Why companies that work with many products should use a PIM

schedule 6 min

The Product Information Management System (PIM) is the single point of truth for your product master data management.

Of course it is a question of digitization! Especially if you and your company have many products in the program, the management of product master data without PIM would - let's say - not be an easy challenge to master. With a Product Information Management System (PIM), on the other hand, you create a single point of truth for your company's product master data management. A single place is created where all product master data is stored and all other related objects - i.e. assets. Other storage locations or silos are not allowed. The PIM is where all the threads come together. So you can easily move data to the places where it's needed - whether that's a website, catalog production, individual customer webshops, marketplaces - or whether data needs to be passed on in the industry standards of apparel, electrical, or perhaps plumbing retail: The PIM is the uniform starting point, the collection and interface.

Product Information Management - efficient and effective

Whether you are a retailer or your company manufactures many different complex products - a Product Information Management system (PIM) - for example Akeneo - helps you to store and share product data centrally in one place. In the PIM itself, you can also enrich, map or automate the translation of the data.

Let's start at the point of data creation: In principle, you could also enter the data manually in the PIM. However, this will happen in the rarest of cases. Normally, as a manufacturer, you will get data from upstream systems - for example, a PDM or a PLM - Product Data Management or Product Lifecycle Management system - or several of them. In addition, you will also get the so-called morphological data from an ERP - these are weights, dimensions, etc. As a distributor, the data usually comes from suppliers, i.e. manufacturers or wholesalers. In some industries there are also product data platforms where manufacturers enter and maintain their data. There you can retrieve the data of several manufacturers in the same format, which makes your work much easier. The situation is basically the opposite for manufacturers and retailers: As a manufacturer, you get the data sorted in the desired format from the upstream systems and then adapt it to the needs of your customers - at least you should do this. As a retailer, on the other hand, in most cases you get product data unsorted or prepared according to the manufacturers' or wholesalers' liking from their systems. You are forced to normalize. With a PIM, you can easily straighten out attribute values in this way. An example: On your website you want to publish only certain colors to simplify filtering and searching. Then you might have to decide whether turquoise goes into the pot for blue or green. Conversely, your customer may only have green and blue on their scale. With a PIM, you decide on the mapping and put data into the form that is needed by target systems.

For these reasons, too, you should definitely adapt the standards that are common in some industries, such as ETIM in the electrical industry. Overarching standard formats include eCl@ss or proficl@ss. We recommend to our customers: As a manufacturer, you should definitely work with such standards and develop your attributes based on them. These make work easier for you and your customers. This way you increase efficiency. Because: The easier it is for a retailer to get product data into his systems, the more products he will list from you! This leads to a higher visibility. The result is more sales. If you also manage to provide the retailer with extensive image material that he can integrate into his systems without much effort, then you have won. At this point, the PIM only becomes really powerful when it is linked to a DAM - for example, TESSA DAM. The data required for online business is delivered precisely - and that ensures your success.

PIM systems facilitate the production of catalogs and brochures

However, PIMs are not only a great help for online business - even if you have to print catalogues and product brochures or make them available as PDFs, Akeneo & Co. simplify the process, make it more efficient and increase effectiveness at the same time. In correlation to the DAM, the PIM is the prerequisite for dynamic publishing and for the high-performance automated creation of print products such as the aforementioned catalogues. The data is transferred to the pages to be designed via an interface in templates. Data such as texts, dimensions, prices or images are updated via an update function. This makes a lot of things easier and saves a lot of trouble due to possible incorrect values. As I said, the PIM is the single point of truth here, where all corrections converge and which is therefore the centre for high-quality data in an omnichannel publication environment. By the way, this is where service providers like InBetween help. Some of our customers do it this way.

Internationalize with PIM & DAM Systems

If you work internationally: Of course, the update also affects the language change, not only the update of attributes. We are already back to the PIM and Akeneo. Translations have to be created, managed and placed in the right places. Product Information Management systems provide the best basis for this: Translation service providers like textmaster use an interface to the Akeneo PIM to map the translation workflow. Once the attributes to be translated have been defined and the translators have been cast for the necessary languages, you gain a lot of speed and flexibility in your international business.


PIM is the Single Point of Truth

The Product Information Management system (PIM) is the single point of truth for your product master data management. This is where all incoming product data streams converge, data is normalized, enriched and translated if necessary. When the data is extracted, it is adapted to the requirements of the target systems - whether print or online. This means a noticeable increase in efficiency and effectiveness.

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Salvatore Accaputo

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