The European Federation for the Sanitary and Heating Wholesale Trade (FEST) has launched European Master Data Guideline (EMDG), a new standard for an effective exchange of basic product data between suppliers and wholesalers.

That the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the drive to digitalisation across the construction industry, and therefore the importance of the smooth handling of product data between manufacturer, wholesaler and – ultimately – the installer.

Product master data can roughly be divided into two categories: technical product data and basic data. In the case of the former, the ETIM product classification model is already in place and is the most widely adopted product classification standard in the European market. The UK version of this model, which is being developped under the leadership of the BMF, is nearing implementation.

There was however no common European model for basic data exchange. A single reliable, unambiguous product master data set was required. The European Master Data Guideline (EMDG) aims to fill that gap.

The guildeline were developped by the FEST Technical Expert Group, led by Magnus Sirén of the Finnish wholesaler trade association, Talteka. The primary goal of this expert group was to develop one standard for commercial master data exchange between industry supplier and wholesaler.

The initial work was started by a group consisting of manufacturer, supplier and wholesaler experts from different European countries, many of whom are also associated with the existing data-pool platforms, like the Arge and 2BA.

With this launch, the FEST EMDG 2.0 officially becomes the European Sanitary and HVAC industry standard, with some major pan-European manufacturers having already adopted the EMDG as the basic structure for their products. The model is open source and can easily be adapted to specific national or corporate needs following the guidance.

The FEST Technical Expert Group will continue to be responsible for the future development of the guideline, while ETIM International will handle the hands-on maintenance work.

Johan Stevens, President of FEST, remarked: “FEST sees the need to lead the way in how data is handled and how we transfer data in a structured way. I am proud to announce the launch the FEST EMDG. The European Master Data Guideline was developed together with a broad coalition of industry partners; manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, industry associations, and data pool associations. It’s future maintenance and development is now supported by ETIM International, the leading European organisation”

ETIM’s Technical Director Marc Habets added: “Governance and ‘maintenance’ of any data-pool is crucial for a good working industry standard. I am proud FEST has recognised our long-term experience in maintaining ETIM and therefore considered ETIM International as the execution organisation for its EMDG.”