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The Digital Shift: Centralising Product Data in the Building Materials Sector

Table of Contents

The building materials sector is a foundational component of the construction industry, and it’s undergoing a transformative digital shift. Centralising product data is emerging as a key strategic move, driving efficiency, sustainability, and competitive advantage in this rapidly evolving market.

The Imperative of Digitisation

Embracing New Technologies: Traditional sales models, reliant on regional sales staff and manual processes, are being replaced by digital solutions. Large enterprises have seen significant increases in revenue by adopting omnichannel and B2B digital platforms. Clearly, there are tangible benefits to embracing digital transformation.

Generational Shift: The rising demand for online purchasing in construction materials reflects a generalised generational change. Digitisation not only meets this growing demand but also enables agility and resilience, especially during economic downturns.

Benefits of Centralising Product Data for Building Materials businesses

At its core, centralisation means consolidating all product-related data into a unified, accessible, and manageable system. This approach is particularly crucial in an industry characterised by a large range of products, complex specifications, highly supply-chain-dependent, and with numerous stakeholders.

  1. Greater efficiency and accuracy: Centralised data eliminates the redundancy and inconsistencies inherent in managing disparate data sources. It means that everyone, from manufacturers to distributors and contractors, is accessing the same single-version, accurate and up-to-date information, resulting in minimal errors and greatly enhanced operational efficiency.
  2. Streamlining compliance and adhering to industry standards: The EU’s Construction Products Regulation (CPR) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) are driving digitisation by requiring standardised, transparent product information. This legislation aligns with the industry’s materials sustainability drive, making technology a crucial tool for measuring and minimising environmental impact, adhering to ESG reporting and meeting industry-wide quality standards. 
  3. Improved decision-making and market responsiveness: Centralised data supports better decision-making by providing a comprehensive view of product information. It enables businesses to respond quickly to market changes and customer demands – the combination of agile and informed decision-making processes optimises the process.
  4. Optimised Supply Chain Management: Logistics play a pivotal role in the building materials industry, and centralised data optimises supply chain transparency and efficiency. It helps businesses make accurate forecasts,  plan demand, and manage their inventory more efficiently. That all means cost savings and reduced waste.
  5. Enhanced Customer Experience: centralised data improves the customer experience because when you provide consistent and reliable product information, it builds trust and credibility with clients who wholly rely on accurate data for the finest detail of their projects.

The Transformation of the Customer Experience

Digital Sales Channels: The ongoing shift to B2B e-commerce platforms in the building materials sector is transforming the customer experience. Intuitive interfaces and advanced search engine optimisation drive customer engagement and streamline the sales process.

Impact on Sustainability: Digitising construction product data is pivotal for achieving sustainability targets and ensuring transparency. This can only foster competition, encouraging businesses to refine manufacturing processes, monitor supply chain,  and reduce their environmental footprint.

The role of PIM/DAM platforms in product data management

Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms are essential tools for centralising product data in the building materials industry. They serve as the backbone for managing, storing, accessing, sharing, and distributing product data efficiently.

  1. Unified data repository: PIM/DAM platforms provide a single source of truth (or ‘Golden Record’) for all product data items, including technical specifications, pricing, imagery, and digital assets of all kinds This central repository ensures the resulting product information is consistent across all channels used.
  2. Data enrichment and management: PIM and DAM platforms allow for the enrichment of product data with detailed descriptions, attributes, and multimedia content, increasing the overall quality, depth, and breadth of information available.
  3. Integration and interoperability: Modern PIM/DAM platforms easily integrate with other business systems (like ERP, CRM, etc.),so you experience a seamless data flow and fully interoperable systems across the organisation.
  4. Market and channel distribution: They enable efficient distribution of product data to various channels, including e-commerce platforms, apps, digital catalogues, and marketplaces. As B2B moves towards omnichannel, that means consistent, up-to-date and timely information for all purchasers.


Practically all PIM and DAM vendors offer cloud-based platforms – SaaS: These provide scalable solutions for storing and managing increasing volumes of product data as well as enabling real-time data access and collaboration among various stakeholders in the building materials supply chain.

Practical tools and software for digital transformation

Technologies like IoT, AI, and BIM systems are part of the digital revolution in the building materials industry. They support everything from manufacturing to logistics, process management and resource control, ensuring that materials are sourced, made and distributed efficiently and sustainably.

In the building materials sector, forward-looking businesses are adopting these technology tools, among which are:

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM): This transformative tool iis more than just 3D modelling. It encompasses the process of generating and managing digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of building materials and products. As such, BIM supports decision-making throughout the construction project lifecycle.
  • Data Analytics and AI: Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms can process and analyse vast sets of product data, providing insights for better decision-making. These technologies will be increasingly vital in forecasting market trends and customer preferences, in addition to optimising inventory management.
  • Internet of Things: IoT devices embedded in construction materials can transmit real-time data about their condition and environment. This technology is key in tracking and managing materials throughout their lifecycle.
  • Blockchain Technology: While not commonly used in this sector, blockchain offers potential for secure, transparent data management across the supply chain, ensuring traceability and authenticity of building materials.

These tools not only create conditions for maximum efficiency in product data management but also contribute to sustainability, regulatory compliance, and better customer experiences in the building materials sector. By exploiting the power and functionalities of these technologies, businesses can manage and deploy their product data to maximum effect, gaining a competitive edge in a one-way journey towards digitally-driven operations.

Building a Future-Ready Industry

Digital transformation in the building materials sector doesn’t just mean adopting new technologies – it’s about the benefits and necessity of centralising product data so companies not only improve operational efficiency and address sustainability issues effectively, but also position themselves at the forefront of an increasingly competitive and environmentally-conscious market. 

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