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Dec. 1, 2003
Bad data continues to plague the electrical industry, costing electrical businesses lost revenue and profits because of incomplete or inaccurate product

Bad data continues to plague the electrical industry, costing electrical businesses lost revenue and profits because of incomplete or inaccurate product descriptions, pricing and other information.

The Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA), Rosslyn, Va., estimates data errors cost the industry $1.2 billion annually, and that if electrical businesses synchronized their data properly through the IDW, it could add 1 percent and 0.75 percent to the bottom lines of manufacturers and distributors, respectively.

To help electrical manufacturers and electrical distributors feed more accurate data into its Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), IDEA recently began offering member companies a new tool to clean up their data with the Data Audit and Certification (DAC) program.

Manufacturers that provide product and pricing data directly to IDEA's IDW will have their business data rated against a specification developed by IDEA and Profile Systems, Springfield, Mass., the DAC service provider, along with recommendations from manufacturer and distributor customers.

Each manufacturer will receive a post-audit report that indicates data errors, mismatches, and missing or incomplete fields with instructions and timelines for correcting and updating the data. After the manufacturer makes the necessary corrections to its data, a verification audit will be performed. The manufacturer's data will be certified to Level 1, 2 or 3. Level 3 represents the highest certification rating.

The data audit and certification process will be completed in March and October each year, with the first audit being completed this month. The overall results of each manufacturer's audit will be made public via IDEA's Web site and the IDW administrative Web site.

“Data is the engine that drives today's businesses,” stated Mike Rioux, IDEA president. “Without this program, it has been an uphill battle getting data synchronized. The return on investment for participating in the DAC program exceeds the cost of having their data reviewed by Profile Systems by a factor of 150.”

IDEA decided an audit program was necessary when a 2003 pilot program it sponsored between 10 manufacturers and eight distributors showed only 5 percent of the data matched identically on four of the most basic data elements (UPC, catalog, description, and pricing).

About the Author

Jim Lucy | Editor-in-Chief of Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing

Jim Lucy has been wandering through the electrical market for more than 40 years, most of the time as an editor for Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing newsletter, and as a contributing writer for EC&M magazine During that time he and the editorial team for the publications have won numerous national awards for their coverage of the electrical business. He showed an early interest in electricity, when as a youth he had an idea for a hot dog cooker. Unfortunately, the first crude prototype malfunctioned and the arc nearly blew him out of his parents' basement.

Before becoming an editor for Electrical Wholesaling  and Electrical Marketing, he earned a BA degree in journalism and a MA in communications from Glassboro State College, Glassboro, NJ., which is formerly best known as the site of the 1967 summit meeting between President Lyndon Johnson and Russian Premier Aleksei Nikolayevich Kosygin, and now best known as the New Jersey state college that changed its name in 1992 to Rowan University because of a generous $100 million donation by N.J. zillionaire industrialist Henry Rowan. Jim is a Brooklyn-born Jersey Guy happily transplanted with his wife and three sons in the fertile plains of Kansas for the past 30 years. 

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