ETIM Sector Coordinator Terje Røising: “It all starts with connecting with the trade”

Terje Røising has been active in the HVAC & Plumbing sector for over forty years now. He is also the long-time HVAC representative/delegate for ETIM Norway, initially as the CEO of NRF (Norske Rørgrossisters Forening, the Norwegian wholesaler federation for HVAC) and as of this year as the COO for VA/VVS (Infrastructure and plumbing) of Byggtjeneste. This company – also engaged in ETIM through ETIM Norway – is the new owner of the NRF database and runs digital services for the building and construction trade. A strong advocate for the ETIM model, Terje Røising was the candidate of choice for the newly introduced position of Sector Coordinator for the HVAC & Plumbing sector. We asked him about his motivation to apply and his views on the further development of ETIM with regard to concerned sector.

What was it about ETIM that appealed to you in the first place?

“About five, six years ago I was introduced to ETIM. Our federation had always been in close contact with our peers in the electro-technical trade and we talked about the ETIM structure quite early on. Seeing what ETIM brought in terms of added value to their sector, I was determined to convince my Board, too, of the benefits of ETIM for our own sector – which I finally succeeded to do. As I see it, ETIM is the most effective classification model around, connecting features directly to products. It has the structure, the users and the data. It is solid and ready-to-use, whereas many others are still in the planning stages of setting up a structure. For me, there is no doubt that ETIM is the way to go for our sector.”

What made you want to become Sector Coordinator for the Standardisation Committee?

“Long before the introduction of the Standardisation Committee, installed to replace the ETIM Technical Committee, I talked to various people about the need for a more sectorised approach for ETIM: ETIM was predominantly electro-technical trade driven to further develop the structure. And although ETIM provided a good base for our sector, I was convinced it needed more sector-focused work to mature, more influence on the part of the different sectors. Being a long-time spokesperson for a setup in which on the one hand the different sectors could address more sector-specific topics and issues to fully benefit from the model and on the other hand the use of the ETIM standard could expand optimally, it only made sense for me to apply.“

What challenges do you see ahead, both in general and sector specific?

“I think there’s a real challenge in effectively motivating users to truly engage and accessing the information you need to help push the model forward. Feedback from the trade is crucial: which classes are still missing for what products, for instance. We need the information from the field, in terms of which set of features need adjustment, which new features, materials and so on need to be addressed. This requires a close connection to the sector, so reaching out to producers, wholesalers and buyers is crucial. The ETIM structure provides a base for all technical information, but a constant renewal of the structure is also needed to be able to incorporate all innovations within the sector. This all starts with connecting with the trade and motivating them to use ETIM as well as share and exchange information is my primary goal for this year.”

How do you go about that?

“Generally speaking, we simply need to join forces. We need to build from the knowledge and experience of countries that have been very active in ETIM for a long time, such as Germany and the Netherlands, but we also need to listen closely to newcomers with open minds and bright ideas. It’s all about combining experience with innovative power. In addition to dedicated ETIM time in my role as Sector Coordinator, a lot of my ‘normal’ working hours go into talking to producers and wholesalers in Norway. As such, I can safely say, I talk ETIM every day and I seek to point out its possibilities to people, wherever I can. For example, in Norway, producers need their product data to be on point and accessible: we currently focus on the new ISO standards concerning the organisation of product information in construction and HVAC. When it comes to structuring this data, ETIM could be a natural and integrated part. The ISO standards do not only apply to technical information, but also include environmental information, logistics information. Wide data areas are to be put in a product data template, which are in part still under development. With ETIM as the perfect format to provide all technical information, why not combine them and benefit from the structure for all product data?”

What are your thoughts on ETIM’s new Global Industry Membership?

“I think it’s a very positive development. Several Industry Members have branches in Norway, for example, and when their mother companies demonstrate a focus on ETIM it has a positive effect on their national organisations. Their memberships and activity accentuate the understanding that ETIM is a joint effort, internationally as well as locally. What’s more, their membership allows them to centrally prepare information for their different local subsidiaries, which makes our job a lot easier.”

In what way has the new SC structure changed things for ETIM?

“It has made a major difference. Communications have already improved significantly, in my opinion. We have a more direct and formalised contact with the people that work with the same products and suppliers from different countries, as we connect with the whole group of ETIM HVAC, currently consisting of twelve countries, every second month. And although now we are only able to meet online, it’s great to see all countries fully engaged, especially the ones that are quite new. So far, I have really enjoyed the energy in our talks and discussions. As I see it, the mix of relatively new and openminded members with the more experienced ones creates inspiring group dynamics. In conclusion, I think we were right to change the structure to allow for growth and move ETIM forward.”