Electrical Industry Dictionary

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Access Control
Any means of limiting access to IT assets–both physical assets and information assets–by regulating who can reach them.

Access Control

Any means of limiting access to IT assets---both physical assets and information---by regulating who can reach them.

NOTE: Access control encompasses policies, physical access to data centers and computing equipment, user access to company provided hardware, user electronic access to software, user electronic access to information contained on company computing equipment, data sharing, etc.


Tag added in the HTML code behind an image on a web page. This tag is used to hold text that fulfills the same function as the image. 

Note: ALT Tags are used for many reasons, including: (1) Some web browsers cannot display images at all or only a restricted set of type of images. Most of these browsers will display this ALT text instead; (2) Accessibility: Some site visitors cannot see images due to blindness (or color blindness) and the accessibility software will read text on site pages, but cannot read and convey meaning behind images; and most importantly, (3) Search engine bots use ALT Tags to read your web page so using text that is relevant to the image content can improve the page ranking.

American Home Lighting Institute, or AHLI
Training/marketing to assist distributors with the residential lighting market.

American Lighting Association, or ALA
Trade Association for manufacturers and distributor of residential products in the USA and Canada.

American National Standards Institute, or ANSI
A combination of technical associations and consumer and professional groups that create standards for multiple industries.

Acronym for Average Page Load Time. See definition of Load Time.

Shorthand for Application. Generally refers to software for mobile devices.

Automated Clearing House, or ACH
Secure payment transfer system that connects all U.S. financial institutions. The ACH network acts as the central clearing facility for all electronic fund transfer (EFT) transactions that occur nationwide, representing a crucial link in the national banking system.

Average Inventory
Average of the inventory within the rolling 12 months.

Average Number of Shipments per Order
The number of shipments required to complete an order.


Banner Ad
A graphic message people can interact with by clicking on the image and following the link.

Basic ERP System Expenses

Those expenditures your company made in order to provide and maintain a business system to buy, sell, inventory, and account for products, including all hardware, software, licensing fees, maintenance, fully-loaded employees, contract employees, consultants, managed service providers, etc.

Note: For purposes of this survey, a basic ERP system does not include ERP “bolt-ons” such as Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), etc.

The use of fingerprints, iris scans, voice recognition, etc. for user identification.

Personal online journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. Businesses can use blogs to complement a website, increase brand advertising, display expertise and for social marketing.

Boolean Search
Search that uses the operators AND, OR, NOT, or NEAR to limit or widen a search.

Bounce Rates
Percentage of visits where a visitor enters and exits your website on the same page without visiting any other pages on the site in between.


Navigation aids used in websites and other user interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents, i.e.: Target> home >home improvement >flashlights and worklights.

Brute force attacks
Computerized decryption trying every possible combination of numbers, letters, and special characters until a password is discovered.

Business Alignment
Shared vision, mutual concern and long-term relationship focus that is communicated organization-wide.

Business Case
A decision-making process to determine how a specific decision will affect profitability, and how cash flow, costs and revenue will change.


Canadian Standards Association, or CSA
A not-for-profit group that agrees on standards recognized by consumers.

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS
Used to format the layout of web pages. Cascading style sheets can be used to define text styles, table sizes, and other aspects of web pages that previously could only be defined in a web page’s HTML code.

Certified Ballast Manufacturers Association, or CBMA
Manufacturers that agree on standards, such as noise levels, for ballasts.

Click-through rate, or CTR

Percentage of people exposed to an online advertisement who physically click on the banner ad.

Cloud-based computing
A means for companies to gain access to secure, shared, standard computing resources on-demand over the Internet.

Column Pricing
A pricing structure that can be distributor cost and/or suggested resale pricing that have had a multiplier or discount percentage applied based on incremental price break quantities; broken versus standard carton, from standard price to best price.


Company vision and plans communicated from the top of the organization to the bottom. Channel partners are readily open and responsive to suggestions, influences, appeals and efforts.

Computer Security Incident Response Plan (CSIRP)
An overall plan to detect and respond to information security incidents by characterizing incidents (“what” is happening), defining the roles and responsibilities of participants (“who” does “what” “when” if “this” happens), and outlining reporting requirements.

Contextual Link
Link in which the clickable text is made up of a keyword phrase to link to another page within a website or even an external link.
Note: Search engines rank web pages higher for contextual links compared to “click here” style links.

Custom Content
Personalization of content and marketing messages based on a user’s preferences or prior behavior.
Custom Development Expenses
Those expenditures your company made for the custom development of mobile apps, reports, software, websites, etc.

Protection of digital business information against theft and misuse.


Department of Energy, or DOE

The federal agency charged with ensuring the continuation of national, economic and energy security of the United States. Smart grid stimulus and demonstration project grants are administered by DOEI.

Digital Access Cards

Similar to a credit card, a digital access card is “swiped” by a card reader allowing a user to access authorized applications without manually entering a user name and password. 

Digital Assets
Information contained on, or accessible through, Physical IT Assets. Examples of digital assets include company information including financials, pricing, products, website, etc.; customer Information; employee information; supplier information; and company approved Operating Systems (OS) and software.

Direct Ship SPA Cost
The SPA cost to the distributor on an order shipped directly from the manufacturer to the end-customer.
Note: The direct ship SPA cost may differ from the SPA cost for material shipped to the distributor’s stock. This is often due to the manufacturer’s shipping & handling charges.

