ETIM International’s Foundation

Our history starts in 1991, the year in which the Dutch electrical installers association initiated the ETIM project. At the time, ETIM was developed as a general information model to support the (digital) business processes of installation companies. However, since uniform communication on product data throughout all business processes as well as the entire supply chain was considered crucial, the model soon revolved around product classification for technical products. When we talk about ETIM today, it’s exactly this product classification model we’re referring to.

Rapid Upscaling

Wholesalers soon followed suit and joined the installers in the ETIM project. The formal participation and support of manufacturers took a bit longer, but by 2006 the complete supply chain was involved. What’s more, in 1998 the HVAC and sanitary sector in the Netherlands started working with and on ETIM, followed by the shipbuilding sector in 2009 and the general building sector in 2014.

International Expansion

Come 1999, we first expanded internationally with the foundation of ETIM Germany. When it became clear in 2005 that ETIM version 3.0 could indeed support a frictionless product data exchange between different countries, we started looking for further international expansion. This led to an informal international ‘community of interests’ in 2006, in which six members united. Only two years later, these same members founded the international association ETIM International. In 2020, the ETIM community welcomed our 22nd member country organization.

Ever Developing

ETIM is not only growing geographically and in sectors, our scope is also expanding. Once a classification model with ‘selective features’ to easily find the proper product for your application, we now aim to support full product information exchange in BIM projects by means of our ETIM MC (Modelling Classes) and our integration in buildingSMART Data Dictionary.

To North America… and Beyond!

More than 20 national and regional ETIM organizations now exist to support their communities’ members and translate the model into their country’s language. ETIM North America was first introduced in 2015, becoming the 13th ETIM member organization, representing the U.S., Canada and Mexico. ETIM NA was hosted by Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA), the chief technology and standards provider of the U.S. electrical industry (a joint venture of NAED and NEMA), until 2019.

Adoption and use of ETIM standards in North America has admittedly lagged due to a limited focus and sporadic efforts to adopt UNSPNC-based standards. However, as global business dynamics and e-commerce initiatives have accelerated, ETIM is becoming increasingly recognized as the global standard.

In early 2020, a new dedicated ETIM North America association was established to revitalize the community and re-energize efforts to promote the ETIM model and standards, now essential in the global market. As a founding member of the new association, DDS (Distributor Data Solutions)—the leading provider of e-commerce product content to the global wholesale distribution industry—has taken the lead in spearheading an active community empowered by a diverse manufacturer, distributor, manufacturer representation and technology provider membership.

Membership in ETIM North America is open to all companies and associations in ETIM’s focused industries. Click here for more information on ETIM North America, or to inquire about membership.