How Manufacturers of Building Materials Can Improve Product Information Efficiency

Building materials is a very diverse product group. Even within a manufacturing enterprise there may be considerable variances in what kind of product information you need for different product groups. If production is taking place on plants around the world, then local demands and cultural differences is another source of diversity in how product information is handled.

In many cases building materials are not sold directly to end users, but are forwarded in the supply chain to re-sellers being distributors/wholesalers, merchants/dealers and marketplaces. These trading partners each have their range of products and specific requirements for product information which makes it very hard for you as the manufacturer to prepare product information that fits all.

The IT enabled discipline aimed at solving such challenges is called product data syndication. There are namely these three kinds of product data syndication relevant to manufacturers:

  • Enterprise wide product data sharing aiming at linking, transforming and consolidating product information created by various business units and production sites around the world. The goal is to have consistent, accurate and timely information ending up in one place, often being an in-house Product Information Management (PIM) or Master Data Management (MDM) solution.
  • Ecosystem wide product data syndication push aiming at providing product information to re-sellers in a uniform way. On the other hand, it should be possible for the diverse crowd of re-sellers to pull that information adhering to each one’s requirements for format, completeness and conformity at a certain time.
  • Ecosystem wide product data syndication pull also in many cases applies to a manufacturer. It is not unusual that a manufacturer complements the own produced product range with trading goods supplied from other manufacturers, where product information must be provided by those. In addition to that manufacturers buys raw materials, spare parts for machinery and other MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Operation) products where product information is needed when the surrounding processes must be automated.

Through emerging technology in Product Data Lake we offer a solution to these challenges. We emphasize on these capabilities:

  • Product Data Quality aiming at improvements of completeness of product data, as well as the accuracy, timeliness, consistency and conformity of the product information shared with trading partners and end users.
  • Product Data Syndication Freedom, as the solution is suited for consolidating enterprise wide diversities and pushing information to trading partners in a uniform way while making it possible for trading partners to pull the product information in their many ways.

Learn more about the solution and the benefits for manufacturers of building materials on the About Product Data Push page.

Materials

How to end the standoff with your merchants

Who should have the burden of lifting product information as you as a manufacturer have it to the way it is presented at the digital point-of-sales provided by your merchants? Often this seems to be stalled in a standoff as described in the post Passive vs Active Product Information Exchange.

Using spreadsheets

Most companies participating in cross company supply chains use spreadsheets for exchanging product data. Doing that is very cumbersome, error-prone and does in most cases not provide the needed data quality for providing self-service ready product data to your re-sellers.

The most common way of using spreadsheets for this is that a merchant gives each of his suppliers a spreadsheet with columns of attributes based on the merchants taxonomy to be filled out. As a supplier, you will typically be tasked with filling in a different spreadsheet from each of your downstream re-seller. This is very inefficient seen from a supplier perspective.

Deploying customer (and supplier) portals for product information

There is a tendency when deploying Product Information Management (PIM) solutions, that you may want to add a portal for your trading partners:

  • If you are a manufacturer, you could have a customer portal where your downstream re-sellers can fetch the nicely arranged product information that is the result of your PIM implementation.
  • If you are a merchant, you could have a supplier portal where your upstream suppliers can deliver their information nicely arranged according to your product information standards in your PIM implementation.

This is a death trap for both manufacturers and merchants, because:

  • As a trading manufacturer and merchant, you probably follow different standards, so one must obey to the other. The result is that one side will have a lot of manual and costly work to do to obey the strongest trading partner. Only a few will be the strongest all time.
  • If all manufacturers have a customer portal and all merchants have a supplier portal everyone will be waiting for the other and no product information will flow in the supply chains.

Standoff as upstream

The solution

At Product Data Lake we offer manufacturers and merchants an honorable way out of this standoff by offering Product Data Syndication Freedom.

 

How Manufacturers Can Sell More and Reduce Costs

In a data driven world being the best at sharing product information with your trading partners is a winning formula.

You will sell more if your re-sellers will have the most complete, accurate and timely product information about your products in front of their customers.

You will reduce costs if you can push your product information in one uniform way and let your re-sellers pull it in their many ways. This will free you from applying many different solutions to providing product information to your re-sellers. You will avoid errors and you will be able to automate the processes.

Our solution using emerging technologies within Product Data Lake will make you “easy to do business with” in the eyes of your re-sellers and make your product information a powerful weapon.

The people who will use your products want to get complete product information when making the buying decision wherever they are in the supply chain.

Would you like to know more? Get in contact here:

Upstream sell more reduce costs