Direct Ship Quote or Sale
Manufacturer ships an order directly to the end-customer.

Direct Shipments
Distributor cost of the material sold to customers on shipments direct from the manufacturer.

Discount Multiplier
Number used to multiply against a pricing column on a designated distributor cost sheet or suggested resale price to determine net distributor cost.
Note: A multiplier can be used to communicate pricing on any type of quotation (i.e. SPA, Distributor’s Into Stock Purchase Cost Schedule, etc.), and is applied per a specific manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines. Multipliers can be applied to an individual item, vendor product groups, or an entire product offering. Multipliers can be applied to a variety of price sheets or pricing columns (i.e. published distributor cost, manufacturer’s suggested resale price, or column pricing).
In a SPA example:
1. Assume suggested resale is $100.00
2. Assume SPA discount multiplier is .70
3. SPA Cost = $100.00 x .70 = $70.00
If the manufacturer’s discount multiplier on manufacturer’s suggested resale price or column pricing is known and the distributor wants to determine the discount percentage to put on a specified manufacturer’s suggested resale price, column pricing, or price sheet, all that has to be done is subtract the discount from 1.00 and multiply by 100.
Discount percentage = 1 - .70 = .30 x 100 = 30%.

Discount Percentage
The discount percentage supplied by the manufacturer to be applied to a designated distributor cost sheet, or suggested resale price, to determine net distributor cost.
Note: The discount percentage can be used to communicate pricing on any type of quotation (i.e. an SPA, Distributor’s Into Stock Purchase Price schedule, etc.), and is applied per a specific manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines. Multipliers can be applied to an individual item, vendor product group, or an entire product offering.
In a SPA example:
1. Assume suggested resale is $100.00
2. Assume SPA discount percentage is 30%, so SPA Cost = 100 - (100x.30) = $70.00
If the manufacturer’s discount percentage is known and the distributor wants to determine the multiplier to put on manufacturer’s suggested resale price, specified column pricing, or price sheet, all that has to be done is subtract the discount from 1.00.
Discount multiplier = 1 - .30 = .70

Discretionary Business
Business where the distributor has a choice of vendors.

Distributor Cost
The amount the distributor actually pays for the product, i.e., the price on the manufacturer’s invoice to the distributor less deductions for SPAs and other allowances.
Example: The amount on Manufacturer Z’s invoice for 100 widgets is $80 (the distributor’s regular in to stock cost). However, 10 widgets are subject to a $20 rebate on a SPA. The distributor’s actual cost for the items is $80 for 90 widgets and $60 for the 10 widgets sold on the SPA.
100 Widgets @ $80 in To Stock $8,000
Less Credit of $20 each for 10 Widgets on SPA 200
Distributor Cost $7,800
Note: When calculating the value of inventory, generally accepted accounting principles apply.

Distributor-Into-Stock Cost Information
The net into stock purchase cost to be invoiced by the manufacturer, i.e., the price the distributor puts on the purchase order to the manufacturer, for resale to any customer.

Distributor-Into-Stock Price Program or Quote
The resulting price (per item) reflected on a manufacturer’s invoice to the distributor.

Distributor Invoice Date
The date the items were billed by the distributor to the end-customer.

Distributor Invoice Number
Number of the distributor’s invoice to the end-customer.

Distributor’s Line Card Extension
A brand, product, or line of products that is “new” to a particular electrical distributor or a distributor branch location.

Distributor Non-Stock Items
Items that a distributor does not keep on hand due to low and infrequent sales. Non-stock items are special ordered to fill specific end-customer orders and may be shipped to a distributor’s warehouse or shipped directly from the manufacturer to the end-customer.
Note: Whether an item is a “stock” or “non-stock” will vary by individual distributor and often by distributor branch.

Distributor SPA Claim Filing
Unique distributor internal reference number for each submittal.
Note: The distributor-generated reference numbers are a means to track the receipt and application of SPA credits issued by manufacturers. The reference number used may be a debit number, purchase order number, date or other miscellaneous identifier.

Distributor SPA Credit Request
When a distributor submits SPA claim documentation, but does not issue a debit for the SPA claim amount they are requesting credit from the manufacturer.

Distributor Stock Items
Items that a distributor keeps on hand in their warehouse to fulfill end-customer orders.
Note: Whether an item is a “stock” or “non-stock” will vary by individual distributor and often by distributor branch.

Distributor Total Sales
Stock plus direct sales at distributor cost to customers.

Domain Name
The portion of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that fully identifies the server that an Internet request is addressed to.

Dynamic Menuing
Menus built as a user interacts with them.


Business transacted over the Internet.
E-commerce Expenses
Those expenditures your company made in order to host and maintain the company website, eCommerce platform/web storefront, mobile apps, punch-out integration, EDI, etc.
Note: For purposes of this survey, eCommerce expenditures DO NOT include website content provision or data licensing fees.

EDI 214: Transportation Carrier Shipment Status
EDI transaction used to report the status of a shipment to the shipper, consignee, or third parties, from pickup to final delivery.

EDI 810: Invoice
EDI transaction that is an electronic version of a paper invoice.

EDI 812: Credit/Debit Adjustment
EDI transaction used to request or notify a trading partner of an adjustment. An EDI 812 identifies and contains the details and amounts covering exceptions, adjustments, credits, or debits for goods or services.

EDI 820: Payment Order/Remittance Advice
EDI transaction used to receive remittance advice and send payments to vendors.

