This piece was originally published in the October 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria, Communication Specialist, IDEA
With the rise of automation and digitization in the electrical industry, companies may use an e-commerce platform in part because it is an increasingly popular business trend and they wish to remain relevant in a changing business landscape. E-commerce, when done correctly, is often the right choice for many companies: instead of hassling with paper catalogs that may or may not be up to date, or relying on manual processing, it can make a shopping experience convenient.
Convenience is a coveted quality in the realm of business and sales. But consistency and quality also matter. It is one thing to take a transaction from paper to the web, but it is quite another to deliver the same experiences that customers have come to know and trust. As technology continues to transform the electrical industry, e-business Standards not only support the convenience that is behind an e-commerce transaction but also provide important markers for safety, consistency, and reliability—all of which are equally if not more important than convenience.
Muhammad Ali, a program manager in NEMA’s Building Infrastructure Division, explains how Standards shape not just the industry, but the economy as a whole.
“Standards in the electrotechnical industry are critical to manage the operation and efficiency of electrical infrastructure in economies. There are mandatory safety Standards that ensure the minimum health and safety requirements of a product. They need to be met before a product could go into the market.”
A company with standardized e-business data will be more profitable and be easier to do business with, as will a company that develops a reputation for selling safe, reliable products that have been effectively tested. Standards are becoming less about companies vying to get a leg up on each other and more about collaboration to make sure everyone gets ahead.
Mary Shaw, director of e-business Standards at IDEA, observed that the attitude toward Standards has changed from combative to cooperative. No longer are companies wary of each other’s use of e-business Standards, believing that e-business Standards will give them a competitive edge—they are working together to make the industry stronger.
“Companies realize that developing data Standards is not something that is meant for just one company but for the industry as a whole. By supporting and implementing Standards, everyone wins, everyone reduces costs, everyone can sell better. By supporting industry-developed Standards, companies can focus their attention on building better products, developing better internal and external processes, building brand loyalty with their customers and also with their staff, making the workplace more efficient, and giving their teams a reason to come to work every day.”
Now is the time for companies to ask themselves how they can get their data up to industry standard before more changes in e-business Standards emerge, such as ETIM’s translation to North American English, which will begin this October. Companies have the opportunity to not only boost sales but also shore up their reputations in the industry.