spare parts vs accessories

Last comment 05/06/2019 13:38 by Nico
· Mark as unread
Nico Schmid 3 years ago created
Hi Marc,

I wonder whether ETIM strictly distinguishes between spare parts and accessories.

To make my question more comprehensible, I'll offer an example. Please let me know if your response to that specific case can't be extrapolated/generalised.

I am not sure on how to classify a (spare) power cable for shower toilets (EC010165). The cable's only application purpose is to use it as a spare part for a specific shower toilet,

Options for classification:
1) Accessories for shower toilet (EC010204): Even though the cable is not accessory but a spare part, that's where I would search it as a customer.
2) Power cable < 1 kV, for permanent installation (EC03248): This is technically correct, since it's a cable for permanent installation. Imo, the offered features are too detailed. The customer just bothers to purchase the cable which is compatible to that one shower toilet.
3) RFQ: Spare parts for shower toilet - That's my preferred option. But the next question would be how to classify the cable in the meantime.

Response to this question would be highly appreciated, as it certainly helps to better understand the general classification standard.
Thanks very much!

Nico Schmid 3 years ago created
Similar, but different is also the following example:
A towel holder that fits to one specific product X (can't be fixed on the wall directly).

Even though technically it's a towel holder (EC010551), wouln't that be confusing for the customer and therefore, it should be classified as accessory of product X?
Marc Habets 3 years ago created
For the current guidelines on accessory classes see also page 22 of the ETIM classification guidelines which you can download at 

To your question, I would clearly classify your cable as Accessories for shower toilet (EC010204), for now using the value 'other' for feature 'type of accessory'. The class EC03248 you mention is absolutely wrong, that is for normal 'unassembled' cable, instead it would be EC001576 - Power cord. 

By chance, the ETIM Technical Committee has just discussed on accessories and spare parts in its recent meeting in Vilnius. The following conclusion/decisions were made (which I still need to add to the guidelines): "Manufacturers also want classes for accessories and spare parts. But to avoid an explosion of classes, we should consider accessory classes for groups of products if possible instead of for each separate product class. The current guidelines on accessory classes are ok and will be extended with these conclusions
: 1) We will as much as possible combine accessories and spare parts in one class 2) Logical features “Spare part” and “Accessory” will be added to each of these combined classes, to enable easy filtering for spare parts and accessories in databases based on ETIM (sometimes products can be spare part AND accessory)

So that is a development that I think offers a good solution for your needs. I already created an RFC to change EC010204 accordingly, see
Marc Habets 3 years ago created
Regarding your 2nd example, if you only sell it as an accessory that cannot be used for other purposes I would say it should be listed as accessory. This is already used like that in for example EC010858 - Accessories for radiator, where you can also find the value "Towel holder". Is it in your case also an accessory for a shower toilet? If yes, I can add it to the open RFC as I did with Power cord already. 
Nico Schmid 3 years ago created
Thanks very much for your detailed and helpful feedback!

1) I agree the first decision would be between Accessories for shower toilet (EC010204) and Power cord (EC001576).

2) I am happy with classifying those examples as accessories, the latter is actually an accessory to a bidet, not a washing closet. Thus,  a class "Accessories/spare parts for bidets", similar to EC010204 would be helpful, too.

3) There's some other classes that I consider to be helpful. Will prepare complete list in the next few weeks (accompanied with number of allocated products for you to judge the importance). Spare parts/accessories for bathroom furniture is an example. 

3) If it comes to the general discussion of spare parts / accessories and we had a green field approach (ETIM8?), I would set things up as following:
a) One spare part / accessories class per group (to prevent the number of classes to be inflationary).
b) The first feature allows to enter the class of the main product where the spare part / accessory belongs to. (I suppose, this allows the customer to search more efficiently.) Given the power cable example, this would help the customer to see that it's a power cable to a bidet, not a washing closet.
c) The second feature "Type of spare part/accessory" allows you to select an existing class. (If we stick to the above example, I'd pick Power cable  EC001576 here.)
d) Features will be inherited from the selected class in c). This would allow me to describe the spare part/accessory in detail.

