Pain points for Industrial Distributors and gains from PIM

For industrial  distributors, the current e-commerce landscape offers an increasing number of channel opportunities and ever more targeted and personalised market manipulation. Without PIM, distributors face a significant number of challenges. Not least, the prevalence of enormous product ranges and SKUs with multiple attributes as well as a vast number of diverse partners and suppliers from whom they onboard products. Operational collaboration is sub-optimal due to siloed product data management and substandard data quality. So, what are the most frequently cited pain points for industrial distributors when managing their product information? How can a PIM solve these problems?

Managing large volumes of data

One of the biggest challenges facing industrial manufacturers is adding new channels. Their product catalogs are usually massive in size, meaning more time and effort is needed when updating product information online or adding a new channel. Furthermore, because of the highly technical attributes of many of these products, the average catalog is stuffed with large volumes of information. If operating in international markets, the issue of compliance is challenging without a PIM as manual data manipulation requires more oversight and management.

Solution

Organisations which build a strategy with a PIM as a core component will have a much higher rate of success when managing a large product range with multiple product lines and variants. A centralized product information hub is a agile and responsive way for distributors to maintain consistency across products and channels. Add to that data governance and ease of accessibility for partners, suppliers, agencies and online marketplaces and it levels the playing field when competing against more mature ecommerce operations.

Automated workflows and process management

Diverse departmental teams frequently contribute to compiling product information – for example, manufacturing data such as materials, logistics  and regulatory compliance documentation. In an organisation tending towards siloed information management, these departments may have different norms and protocols for managing processes. These impact badly on the speed and efficiency of product information workflows.

Solution

If these data sources are interlinked and integrated in one PIM system, the result, one source of truth in one location, makes it much easier to fulfil these requirements. Additionally, PIM leverages its power to drive business rules engines and validation workflows. It can automate repetitive, rule-based tasks to enable production of consistent and valid product information.

Industry data formats and data governance

Much manufacturing product data typically exists in industry-specific formats. For suppliers and distributors in the sector, this means better communication lines, lower costs, and faster time-to-market. However, such formats also make it more complex to manage product information and data assets when it comes to deploying an omnichannel strategy.

Solution

PIM functionalities can be designed precisely to manage data in these non-standard formats, helping manufacturers to onboard, organise and export product data more easily, more efficiently and at greater speed.

Data quality

Teams across the organisation manage various ERP, marketing, e-commerce, and financial systems without having a centralised PIM system to nourish sales channels. E-commerce sites may also use multiple, disparate platforms. Consequently, there is no unified and central hub to give teams a ‘golden record’ of product information. This leads to unnecessary processes, duplicated workflows across different markets, poor-quality and inconsistent product information and the ensuing lack of customer experience across online and regional markets.

Solution

A PIM implementation project enables agile processes and procedures. It can identify missing, duplicated or incorrect data as well as framing, maintaining and updating a solid data governance framework, thus eradicating the causes of poor-quality data.

Start with data uses its three-stage approach to PIM and MDM implementation to provide expert analysis, implementation and support. We work with industrial distributors to ensure their PIM solution drives efficiency and provides a competitive edge in a competitive market. Read more about how we have helped Industrial Distributors here