The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) released an open letter to the electrical industry urging all electrical manufacturers to begin providing and maintaining accurate and timely pricing data through the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW).

The letter is endorsed by nine of the nation's largest electrical distributors, including:

Crescent Electric Supply Company, GE Supply, Graybar Electric Company, Inc., Hagemeyer N.A., Hughes Supply, Inc., McNaughton-McKay Electric Company, Rexel, Inc., Sonepar USA and WESCO Distribution, Inc.

"We believe that data today is the most important single thing that can improve the cost structure of distribution in general, and certainly it needs to be supported by all the major distributors and manufacturers. It is the only way we are going to reduce our internal cost structure and be competitive on a world-wide basis," said David Beattie, president & CEO of McNaughton-McKay Electric Company in Madison Heights, Mich.

"IDEA is very important to the electrical industry. We at Graybar are investing a lot of money in technology, and for us to be able to get the most benefit from our money, we really have to be able to get clean data directly from the manufacturers.

The IDW is the central database for that information and most importantly, it would be controlled by the manufacturer rather than being manipulated by other companies," said Robert Reynolds, chairman, president, and CEO of Graybar Electric Co., Inc. in St. Louis, Mo.

Together, these nine companies account for roughly $20 billion of the electrical distribution industry's roughly $80 billion in annual sales. In the letter, the companies urge their manufacturers to "make the necessary long-term commitment" to supplying their data to the IDW.

They reason that "with cleaner product and pricing data being uploaded directly by manufacturers to the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), the average manufacturer can generate an additional $97,000 in profits for every $10 million in sales. Likewise, through the IDW, the average distributor can generate an additional $73,000 in profits."

"Manufacturers should understand that the largest electrical distributors are committed to make full use of the IDW for pricing information. It is the best way to take cost out of the supply chain," said NAED president Thomas Naber.

To participate in the IDW, go to the IDEA Web site at www.idea-inc.org. EC