EDI 824: Application Advice
EDI transaction used to report at the functional group or transaction set level the results of an application system’s data content edits of transaction sets; used to report acceptance, rejection, or acceptance with change of the transaction set.

EDI 830: Planning and Forecasting
EDI transaction used to transfer forecasting or material release information in the form of a simple forecast. This forecast includes the buyer’s authorization for the seller to commit resources, labor and materials, or a forecast used as an order release mechanism, which can eliminate the need for discrete purchase orders.

EDI 832: Price/Sales Catalog
EDI transaction used to furnish the price of goods or services in the form of a catalog. The EDI 832 keeps internal item files up-to-date with accurate product and price information.

EDI 840: Request for Quotation
EDI transaction used to solicit price, delivery schedule, and other information from potential sellers. The EDI 840 can be used for a limited list of parts versus an entire catalog.

EDI 843: Response to Request for Quotation
EDI transaction that responds to the EDI 840: Request for Quotation and provides price, delivery schedule, and other information.

EDI 844: Product Transfer Account Adjustment (also known as a SPA Credit Request)
EDI transaction used by a distributor to request credit for transactions covered by a manufacturer’s preauthorized SPA quotation.

EDI 845: Price Authorization Acknowledgement/Status (also known as a SPA quotation)
EDI transaction used by a manufacturer to provide a distributor with pricing or a specific SPA quotation.

EDI 849: Product Transfer Account Adjustment Response (also known as a SPA Credit/ Discrepancy)
EDI transaction used by a manufacturer to issue a SPA credit or a SPA credit discrepancy notice in response to a distributor SPA claim filing.

EDI 850: Purchase Order
EDI transaction that is an electronic version of a paper purchase order.

EDI 852: Product Activity Data
EDI transaction that reports the movement of material in and out of a supplier consigned inventory on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the need.

EDI 855: Purchase Order Acknowledgement
EDI transaction that is an electronic version of a phone call, fax, or hard copy of a purchase order acknowledgement.
Note: The EDI 855 can also be used in conjunction with the EDI 852: Product Activity Data as an initiation of a VMI Order.

EDI 856: Ship Notice/Manifest
EDI transaction sent when product is shipped that is an electronic version of a printed packing slip.

EDI 857: Shipping and Billing Notice
EDI transaction that combines the EDI 856 and EDI 810. It is used to reduce EDI costs when shipment and purchase order accuracy is high.

EDI 860: Purchase Order Change Request
EDI transaction used by a buyer to request a change to a previously submitted purchase order; or by a buyer to confirm acceptance of a purchase order change initiated by the seller or by mutual agreement of the two parties.

EDI 861: Receiving Advice/Acceptance Certificate
EDI transaction used to notify the trading partner of the initial receipt or verified receipt quantity for a shipment of goods.

EDI 864: Text Message
EDI transaction used to transmit messages, contracts, explanations, or other one-time communications in a human readable form, and is for people, not computer processing.

EDI 865: Purchase Order Change Acknowledgement
EDI transaction used to convey acceptance or rejection of changes to a previously submitted purchase order by the seller or to notify the buyer of changes initiated by the seller to a previously submitted purchase order by the seller.

EDI 867: Product Transfer and Resale Report
EDI transaction used to: (1) report information about product that has been transferred from one location to another (inter-branch transfer and/or transfer from a Regional Distribution Center to a branch); (2) report sales of product to an end-customer; and/or (3) report lost orders.

EDI 869: Order Status Inquiry
EDI transaction used to request information about all or part of a purchase order or for all or part of the items on order, whether shipped or unshipped.

EDI 870: Order Status Report
EDI transaction used in response to the EDI 869 to report on the current status of a requirement forecast, an entire purchase order, selected line items on a purchase order, selected products/services on a purchase order, or purchase orders for a specific customer in their entirety or on a selection basis. This transaction set can also be used to report on the current status of single or multiple requisitions, or to update the supplier’s scheduled shipment or delivery dates.

EDI 997: Functional Acknowledgement
EDI transaction that confirms a specific transaction set has been received and is structured correctly according to accepted standards and definitions for that transaction set.

Electric Power Research Institute, or EPRI
An independent public interest energy and environmental research organization that focuses on issues and challenges related to electric power.

Electronic Communication
Communication via EDI, flat file, emailing Excel files and/or online entry directly into the recipient’s business system. Electronic communications take costs out of the channel because manual intervention, such as interpretation, price verification, re-keying, printing, filing and/or internal routing of hard copies, is not required.

Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI
The exchange of business documents electronically instead of mailing or faxing paper. Businesses use EDI to reduce errors, the costs associated with the manual keying of data, and to speed up the process of sending and receiving standard business documents. EDI uses standard transaction sets and formats that have specific transaction numbers assigned to them. The transaction set numbers identify the standard use and function of the individual transaction.

Electronic Funds Transfer, or EFT
System of transferring money from one bank account directly to another without any paper money changing hands.

Electronic Invoicing
Invoices received via EDI, flat file, VMI and/or downloaded from the vendor’s secure website.

Electronic Measures
Includes measures of electronic orders, electronic invoices and EDI transaction sets.

Electronic Purchase Orders
Purchase orders received via EDI, flat file, VMI and/or online entry.

