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How Norway’s Electrical Industry is rising with the help of digitalization

2020 - The world was turned upside down, and we had to adapt and overcome the challenges we were facing in our new day-to-day life. While this period was, and still is, incredibly challenging for many, the rise of digitalization has been rapidly growing. We have seen efficiency rise to new heights that would not have been possible without digitalization.

Frank Jaegtnes
Frank Jaegtnes, CEO of Elektroforeningen EFO

Let us not focus on Teams and Slack, but rather the areas where the electrical industry has been challenged – long before COVID-19, and where we finally see great variety of digitalization and adaptation to the modern world.

The Norwegian Electrical Trade Association, also known as EFO, is an association for suppliers and wholesalers within the electric industry. We operate Norway’s largest database for electrical products, EFObasen. EFO’s members deliver everything from light bulbs to North Sea cables. Our vision is clear – to make Norway the first fully electrified country. To make this dream come true, we recognize the importance of digitalization and sharing of data.

EFO is present multiple places within the Norwegian electrical industry, and our CEO, Frank Jaegtnes, was selected by the government to be the chairman of the Digitalization Council.

Coordinating the digitalization of the future

EFO has a long history of cooperating with the Norwegian government and the industry to develop strategies for digitalization. Based on the industry needs, the Digitalization Council was created by the government. The council’s purpose is to bring forward the full potential of digitalization within the building and construction industry. The council consists of members from the entire value chain, to cover the full length of the industry.

With the Digitalization Council we have, amongst other, created and implemented standards for EPD – Environmental Product Declarations. The standards were digitalized using PDT – Product Data Template. It has been facilitated to create climate calculations, such as calculating CO2-emission from the construction of a building. By implementing these standards and templates, we are preparing the industry for the future. With standardization, we are not only making it smoother for the whole value chain to cooperate and share data and information, but we are also bringing forward the important data that we have and make use of it in a way we have not done in the past.

There is huge potential in the data we have in our industry, yet it holds no value when we don’t share it and use it. Willingness to share and to change is one of the key factors of our digitalization journey.

A group of nearly 50 CEOs from the industry have been mobilized to be ambassadors and sounding board for the solutions created by the Digitalization Council. We are also working on data templates for circular data by developing a PDT that will be supporting circular business models. Pilot projects are one of our most reliable sources for testing, and to run sprints on projects to demonstrate it’s potential. It all comes down to the industry agreeing on the same formats through the entire value chain.

Into the future

The Digitalization Council is looking ahead. We are learning from other industries (bank and finance) who have been successful in their journey to create room for cross-industry solutions. There will be even stronger focus on circular economy and sustainability. We will be seeing pilot projects that will be valued greatly for logistics and trade. We are continuously working to break down barriers and bring forward the full potential of the data in the industry.

Cooperation is key

In Norway, we have a common product database, EFObasen, based on ETIM. It uses a common format and is a facilitator for collecting and sharing information on the market. This has shown to be incredibly valuable. With EFObasen, our members have easier access to the market with their products and are also able to share the required information digitally.

We also have PDT-Norway, an initiative for the industry to agree on Product Data Templates, based on international standards.

If we piqued your interest, even just by a smidge, do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than willing to share our experiences and creating new connections. Together we can create a better tomorrow for our industry.

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