If you’re an MEP manufacturer, you will be hearing the term PIM more and more frequently. How you manage your product information is a hot topic and one which is gaining momentum due to the UK government push for transparency and a ‘golden thread’ of information within the construction industry.
However, this is no easy feat. A single manufacturer will have thousands of data elements that relate to its offering, lots of which will be housed in different locations and managed by different teams. From spreadsheets and ERP systems, to product datasheets and marketing websites, constantly changing product information can become a big headache if not streamlined effectively.
PIM stands for Product Information Management and involves the organisation and sharing of a company’s product data. A PIM solution provides manufacturers with the ability to control and edit their product data within one central location, allowing consistency to be maintained across many platforms. There are a variety of systems in the marketplace that can act as a single source of information and, critically, can disseminate that information to a variety of audiences.
If you’re just starting out on this journey, here are some key features to look out for to make sure you’re choosing a future-proof platform for your business.
It’s your data, so you should have access to it when you want access to it, right? If you have a product launch, you can take ownership of when changes are communicated to your consumers. The ability to log in to a self-serve portal is vital. It allows you to make changes to dimensions, images etc. as they happen so you can rest assured that your product information is always up to date and enriched. It’s also helpful to have multiple users across your company so that you can all work on the same database.
You’ll want to make sure that all your hard work is paying off. If no one is requesting your data then you’re wasting your time so make sure that your PIM system has a feedback system that can identify where you have product gaps, how often your information is being digested by your customers and who your customers are.
This is a huge differentiator between PIM systems and it basically means where does that information go? Who is going to consume your data on that platform? It’s worth thinking about where your customers (wholesalers, contractors, specifiers) go to find information on your products, since a PIM system could cut out the middle man. This ability to communicate your product information directly to your customers, from a single source, is of real value; You only have to keep one source up to date and they only have one place to check.
You may need some help with all this product data. Getting started on a data standardisation journey can seem overwhelming and the information itself can be unwieldy. So ask your PIM provider what quality checks their team do before the information is live to the world. Are there any safety nets? Can they offer you any support? Some data pools have teams of industry experts that are able to give direct feedback to customers. In other instances, the software itself may also be able to identify where you have poor product information, and when you’ve hundreds of line items to manage, a way to prioritise where you spend your time is always helpful.
The construction industry has various mandates around data transparency, consistency and compliance. You’ll need to make sure your PIM system covers the right fields and is being developed so that it’s futureproof for other legislation which may come through in the next few years and beyond.
Good news for customers of Trimble Luckins
And so for some good news… if you already have a listing on LUCKINSlive, you’re nearly there. By using ePim4Luckins, we can supply your data in pre-populated industry standard templates to get you started. It doesn’t seem like such a big lift now, does it?
Get in touch to find out how we can help you take control of your product data or visit go.trimble.com/epim4luckins