Electronic Shopping Cart
User-interface for customers to shop at online stores. It allows users to place items in a virtual “shopping cart” and the cart remembers the items for a predetermined length of time.
Note: An electronic shopping cart can also provide important information to the seller which is often not obvious to the shopper including a cart number to track the order, a cookie to provide you with some limited tracking details about the customer, etc.

Electronic Signature Capture
Method to record a signature as a digital image, thereby reducing paperwork and filing.

End-Customer Name
The distributor’s customer(s) who is listed as an authorized recipient of an SPA Quotation.

Emergency/Expedited Order
Orders requiring special handling, i.e., requested in less than the normal/historical lead times, a negotiated delivery date, or shipment via air freight.

Shorthand for Electrical Products Education Course.
Note: Visit for www.naed.org/EPEC for common electrical terms.

ERP System "Bolt-on" Expenses

Those expenditures your company made in order to provide and maintain modules/systems “bolted-on” to your ERP system such as Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), etc.

Exercise Period
The time period after a sale has been made to an end-customer that a distributor may apply for a rebate.
Note: Typically found in each manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines.

Executive Action Areas
Measures needing executive attention in order to improve or resolve ongoing problems.

Extensible Markup Language, or XML
Markup language designed to transport and store data that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human and machine readable.


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC
An independent agency responsible for regulating interstate transmission of electricity, high-voltage transmission systems, wholesale electricity sales, and aspects of oil, gas, and hydroelectric operations.

Find as You Type, or FAYT
Search capability that refines your search as you type in more characters.

Flash®, an Adobe product, is used to add animated ads, gaming, video and interactivity to web pages. Flash Lite® is a version used on some mobile devices.

Flat File
Files containing records without the structured relationships like the rows and columns in Excel.

Freight Efficiency
The number of orders that do not meet manufacturer minimum order requirements and the distributor pays a surcharge or the freight, as a percentage of total orders.


Geographical Metadata
Usually latitude and longitude coordinates, however, could also include other data associated with the location of objects on the surface of the Earth.

Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN
A 14-digit number, unique for each manufacturer’s item, used to standardize information with trading partners globally.
Note: Effective January 2005, GTINs replaced both EANs and UPCs.

Gross Margin Return on Inventory, or GMROI
Gross Profit divided by Average Inventory X 100.
Note: This ratio measures how many gross margin dollars are produced from each dollar tied up in inventory. GMROI facilitates the evaluation of products with widely varying gross margin and inventory utilization rates.

Guest Checkout
Online feature to allow customers to process an order without signing up for an account.


Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML
Main markup language for web pages. HTML elements display data and are the basic building-blocks of web pages.


In-house IT Services

IT services provided by employees receiving a paycheck from your company.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Internet-based, on demand, scalable, metered access to shared standard machine capacity ---servers, storage, networks, operating systems, VOIP, etc.

Initial Fill Rate
Stock line items received complete on first receipt as a percentage of stock line items ordered.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE
Standards for the design of electrical distribution systems and the products used in them.

Insulated Cable Engineers Association, or ICEA
Standards for selection of wire and cable products and the specifications of materials used in making the products.

International Association of Electrical Inspectors, or IAEI
Individuals responsible for acceptance of products and the electrical system installation techniques.

International Electrotechnical Commission, or IEC
International standards for over 40 nations.

Internet Protocol Address, or IP Address
Numerical label assigned to each device, i.e. computer, printer, participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. May also be known as an Internet connection point.

Inventory Management Measures
Includes measures of average inventory, overstock inventory, stagnant inventory and inventory turnover.

Inventory Turns (also known as a Inventory Turnover)
Cost of goods sold divided by average inventory.

Invoice Accuracy
The number of line items invoiced correctly divided by the total number of line items invoiced.
IT Amortization/Depreciation
The allocation of the original cost of Information Technology hardware, software, etc. over its useful life utilizing Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
IT Disaster Recovery Expenses
A subset of business continuity planning, focused on the technology systems supporting business functions—including phones, email, websites, ERP systems, etc.—in order to prevent IT disruptions and telecom outages in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, including the development of an IT disaster recovery plan, testing, etc.
IT Support Expenses
Those expenditures your company made in order to provide and maintain computers, data centers, servers, a Help desk, etc.
IT Training
Refers to resources devoted to educating users (company employee, IT department staff, and customers) on all computer technology-related topics including software, hardware, database management, programming, networking, etc

Item Description
Manufacturer’s description of the item ordered.


Joint Business Planning
Jointly developed, tactical plan established to fulfill the agreed upon vision and shared strategies of a distributor and a manufacturer. Joint business planning includes implementation plans, as well as targeted, market-specific, measurable activities.


Landing Page
The page website visitors arrive at after clicking on a link.

Lead Time in Calendar Days
The time elapsed in calendar days between when an electronic order is issued, or a manual order is accepted, to the receipt of material.
Note: Sometimes referred to as “Order Cycle Time” by Manufacturers.

Load Time (also known as a API)
The time required to load all the elements on a web page. The load time depends on many factors, including the number of words on the web page, the amount of video, audio, graphic, and animation on the web page, server architecture, network traffic, etc.

Log-in, or Log-on
Process used to access a computer system or application. Most log-in, or log-on processes require a user ID and a password to identify and authenticate the user.


.mobi Website
Top-level Internet domain used for web sites that supply content to mobile devices.


Sub-domain of a current URL, built to supply content to mobile devices.

Managed Service Providers (MSP)
Companies (or individuals) who assume day-to-day management and operational responsibility for performing specified functions.