One of my main concerns - a lack of ability to describe spare parts / accessories - could be bypassed in this way. However, I have no clue about technical feasibility, nor about if this would blow up complexity too much. I am happy to elaborate this a little more, in case you're interested.

Thank you very much!

Marc Habets 3 years ago created
Thanks for your input! I will sure consider it in the discussion for final guidelines/solutions on these accessory/spare part classes. However, your solution as described in 3b, c , d is technically not feasible, at least not as you describe it. What is possible and quite commonly used in ETIM, is using logical features (true/false) for this, like 'Suitable for bidet' yes/no, etc. See a clear example of this in EC011338 - Accessories for double wall/built-in element sanitary . Regarding features, if a spare part or accessory needs to be described in more detail, then a separate class is the only option. Which by the way can work just fine if you make sure to add the proper synonyms to each class, some products can be in a 'container class' if they don't need a deeper specification and others can be in a separate class.    
Nico Schmid 3 years ago created
Hi Marc,

I have a question with regard to your first message in this thread.
You write, "[..] to avoid an explosion of classes, we should consider accessory classes for groups of products if possible instead of for each separate product class."

Can you give us some more details, please? When will the ETIM gremium decide on this? I know that this is a rather revolutionary change, and thus needs good judgement and preparation.

Reason for asking is the preparation of RFCs. How do you prefer the RFCs on accessories/spare parts to be formulated? Shall I go with the current status, or anticipate the above to happen, and thus, consider accessory classes to be created for each group.

Thanks for letting me know.

Marc Habets 3 years ago created
The TC decision is a guideline/recommendation and is not black-and-white, it has to be judged for each case separately. And it is not supposed to be revolutionary but rather evolutionary, so we not immediately going to change all existing classes. It should be taken into account for new developments and we might in time change some existing solutions also accordingly if that would be considered better. A good example is EC002935 - Accessories for cable carrying system, which basically serves for all classes in the group EG000004. Regarding actual RFCs for your missing products, that should normally be done in close cooperation with one of the local ETIM organizations where you are a member. Maybe it is better that we have a short call together to discuss this in more detail, I will contact you directly on this. 
Nico Schmid 3 years ago created
Thanks for clarification, this clearly helps. Before contacting the local organisation, I am going to contact you. No need to contact me now, it's too early. I'd like to prepare and complete our inputs first rather than being unstructured with our inputs.
Nico Schmid 3 years ago created
Given the trade-off between describing the product as detailed as possible and mentioning that it is a spare part(or accessory) to a certain other EC, how about classifying the product twice?

Is this allowed?
Anyone who already uses this approach?

Thanks very much!
Marc Habets 3 years ago created
You can only classify a single product once in ETIM, so that is not allowed. What you can do however in an online catalog/shop system, depending on the way it is structured, is connect the same product to appear in multiple places in a search hierarchy/taxonomy. So it is not allowed, but thinking about it, is it technically impossible? Current PIM systems will not allow to list the same product number more than once I would assume, and I am sure that data receivers like wholesalers would be very unhappy with that. But I tried a file with the same product listed twice and at least in BMEcat I can validate the file. So your question is still interesting to see if there is anyone who might have actually used this in 'real life'.
Roberto Ortega 2 years ago created

I have certain products that are accessories of a certain product, however, the "Accessories class" of that class does not yet exist. At the same time, there is a "full class" that could fit this accessory. For example, I have a storz coupling which is an accessory for a pellet stove. However, there is no class "Accessories for pellet stove", but the class "Storz coupling/thread" (EC010226) exists. In this case, I understand it is better to classify it in the full class rather than not classifying it at all, right?

On the other hand, if a product is classified in an accessory class and therefore very little or none technical attributes can be given, where would be the place in the BMEcat to include these technical attributes? One place would be the LONG_DESCRIPTION, or also creating another node for that product that includes the technical attributes that we weren't able to include in the ETIM node?

Thanks very much,

Nico Schmid 2 years ago created
In the BMEcat you could use Subtree PRODUCT_REFERENCE and model the main_product <--> accessory relationship on the level of product rather than between ETIM classes.
Join the conversation
You have to be a registered user to join the conversation.
Topic started 30 May 2018 at 11:29
Reader count
Comment count 13