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ETIM International is the governing body responsible for the development and expansion of the ETIM classification. Now I think I can guess your next question.

What is the ETIM Classification?

ETIM is an international classification template, which stores product information in the same format for manufacturers, contractors and wholesalers. Basically, it's making sure different manufacturers' data is all laid out the same way, so it's easier for everyone further down the supply chain to understand and reduces the chances of a mistake or miscommunication.

Product information comes in many forms, including pdf, csv, and xlsx files. ETIM is about converting all of that into a single format, so moving information between various stages of the supply chain becomes much quicker and easier.

The abbreviation ETIM stands for European Technical Information Model, but it's rapidly becoming a worldwide standard, now used in 21 different countries including the USA, Germany, France and the UK.

What are the benefits of ETIM?

Companies at all stages of the supply chain benefit from the ETIM layout in many different ways.

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Let's tackle those individually:

  • Reduced mistake costs - Every time the wrong data gets into the customer's hands it can cost money, through having to offer compensatory discounts or loss of custom altogether. The ETIM classification provides a simple format for all data, eliminating the possibility of mistakes.
  • Increased efficiency - Data being laid out in the same template inevitably reduces the amount of time people will spend sorting through information.
  • Improved logistics - With a single template and structure for all data across an industry, it becomes far easier to improve your stock management and move things around.
  • Better information to customers - The ETIM template is extremely detailed and informative for potential customers. High-quality data with the ability to answer any questions they might have before purchasing and lead to happier customers!
  • Uniform information flow - Data shared across manufacturers, retailers and contractors are all in the same format, a luxury which has never been experienced previously.
  • Multi-lingual translations - The template can be instantly translated into 17 different languages. International trade has never been easier.
  • Compliance with regulation - More complex products require certain information to be alongside to meet legal requirements. The ETIM template ensures that is always the case.
  • Marketing tool - Good quality, uniform data can become a real USP for a company, worth bragging about to potential customers!

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Who is ETIM important to?

ETIM is important to everyone in a product's supply chain, so that's manufacturers, wholesalers, contractors, retailers, architects and specifiers. Implementation of it helps them all in some way or another.

Certain industries are embracing the classification more than others at the moment. These are the sectors currently listed within the tool:

  • Building materials
  • Electrotechnical
  • Shipbuilding
  • HVAC and plumbing
  • Tools, hardware and site supplies

How are products organised in ETIM?

There are six different aspects of the ETIM template which are used to carry data and distinguish between products. More details can be found on the ETIM International website, but I have outlined the core details below:

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What does the future hold for ETIM?

The ETIM International classification has grown rapidly in the countries and industries listed above over the last few years. Marc Habets, Technical Director at the organisation tells me that hasn't surprised him.

"Where companies could distinguish themselves in the past with good quality product data as added value, data availability is now a must. In this online era, no data means no sales."

So quick the growth has been over recent years, the goal over the next 12 months for ETIM International is one of consolidation.

"We have no specific growth target. In our roadmap for the next year, we are actually focusing on consolidation first before actively searching for further expansion"

But don't be fooled, ETIM has plans to become a truly global standard in the years to come, with aims to add more countries and more industries into the data classification to really energise sectors as we head deeper into the digital age.

For more information about ETIM International and the classification tool, visit their website.