How to Build a Data-Driven Supply Chain with PIM
The modern business environment is fast paced, with the imperative being to get your products to market as fast as you can in order to compete effectively in crowded markets. This speed, plus innovations in the capabilities of technology has meant that supply chains have become more complex and data-driven than ever before. The supply chain of today is no longer simply a question of moving goods from one place to another. It’s about managing multiple stakeholders, optimising operations, and delivering value to end users. Data has been transformational in this evolution, and businesses which effectively leverage their data assets are far better- positioned to succeed in generating sales revenue.
In this insights article, we will examine how a Product Information Management (PIM) solution can enable you to build a data-driven supply chain. Firstly, we’ll briefly define what data-driven means and what modern supply chains do, before moving onto how PIM software can integrate end-to-end supply chain management into your business strategy.
‘Data-driven’ in relation to supply chain
A defining characteristic of ‘data-driven’ is the use of data sets to drive decision-making and operational efficiency. In the context of supply chain, it refers to collecting, storing, analysing, and using data to optimise end-to-end supply chain operations. So, that involves data from and about suppliers, inventory management, production processes, logistics and warehousing, and finally, the information fed to customers across digital and physical sales channels.
Data-driven supply chains use tools for advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence so as to gain actionable insights into operational efficiency in the supply chain. Companies can then make data-driven decisions like optimising inventory levels, predicting demand, reducing lead times and increasing efficiency in shipping.
How data collaboration accelerates your omni-channel success
What does the modern supply chain do?
The end goal of today’s (and tomorrow’s) supply chain is to deliver the right product at the right time in the right quantity at the right cost. Modern supply chains are increasingly complex networks of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and customers. They involve movement of goods, information, and money along various stages of the supply chain.
To do this in the most effective way possible, modern supply chains need three main qualities. They must be:
Supply chains must be able to react and respond quickly to changing demands, market trends, and last but certainly not least, disruptions to the supply chain itself. As a business imperative, they also need to optimise operations, control costs, and minimise wastage.
How PIM Can enhance end-to-end supply chain Management
A PIM helps companies to manage their product information across multiple channels and systems. It takes the form of a centralised repository for all product data, including key content like descriptions, images, specifications, and pricing. Modern PIM systems are also equipped to manage product cataloguing, digital assets, product taxonomy and enrichment of product data to generate channel-ready product information across any and all sales channels.
A major benefit of having a PIM system is its capacity to integrate with other elements of a company’s technology stack to manage supply chain – for instance, it ‘talks’ with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Warehouse Management (WMS), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It’s this integration which enables companies to take a holistic approach to the supply chain from start to finish.
Below are the main ways in which a PIM is foundational in building data-driven supply chains:
1. Improving Data Accuracy and Consistency
One of the biggest challenges in supply chain management is ensuring that product data is accurate, consistent, up to date, reliable, and relevant across all your channels and internal systems. A PIM system solves this problem by providing a ‘single source of truth’ for product data, ensuring that all stakeholders have access to the same information. This reduces errors and inconsistencies and does away with the need to manually process (and often correct or amend) incoming data. It improves data quality and saves time and money.
2. Streamlining product information management
Managing product information across multiple channels and systems has been (and still is for many) a time-consuming and error-strewn set of processes. A PIM system streamlines product information management by automating tasks like data entry, validation, and enrichment. The time and effort previously needed to manage this information is freed up to enable staff to attend to what they are paid to do – supply chain activities, logistics management, or marketing (ensuring the customer experience is the best).
4. Enhancing the customer experience
As we said earlier, the main focus of a data-driven supply chain management must be on delivering added value to customers. A PIM solution does just that by enabling use of accurate, consistent, and high-quality data to create product information across all channels. By providing a seamless customer experience, companies can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. After all, nowadays, the archetypal customer (savvy, discerning, information-hungry) expects no less!
In conclusion, a PIM system is the cornerstone of product data accuracy and consistency which, in turn, streamline product information management, and provide customers with an outstanding experience. Integrating the PIM with other supply chain elements enables efficient and effective end-to-end supply chain management. If you leverage the power of PIM, you’ll be far better positioned to excel, in the marketplace, on your app, on a website or in a physical outlet, by delivering value to customers. Moreover, you will optimise operations, get teams working and collaborating, and reduce costs.
At Start with Data, we specialise in all aspects of Product Information Management, as well as offering a range of managed services around PIM. Get in touch with us for a more in-depth conversation about how we can help to power up your PIM so your supply chain management is data-driven and cutting edge.