is a central database to manage the UK’s ETIM product data.