ETIM Review

Graphical representation of the ETIM classification standard for technical products

Embarking on an insightful journey into the world of electrical and electronic product classification, this article delves into the significance of ETIM International. ETIM, short for Electro-Technical Information Model, stands as the international classification standard that plays a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and coherence of product information across the industry. In this ETIM review, we unravel the intricacies of what ETIM is and its implications for users, shedding light on the international landscape of product categorization.

As businesses increasingly embrace standardized data systems, the ETIM classification standard emerges as a linchpin, fostering seamless communication and interoperability. This review navigates through the practical aspects of ETIM, elucidating both its benefits and challenges. Whether you’re familiar with the classification standard or exploring it for the first time, this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview, ensuring clarity on how to connect to the ETIM database and optimizing the ease of use for customers. Join us in decoding the language of efficiency and precision with ETIM, the international classification standard.

What is ETIM?

ETIM International is the guardian of the ETIM classification model. We represent ETIM organizations all over the world with one shared objective: a sustainable classification standard for all technical products worldwide.

What is the ETIM classification?

ETIM the international classification standard, 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.

ETIM users

ETIM, the international classification standard, caters to a diverse spectrum of users, fostering a common language for product data across the electrical and electronic industries. Targeting manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, ETIM International ensures a standardized approach to classifying products. Its role as the ETIM classification standard guarantees a harmonized product taxonomy, essential for businesses navigating the complexities of the global market. By embracing ETIM, users engage in an industry-wide effort to streamline data, enhance efficiency, and promote a unified understanding of product information.

As an indispensable tool for those navigating the intricacies of product categorization, ETIM is not confined to a specific sector but extends its benefits across the supply chain. Whether you’re a manufacturer striving for consistent product information or a retailer aiming for an improved customer experience, the international classification standard adapts to various needs. ETIM caters to users by offering a comprehensive solution to the challenges associated with diverse product information management. Its significance as the ETIM classification standard underscores its universal applicability, empowering users to embrace a standardized approach to sharing, interpreting, and utilizing product data across the global landscape.

Ease of use for customers

Ensuring ease of use for customers lies at the core of ETIM’s commitment as the international classification standard. With a focus on creating a standardized and user-friendly system, ETIM International facilitates seamless interactions for manufacturers, distributors, and end-users alike. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that navigating ETIM can be challenging for individuals without a technical background or a deep understanding of technology. The international classification standard, while designed for efficiency, may pose a learning curve for those less versed in technical intricacies.

Despite the potential complexity, ETIM remains an indispensable tool for product data management. Recognizing its role as the ETIM classification standard emphasizes its commitment to global coherence and interoperability. For users with technical expertise, ETIM’s systematic approach ensures a streamlined experience, enhancing the overall efficiency of product information management. It’s a delicate balance—acknowledging the challenges for some users while underscoring the universal benefits of embracing ETIM as the international classification standard for optimized business processes.

How ETIM works 

Delving into the intricacies of ETIM’s functionality reveals a comprehensive understanding of how it facilitates the exchange of product data among users and the ETIM database. The foundation of ETIM-based classification lies in its uniform structuring of data entry and exchange, coupled with precisely factual product information provided by the producer. This dynamic combination ensures an accurate, up-to-date, and complete flow of information across all participants in the supply chain, fostering seamless communication in every direction.

Users actively engage with the ETIM database, where the international classification standard assumes a crucial role in structuring and organizing product data. Whether contributing or retrieving information, the ETIM classification standard establishes a dependable framework, nurturing a shared comprehension of product categories. The collaborative nature of ETIM’s operation cultivates a cohesive environment, solidifying its standing as the international classification standard that streamlines the interchange of product data. This standardized process not only heightens efficiency but also guarantees a harmonized approach, underscoring the pivotal role of ETIM in ensuring a smooth information flow between users and the ETIM database.

ETIM benefits and challenges

The main advantages of using the ETIM model are:

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.

1. Consistency of product information

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.

2. Supply chain integrity

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, which increases operational efficiency and prevents time, money, and resources from being wasted.

3. Increased control over data

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.

4.Omnichannel marketing

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.

5.Internationalisation capabilities

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 biggest challenge with using the ETIM model is that getting the entire industry to use the same standard is a big challenge. Every company has unique processes that can be slow or resistant to change.

How to connect to the ETIM database 

Begin by identifying the suitable ETIM Class for each of your products. This can be achieved by consulting the UK English versions of ETIM Classes through either the ETIM Classification Management Tool (CMT) or ETIM Viewer.

Once the appropriate classes are determined, proceed to assign values to each feature, utilizing guidance from the CMT. While spreadsheets can be employed for this task, it is strongly recommended to consider investing in a Product Information Management (PIM) system. PIM systems come equipped with a built-in facility for seamlessly applying ETIM data to your products, enhancing efficiency and accuracy.

For additional guidance, reach out to your Sector Lead organization, such as the Electrical Distributors’ Association for Electro-technical or the BMF for HVAC & Sanitary and Building Materials. They can provide valuable insights and assistance tailored to your specific sector. Additionally, explore the series of White Papers being published by the EDA, which offer further insights that may prove beneficial to your endeavors.


The article delves into the essential features of the Electro-Technical Information Model (ETIM), positioning it as a pivotal international standard in the management of electrical and electronic product data. A cornerstone of ETIM lies in its commitment to establishing a standardized framework, streamlining communication, and reducing errors during data exchange. Notably, the standard’s adaptability to various digital platforms and its positive impact on customer experiences highlight its relevance in the contemporary business landscape.

While extolling the advantages, the article candidly discusses the challenges inherent in the adoption of ETIM. Universal industry acceptance, integration with existing workflows, and the ongoing need for training and education emerge as crucial hurdles. The article underscores that organizations embracing ETIM stand to gain a competitive edge by navigating these challenges and leveraging the standard’s long-term benefits in an ever-evolving marketplace.