Manual Purchase Order
Purchase orders placed via telephone, fax, or hard copy. Manual purchase orders require physical intervention, such as interpretation, price verification, re-keying, printing, filing, and internal routing of hard copies, and increase the cost of doing business together.

Manufacturer Non-Stock Item
Products that are assembled-to-order, custom engineered, modified, private labeled, and/or have low or infrequent usage. Non-Stock Items are frequently ordered by description rather than by catalog number.
Note: Whether an item is a “stock” or “non-stock” will vary by individual manufacturer.

Manufacturer Stock Items
Standard items listed in a manufacturer’s catalog with unique identifiers (i.e., catalog numbers) and UPC codes assigned. Manufacturer stock items are typically available off-the-shelf for immediate shipment.
Note: Whether an item is a “stock” or “non-stock” will vary by individual manufacturer.

Manufacturer’s Brand Extension
A single product, or an entire product category, “new” to a particular manufacturer; i.e., this manufacturer is not historically known for selling this type of product.

Manufacturer’s Distributor Identification Number
Unique number the manufacturer has assigned for each store/location/branch of a distributor.

Manufacturer’s Line Extension
A product identical in form, fit, and function to a manufacturer’s current product to which modifications or improvements have been made or additional features added.

Manufacturer’s Price Sheet
Manufacturer’s suggested resale price, published distributor cost, and/or list price sheet as specified by date and/or number as defined by manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines.

Manufacturer’s SPA Credit
The credit memo issued by the manufacturer for the distributor’s SPA claim amount when validated against the SPA agreement and the distributor has not issued an SPA debit.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Resale Price
A suggested reference sell price developed by the manufacturer for end-customers.
Note: The meaning behind manufacturer’s suggested resale price(s) varies. This reference price(s) is often referred to as list price, trade price, contractor cost or column pricing. Some examples of manufacturer’s offering more than one suggested resale price level are: broken vs. standard carton pricing, and price breaks for various quantities purchased.

Marketing Coop Funds, or Co-Op
A cost sharing arrangement, typically based on product purchases, to create brand recognition, stimulate product demand, and/or build customer relationships in which manufacturers may elect to provide financial assistance to distributors for specific marketing activities. The guidelines for accrual of co-op funds vary and may be in a manufacturer’s published policies and procedures.
Note: Some companies may also refer to this as an “advertising allowance” or “promotional allowance.”

Marketing Development Funds, or MDF
A funding arrangement to create brand recognition, stimulate product demand, and/or build customer relationships in which manufacturers may elect to provide financial assistance to distributors for specific marketing activities. The guidelines for approval vary and may be in a manufacturer’s published policies and procedures.
Note: Some companies may include marketing group programs in this voluntary funding arrangement.

Master Product File Information
Information required for distributors to buy, warehouse, sell, and ship product to customers—including, but not limited to catalog numbers; vendor product groups; descriptions; published pricing; carton quantities; standard package quantities; minimum order quantities and dollar requirements; dimensional information; technical information; material data safety sheets; schematics; pictures; etc. Manufacturers provide the same master product file information to all authorized distributors and authorized branches.

Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA
U.S. government agency responsible for the safe operation of mines.

Mobile App
Software application for mobile devices.

Mobile Devices

Portable electronic devices including smartphones, tablet computers, netbook computers and laptop computers.

Mobile Device Management, or MDM

A software tool used by network administrators to remotely activate or deactivate a mobile device, authorize, authenticate, apply appropriate security, configure settings, update mobile device operating systems and software, track usage, enforce company policy and otherwise manage mobile devices, up to and including removing data from the device remotely.

Mobile Security
The protection of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable computing devices, the networks they connect to, and the information that is stored on and transmitted from them from threats and vulnerabilities.


National Association of Electrical Distributors, or NAED
Programs and services dedicated to excellence in distribution; helps distributors promote and strengthen their value among customers and suppliers as a preferred channel of distribution worldwide.

National Electrical Contractors Association, or NECA
Installation standards for electrical products and systems.

National Electrical Manufacturer Association, or NEMA
Standards for numerous electrical products to ensure interchangeability among manufacturers, such as configurations of wiring devices, ratings of motor control devices and test criteria for electrical enclosures.

National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association, or NEMRA
Independent electrical manufacturers’ agents with the objective of improving the effectiveness of this marketing channel and gaining positive industry recognition for its members.

National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA
Develops the National Electrical Code (NEC), National Fire Alarm Code, Life Safety Code and other electrical safety standards.

National Lighting Bureau, or NLB
Nonprofit service for users of illumination systems to help them communicate with designers and specifiers.

National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST

A U.S. Department of Commerce agency charged with identifying and evaluating standards and technologies relevant to smart grid adoption.

Network security
Any activities designed to protect your network. Specifically, these activities protect the usability, reliability, integrity, and safety of your network and data. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network. Source: Cisco Systems

New Product
Products introduced as “NEW” in the electrical industry run the gamut from products never available anywhere before; products that are almost, but not quite, “me too” imitations of another manufacturer’s product; products to which additional features have been added; and products repackaged for promotional or repositioning purposes.
Non-ERP Hardware and Software Expenses
Those expenditures your company made in order to provide and maintain non-ERP hardware and software.


Objective Measures
Measures that are based on observable facts, uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA
U.S. government agency responsible for monitoring safety in the workplace.

