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November 30, 2012

Big Data Part 2: Racing toward Taxonomy proficiency

Earlier this month REPCO (Replacement Electrical Parts Company) published an article on the recent global partnerships among organizations taking on the task of "normalizing" data that supports e-commerce between industrial equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the United States and abroad. This is being made possible by IDEA, NEMA, NAED, GS1 and ETIM (see News: "Big Data in Electrical Supply Chain").
The Electrical Distributor magazine (TED) has announced a "Platinum Band of Excellence Manufacturers". These manufacturers are being recognized by IDEA, the keeper of the Industry Data Warehouse, for their achievements in taming unwieldy data. According to IDEA chairman, Steve Sokolow, the marketing content in IDEA’s Industrial Data Warehouse (IDW) has "more than tripled". These manufacturers provide comprehensive marketing content that helps distributors take their products to market. The science of defining, naming and categorizing these millions of parts is commonly referred to as industrial taxonomy.
?More than just numbers and letters in a part number, the data is the glue that links SKUs to images, schematics, data sheets, product descriptions and attributes. Successful e-commerce strategies include manipulating the data for logical presentation in web commerce applications, making it easier for search engines to index the information and return the supplier’s products to customers’ search engine results.
Smaller organizations can often move faster, bringing Marketing, IT and sales groups together to strategize on how to make use of Commodity Codes, UPC Codes and NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturer Codes (NEMA) within their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Organizational efficiencies are gained when sales teams access data and pricing to develop detailed quotes including thorough product descriptions, pricing discounts and even product images. Marketing departments use the robust information to promote products with literature through online and offline (e.g. catalogs) channels.
Replacement electrical contacts for motor controls provide a good illustration of competitive situations where Big Data is leveling the playing field among companies big and small. Companies like REPCO manufacture electrical contacts and carbon brushes which are cross-referenced against manufacturers’ parts.?
The continuing challenge is to educate customers about the reliability and value of quality replacement part alternatives. Thanks to advances in industrial taxonomy, that task is making the comparison much clearer.

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