Manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors are making their products available on an increasing number of marketing and sales channels. What are the main challenges and how can they be overcome?
Construction product information management is evolving and so are the ways products are researched, procured and maintained. Stakeholders are moving towards standardising their product data for long and short term goals.
Where are we now and where do we need to get to?
Product information management has come a long way. Email and Excel revolutionised the ability to manage and share product data across multiple channels such as catalogues, databases and digital commerce. As these channels increase a single source of truth for product information management could be the next step.
What are the main barriers to improving product information management?
Short term wins need to be in-line with long term goals to encourage stakeholders to take action. The advantages of longer term goals alone such as being ready to adapt to new regulations and technological advancements may not be enough to incentivise improvements. Operational advantages gained from better product information management can also support industry-wide long term objectives such as the golden thread principle.
What are the operational advantages of streamlining product data?
Structuring product data in a single place for organisational stakeholders to manage and syndicate simplifies workflows and reduces human error. Products get to market faster leaving more time to enrich product information on channels like BIM and ecommerce.
How can unified product data improve customer experience?
Advancement in search technology is making the research, procurement and maintenance of products much easier for customers. This could be made infinitely better by increased industry-wide product data standardisation. By starting this practice within single organisations friction is then reduced during the product life cycle for end users.
How measurable are the effects of improved product information management?
Long term wins include compliance, digital transformation and brand management. While these game changing improvements are significant they may be difficult to accurately forecast a return on improved product information management there is little doubt that time to market is vastly improved by using a unified data model with a single source of truth for product data.