On-Time Delivery
The number of lines received complete from the manufacturer by the requested date based on normal/historical lead times or a negotiated delivery date divided by the total lines ordered.

On-Time Payment
The total dollar value of past due invoices as a percent of the total invoices due.

Order Level Optimization
Number of purchase orders that do not meet minimum order requirements divided by the total number of purchase orders.
Note: Purchase orders that do not meet minimum order requirements may incur a “small order” processing charge or require the distributor to pay for the freight.

Outsourced IT Services

IT services provided by contract employees, consultants, and/or Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who are paid for the services provided under a contract or upon presentation of a timesheet or invoice.

Overstock Inventory
The amount of inventory in excess of a specified number of days supply.


Page Views
Number of web pages requested by visitors.
Password Managers
Act as a virtual safe by securely storing and organizing users’ passwords for different accounts. The user accesses the password manager with a single, “master” password. (Sometimes referred to as password vaults)
Password Vaults
See Password Managers.

Payment Card Industry Compliance, or PCI Compliance
Adherence to a set of specific information security standards developed to protect credit card information during and after a financial transaction. The goal of PCI Compliance is to ensure merchants provide the maximum security when processing customer payments or handling customer data. PCI Compliance applies to all organizations or merchants, regardless of size or number of transactions, that accept, transmit, or store any cardholder data.

Performance Analysis Report, or PAR
Provides members with an up-to-date picture of actual operations throughout the industry. Each year, industry statistics are compiled into a report from a confidential, financial performance survey administered by an independent third-party research provider.

Perfect Order
An order that is delivered on-time, with all line items filled completely, with no errors, and invoiced correctly.

Performance Measures

Includes measures of lead time in calendar days, initial fill rate, average number of shipments per order, on-time delivery, shipping accuracy, invoice accuracy, inventory management measures and returns management measures for distributor scorecards. Manufacturer scorecards may include measures of purchase order accuracy, emergency/expedited orders, freight efficiency and on-time payment.


(also known as social engineering)

Tricking users into:  revealing log-in information over the phone or in an email; resetting passwords through links to counterfeit website pages; providing sensitive information in response to fake emails; clicking on links to install malware; and/or downloading fake attachments.

Physical IT Assets

Examples of Physical IT Assets include: Data Center Equipment such as networking equipment, routers, servers, switches, etc.; office equipment including desktops, copiers, printers, etc.; mobile computing equipment such as laptops, Smartphones, tablet computers, etc.; and information storage devices including back-up disks, CD Rom’s, “Cloud” Storage, USB’s, etc.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Internet-based, on demand, scalable, metered access to standard web app development tools.

Acronym for Proof of Delivery.

Price Change Notification
The number of calendar days in advance of price changes notification is provided.

Price Change Updates Received
The number of calendar days in advance of the effective date specific pricing updates are provided.

Price Update Timeliness Measures
Includes measures of price change notification and price change updates received.

Product Introduction Date
The date public advertising for the product begins.

Profitability Measures
This profitability measure definition is intended to serve as a reminder that a distributor may discuss profitability of a manufacturer’s products in individual discussions with that manufacturer. Distributors should not discuss profitability with other distributors, and all distributors and manufacturers will continue to make their own independent decisions regarding profitability measures and other competitive issues.

Promotional Quote
A special price offered by a manufacturer to a distributor on specific products for a limited period of time. A manufacturer generally requires some form of special designation by distributor at time of order entry to insure proper pricing.

Published Distributor Cost
The manufacturer’s current published distributor cost sheet.
Note: Depending on the manufacturer, a distributor may receive some sort of discount from the current published distributor cost sheet as their current into stock purchase cost.

Purchase Order Accuracy
The number of line items ordered 100% correctly—correct part number, correct price, correct unit of measure, correct carton quantity, within the published or “agreed to” lead time—divided by the total line items ordered.


Quantity Returned
Quantity of each item returned by the end-customer to the distributor, or by the distributor to the manufacturer, by item or catalog number.

Quantity Sold
Quantity of each item sold to the end-customer (distributor’s customer) by item or catalog number.


RA (Return Authorization) Processing Cycle Time
The number of calendar days between the initial request for RGA and the receipt of authorization for return.

A return of part of an amount given in payment exclusive of SPAs. Examples of rebates include marketing group incentives, year-end volume discounts, and other pre-negotiated price adjustments. The guidelines vary by manufacturer and may be in a manufacturer’s published policies and procedures.

Receipt of Credit for Return Cycle Time
The number of calendar days between shipment of the items on the RGA and the receipt of the credit for the items returned.

Relationship Measures
Includes measures of business alignment, joint business planning, investment in the future, communication and reliability.

Renewable Energy (also known as Renewables)
A variety of energy sources considered to be sustainable alternatives to oil, coal and natural gas. These sources include solar and wind, geothermal, marine and hydro and hybrid systems such as those incorporating geothermal and solar.
Note: Visit www.naed.org/solarandwind for common wind and solar terms.

Responsive Web Design
Web design that provides the user with a different experience based on their device.
Note: This is accomplished by using one domain with multiple CSS style sheets.

Return of Authorized Goods Cycle Time
The number of calendar days between the receipt of authorization for return and the shipment of the items on the RGA.

Returns Management Measures
Includes measures of RA processing cycle time and receipt of credit cycle time for distributors and return of authorized goods cycle time for manufacturers.


