The ETIM data standard

Co-founded by Proplanet

ETIM is an international data standard that’s used in more than 20 countries. It’s used to classify, structure and describe technical products, especially those in the electrotechnical, HVAC and plumbing industries.

The benefits of using ETIM

Consistency of product information

Supply chain integrity

Increased control over data

Omnichannel marketing

Internationalisation capabilities

The standard for the electrotechnical and plumbing industries

Used by manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and more, ETIM provides a single and true product information record from a single source, to every link in the supply chain. The system was co-founded by Proplanet in the Netherlands, in 1999. Naturally, the ETIM classification is built into the Proplanet PIM, along with several other leading classification models.

The benefits of using ETIM

The specific role of ETIM is to consistently define a product’s technical and performance attributes, so B2B customers can easily find the right items to meet their needs.

Using ETIM avoids ambiguity or confusion when describing the key characteristics of technical products, as everyone using the system will use exactly the same classification structure. This greatly reduces the risk of customers misunderstanding the product information and placing incorrect orders. In turn, this enhances the quality of the customer experience.

When companies use different systems to classify product data, errors and delays can happen at any stage in the supply chain. Information might be missing, incomplete or difficult to understand. These problems are avoided by using ETIM, increasing operational efficiency and preventing time, money and resources being wasted.

By ensuring complete and accurate product data, ETIM gives the manufacturer or end supplier increased control over the information provided. There are no data ‘gaps’ that then need to be filled – potentially wrongly – by wholesale or retail customers. ETIM also increases the chance of products being selected by buyers, as they are easier to find online.

ETIM facilitates multichannel and omnichannel sales strategies by making it faster and easier for customers to find the right products on the distributor’s website or using a search engine. Customers can quickly find products by the desired technical characteristics using search and filter functions, a feature that’s enhanced by ETIM’s ability to recognise synonyms and keywords. And with data from every manufacturer supplied in the same format, distributors don’t need to restructure the information before posting it online.

For manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers exporting or expanding to overseas markets, using ETIM means you only have to classify your products once. The product information can be automatically translated into a range of languages and shared across all countries using the ETIM standard.

The ETIM classification model

The ETIM Data classification model

The product attributes defined within ETIM include specifications such as width, height, colour, voltage, material and so on. These are arranged in the following hierarchy:

1. Product Groups (EG)
2. Product Classes (EC)
3. Synonyms (and Keywords)
4. Features (EF)
5. Values (EV)
6. Units (EU)

Except for synonyms, each level in the hierarchy is represented by an Identifier Code with a different prefix, shown in brackets above. For example, the Product Group Identifier Code for ‘Lamps’ is EG000028 and EV000080 is the Values Identifier Code for the colour blue.

How to get your data ETIM-ready?