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Are your customers sick of ordering apples and receiving oranges from you? Are you fed up with customers ordering 22 items when your pallets hold 24, or ordering 10 when your cases hold 12? Is your claims department overwhelmed? Research in the UK and Australia has shown that the cost of these problems is massive.

Chances are that the cause of these problems is bad data. As companies come to grips with integrated e-commerce, it has never been more important to have complete and current data about all elements of the products a trading partner sells, and for suppliers to continually share this high quality product data with their customers.

Many companies give the job of maintaining their product data to anyone who has a spare few minutes in their working week. Yet, this is a dangerous and potentially costly approach.

Centralised product data is an important asset of any company’s master data management (MDM) strategy. Increasingly, a centralised repository of product data (often referred to as a Product Information Manager or PIM) is used to feed multiple crucial activities within the company. These include:

  • synchronising product, logistics and pricing information with trading partners
  • feeding online sales systems and websites
  • supporting marketing and sales teams as a central source, not only of data, but images, promotional material, sales collateral and other information
  • updating delivery, warehousing and other supply chain systems

Given the importance of maintaining this crucial asset, it is important that this role is not relegated to a person unsuited to the role by skill, training or available time.

The role requires attention to detail, a knowledge of the company’s product, training in GS1net and other datapool standards and validation rules, and sufficient time and support to perform the task adequately. It is not a role to everyone’s taste. It is a role that requires the full support of the company’s management team.

The former CEO of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, famously said that this area of the business was “a boring subject, with exciting consequences”. Those consequences can be very positive, particularly in reduction of costs, errors and claims. However, the consequences can also be catastrophic and expensive in the hands of someone untrained or unsuited to the role. Incorrect pricing or dimension data, unnoticed for only a day, can quickly lead to delivery delays, out of stock situations, costly financial claims and loss of customers.

While all of the above holds true regardless of how data is maintained, Bizcaps Software solutions simplify the task of entering, validating and synchronising data, in conjunction with publication to datapools such as GS1net and the NPC.