Managing product information across your company's entire IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex in the age of digitisation. Requirements for product information are increasing both in terms of scope and quality.
The consumer, or rather your customer, is an important driver and purchaser of your product information. So where does your customer find your product information today? Usually on many channels - from your own online stores, the online stores of your trading partners, via marketplaces, on social media and even in your stationary stores. ‘Omnichannel' is the keyword that describes these requirements.
Digitisation also affects your business processes in purchasing, logistics and sales
In purchasing, you depend on knowing your suppliers’ products and having them available in your ordering system so that you can order electronically via EDI. Have you ever had the problem of ordering a pallet of products from your supplier and receiving only a single one or vice versa? If so, you know the importance of product information for your purchasing processes.
In logistics, too, processes are becoming increasingly automated and therefore, product information is needed. Just think of fully automated high rack warehouses or automatic route planning to supply your stationary stores with goods from the central warehouse. Without knowing the correct dimensions of your products, you can neither automatically determine an efficient storage location nor calculate the optimal utilization of your trucks.
»Poor data quality leads to high costs in logistics and purchasing and to customer dissatisfaction.«
What do we mean by PIM?
We understand Product Information Management as the management of all product information that you use in all your business processes - from purchasing to logistics and sales.
Product Information Management is therefore a business process in its own right - in this context, a PIM project for us is not only the introduction of a software solution, but also a project to introduce such a business process.
Product information, among others, is
- product descriptive properties (such as the 'colour' of a T-shirt or the 'cutting height' of a lawn mower)
- marketing descriptions
- images, videos, user manuals and all other media assets for a product
- relationship information about other products (e.g., spare parts, parts lists, replacement items, successor items, accessories, packaging information)
- business process controlling information
Transactional data, such as inventory or prices, is not typically included in the product information described here.
PIM: Project or program?
»Think BIG – start small.«
The introduction of Product Information Management usually has two dimensions.
First of all, it affects the company organisation. Who is responsible for product information? In which processes is product information created? How should processes ideally look like in the future?
Secondly, it affects a company’s IT landscape. Which system would you like to use for managing product information? How does it need to be integrated to ensure that all systems in your IT landscape benefit from the improved product information?
This shows that introducing Product Information Management usually means implementing a series of projects and that it should therefore be established as a program.
What do PIM software solutions offer?
PIM software solutions are specialized systems that take into account the requirements of product information management.
- Key aspects of a PIM system are:
flexible and/or industry specific data modelProduct information is subject to continuous change, as requirements are constantly changing, e.g., because new features or product categories are created, because legal requirements change, or because the consumer sets new demands.
- Data Quality Management
Which is the current data quality with regard to the intended purpose? How do I have to improve product information content to meet my data recipients' needs?
- Workflow support
Product information is usually edited and released by several employees. Here, a PIM system should support and control the functionalities of creation, enrichment, translation and release.
- Import, export and integration via APIs
Product information is usually already created in other systems and has to be transferred to other systems again after processing. Here, PIM systems usually offer a wide range of integration options via special import and export functionalities and via corresponding APIs.
Why do PIM projects fail?
PIM projects are doomed to failure if we see them as pure IT projects.
Buying PIM software will not solve any problem. Organisation, processes and integration of PIM software into the existing IT landscape are also key factors that must be considered. And without clear goals, without a vision, there are no guidelines that will guide you on your PIM journey.
»A Fool with a Tool is still a Fool.«
Benefit from our experience
Contact us – no matter which project phase you currently find yourself in. We are happy to support you with our experience.