Got Parts? numbers, that is

Big Data: A new frontier for global exchange in the industrial supply chain

My distribution compadre, Tom Atkins — a sales engineer at xTuple, and I know very well that our customers are always saying “it is all about the item.” In fact, one very smartly delayed their ERP implementation to ensure data synchronization throughout their existing systems first.



A recent online article from Replacement Electrical Parts Company (Repco) located in Marlton, New Jersey, highlights this necessary obsession with numbers by distributors as well as two organizations we follow closely as reliable industry sources: the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA), in Arlington, Virginia, and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), both of whom are collaborating with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and overseas with the European Technical Information Model (ETIM).

If you’ve been around electrical sales for some time, you know that industrial transactions often revolve around one phrase: “Gotta part number?” The answer to this question can close a sale, put it on pause, or send it south. A part number given that is off by just one digit can result in a costly “return to manufacturer authorization" (RMA). This wastes resources up and down the supply chain.

Data standardization initiatives have been streamlining the way manufacturers, representatives, wholesale distributors and exporters market industrial products globally. E-commerce has helped it gain momentum with electrical standards committees. Mutual partnerships like the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA), in Arlington, VA, along with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), are collaborating overseas with the European Technical Information Model (ETIM). ETIM is comprised of a growing number of participating European countries.

They are all focused on the classification of technical data used in wholesale industrial and electrical product distribution. Yet another organization is involved. GS1 is responsible for the allocation of unique numbers — the basis for bar coding and numbering that is ubiquitous on consumer and industry packaging to facilitate inventory management.

Data links in the Supply Chain mean more choices for wholesalers

A common scenario for data standardization arises when cross-referencing one manufacturer's part number to another manufacturer’s part number or to an equivalent private label brand.

A real-world example of where the cross-referencing, or “substitution” of one part for another, can be seen is in choosing a private label brand over an original equipment manufacturer's part. REPCO (Replacement Electrical Parts Company) in Marlton, NJ supplies quality private label electrical contacts that can be “crossed-over” from the OEM. Companies like REPCO offer electrical wholesalers another choice that matches performance while delivering significant cost savings.??

A follow-up article on electrical Big Data will reveal behind the scenes “Gotta part number?” situations that play out every day in the microcosm of the electrical workplace as IT, sales and marketing staffs grapple with the data to deliver exactly what the customer is expecting.

I will be certain to look for that follow-up report!

Photo credit: BBVAtech on Flickr

Stacey Pandeloglou

Account Executive 2012 — 2014

Stacey Pandeloglou has over 35 years of experience providing technology solutions to the wholesale distribution industry. Stacey is an Account Executive with xTuple, which offers a fully-integrated end-to-end software system for companies with sophisticated inventory control needs, enterprise-class functionality specifically for distributors and light manufacturers, without the enterprise-level cost in time or money.