Sales Growth
Percentage change in sales at distributor cost over a specified time period.
2011 Sales at Distributor Cost $100
2010 Sales at Distributor Cost $80
Growth in Sales at Distributor Cost is 25%

Sales Management Measures
Includes distributor total sales, warehouse sales, direct shipments, sales growth, stock sales in dollars subject to special pricing authorizations, stock sales in units subject to SPAs and SPA percent.
Note: Manufacturers measure distributor purchases; distributors measure sales to end-customers.

Search Engine Geotagging
A way to add geographical metadata, usually latitude and longitude coordinates, to websites to help users find location-specific information.

Search Engine Indexing
Collection, parsing and storage of data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO
Methods to boost the ranking and frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in order to maximize user traffic to a website.

Secure HTTP

A website with a SSL Certificate. Displays https:// before the Internet address.

Secure Information Disposal
Special care must be made to remove corporate data when a device is replaced---whether company or associate-owned. Minimize the risk of data recovery by those with malicious intent by making it impossible for anyone to retrieve data after disposal—reformat, “wipe” the device clean, or physically destroy drives, flash cards, etc. All printed information containing confidential and personally identifiable information (PII) should also be disposed of securely to minimize the risk of the printed information falling into the wrong hands.

Secure Sockets Layer, or SSl
Technology that establishes a secure session link between the visitor’s web browser and your website so all communications transmitted through this link are encrypted and secure.
Note: Websites using SSL technology are indicated by https:// before the Internet address and often a padlock icon at the bottom of the browser window.

Ship and Debit Quote or Sale
Distributor ships from stock to end-customer and requests a rebate from the manufacturer for discounted amount as authorized by the manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines.

Shipping Accuracy

The number of line items received 100% correctly divided by the total line items ordered.

Shoulder Surfing
Watching users enter their password or using a cellphone (or even a hidden camera) to record password entry.

Single Sign-On
An authentication process allowing a user to access multiple authorized applications with only one user name and password. 

Site Map
A single web page displaying a website’s structure, usually in outline format.

Site Overlay Analytics
Graphical statistics displayed beside each link on the web page, representing the percentage of clicks on each link.

Smart Grid
While most industries in the energy sector may define it a bit differently, it is basically using smart devices together with smart communications and smart software to modernize the electric grid to conserve energy, reduce costs and increase reliability, security and energy independence.
Note: Visit www.naed.org/smartgrid for common smart grid terms and acronyms

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Internet-based, on demand software “leased” to users on a subscription basis. EXAMPLES include content management, customer relationship management (CRM), database administration, ecommerce, email, ERP, human resources, logistics, maintenance, marketing automation, payroll, productivity, project management, sales force automation, security, etc.

Software Licenses

Software programs are protected by U.S. copyright law and are typically licensed for use rather than sold. The license terms are specified in the End User License Agreement (EULA) which usually appear as the terms and conditions one must accept before being allowed to use the software the first time.  

A software license is usually for a given number of computers or people, whichever is smaller. For example, a distributor with 3 people using 11 devices needs 3 licenses, even if only 1 person uses the software at a time. Doing otherwise could violate the terms of your software license and subject your company to possible legal action for violating U.S. copyright law.



Software Robot, or Bot

Software program that gathers and/or filters information on a specific topic and then provides a list of results to the user.

Software Security
Implemented to protect software against malicious attacks and other risks so that the software continues to function correctly under such potential risks. Security is necessary to provide integrity, authentication and availability.
NOTE: Software security includes operating systems (OS) and firmware.

Special Pricing Authorization, or SPA
A discounted price granted by a manufacturer to a distributor to meet a competitive situation.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Claim Filing
The process distributors must complete to obtain their money for items shipped from inventory subject to a SPA.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Discrepancy Resolution
The SPA discrepancy resolution process begins when a SPA claim is rejected in whole or in part by a manufacturer.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Chargeback Invoice
An invoice generated by a manufacturer when there is a discrepancy between the SPA claim amount deducted by the distributor and the credit amount issued by the manufacturer.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Claim Amount
Dollar amount distributor is to receive credit for based upon sales to end-customer of an SPA.
Note: Depending on the manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines, the SPA claim amount is calculated as:
(Distributor’s Into Stock Purchase Cost—SPA Cost) x Total Units Sold = Claim Amount

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Claim Period
Range of distributor invoice dates included in SPA claim submitted by distributor.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Credit Discrepancy Notice
A notification with explanation code generated by a manufacturer to a distributor when there is a discrepancy between the SPA claim amount submitted (no deduction taken) by the distributor and the credit amount issued by the manufacturer.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Dollars
Stock sales at distributor cost subject to SPAs from this vendor.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Percent
Stock sales at distributor cost subject to SPAs from this vendor divided by total stock sales at distributor cost from this vendor.
Example: A distributor sells 100 Company Z brand widgets through stock during a specific time period at an in-to stock cost of $80. Ten of the Company Z brand widgets are subject to a SPA, resulting in an in-to stock cost of $60 each.
90 Widgets at $80 In To Stock.....$7,200
10 Widgets on SPA at $60............$600
Distributor Cost.............................$7,800
Percent of stock sales subject to SPAs = $600/$7,800, or 7.7%

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Quotation Expiration Date
The end date of the SPA, to be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s published procedures and guidelines. Depending on the manufacturer, the expiration date is the last date the distributor can ship to the end-customer and qualify for the SPA or the last date the distributor can invoice the end-customer and qualify for the SPA.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Quote Number
A manufacturer-designated reference number or name to a specific SPA agreement.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Set-Up
The process of setting up a SPA includes: (1) the manufacturer transmits an SPA quotation to the distributor; and (2) the distributor loads the SPA quotation into their business system.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Units
Stock sales in units subject to SPAs from this vendor.

Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Update
After a SPA has been set-up initially, any change to the SPA quotation after the original documentation is transmitted to the distributor is referred to as a SPA update.

SSL Certificate
Used to secure communications between a website, host, or server, and end users connecting to the server. The SSL Certificate: (1) confirms the identity of the domain name operating the web site; (2) encrypts all information between the server and the visitor; and (3) ensures the integrity of the transmitted information. There are three generally recognized categories of SSL Certificates:

  • Domain validation: The authority issuing the SSL Certificate verifies control of a domain name by emailing an e-mail address related to the domain name.
  • Organization validation: The authority issuing the SSL Certificate verifies the organization owning the domain through an independent search of databases
  • Extended validation: The authority issuing the SSL Certificate verifies the organization owning the domain with an additional specific set of identity verification criteria.
    Note: Websites with extended validation prominently display a green address bar and a security status bar with the name of the verified organization that owns the website.

Stagnant Inventory
Stock items that have not had a sale during a specified time period.

Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70, or SAS70
Internationally recognized auditing standard used to report on the processing of transactions, that provides an authoritative guidance enabling service organizations to disclose control activities and processes to auditors and customers in a uniform format.
Note: When a service auditor issues a report that has been prepared in accordance with SAS70, this signifies a service organization has had its control activities and control objectives examined by an independent accounting and auditing company.

Strategic Measures
Includes sales management measures, profitability measures, SPAs, relationship measures and executive action areas.

Strategic Trading Partner
Those channel partners representing 80% of your sales.

Subjective Measure
Measures an individual’s satisfaction with specific behaviors.

Supply Chain Management
Encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. It includes all of the logistics management activities noted above, as well as manufacturing operations, and it drives coordination of processes and activities with and across marketing, sales, product design, finance, and information technology.
Source: The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

System Administrator, or sysadmin
The personal responsible for managing and maintaining a multi-user computer environment, including software.
Note: A systems administrator's duties include determining system configurations, creating user accounts, assigning user permissions, installing software updates and patches, setting and monitoring security parameters, etc.


Time on Page
Time a visitor spends on one web page before clicking off.

Time on Site
Time visitors spend on a website before exiting.

Traffic Patterns
Activities people are doing once they get to your website, including the pages they click on next, what they are looking at, and where they come from.
Note: Knowing the website traffic patterns on your website can help you redesign and improve your site to help direct customers to key areas of your website, increase conversion rates, the length of time visitors stay on your website, and the numbers of pages they actually visit.

Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA
Using two different means of verifying a user is who they claim to be. The first method is generally a password. The second method is often a user-created response to a security question or requires a previously registered physical device be used for verification.


UCC 128: Shipping Container Label
Scannable packing list. A UCC 128 lets the receiving department know what is in the shipment without having to open the cartons.
Note: Used in conjunction with the EDI 856: Ship Notice/Manifest, when a shipment with a UCC-128 is received, it is scanned and the contents of the shipment are electronically matched in the receiver’s computer. This streamlines the receiving process by eliminating the manual entry of data.

Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., or UL
Independent, not-for-profit organization that test products for public safety.

Uniform Resource Locator, or URL
Address at which specific web pages can be found.

Universal Product Code, or UPC
A 12-digit number used primarily in North America. Unique for each manufacturer’s item, UPCs standardize product information for scanning via bar code.
Note: Can be converted into a GTIN by adding two digits (typically zero’s) to the left of the UPC.

Quality of a user’s experience when interacting with a web site, mobile technology, or any user-operated device.


VAN Expenses

Those expenditures your company made for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Value-Added Networks, more commonly known as VANs, data transfer, storage, encryption, and format conversion services.

Value-Added Resellers (VAR)
Companies (or individuals) who resell software, hardware and/or networking products and provide value beyond order fulfillment. 

Vendor Managed Inventory, or VMI
Refers to any practice that involves cooperation between supply chain partners to control inventories. The practice uses demands inventories and forecasts to prepare and carry out automatic replenishments through EDI linkages.
Source: American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC)

Vendor Product Group
Designation created by a manufacturer to group specific parts or families of parts.
Note: Manufacturers group items for a variety of reasons—pricing purposes, product categorization or item velocity. Some manufacturers may have multiple levels of categorization.
Circuit breakers = Vendor Product Group XXXX
Single pole circuit breakers 15-30 amp = Vendor Product Group AAAA.

Virtual Private Network, or VPN
A technology creating an encrypting connection over a less secure network.
Visitor Count

Number of distinct visitors who have visited at least one page of a website, measured by the IP address assigned to a computer.
Voice/Data/Internet Expenses
Those expenditures your company made in order to provide telephone services (cellular, VOIP, and land-lines), mobile broadband data, and internet connectivity.


Warehouse Sales
Distributor Cost of the material sold to customers through the warehouse.

Web Analytics

Measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.

Website Security
Protection of Web servers inside or outside a primary network, the applications running on those servers, and the data transferred between the web servers and the end users against hackers, viruses, digital vandals, cyber criminals, etc.  
NOTE: Website security includes how pricing is transferred, customer log-ins, the underlying code base, web hosting, etc.