How a PIM System Makes Product Content Management Simple?
PIM System Makes Product Content Management Simple
The use of out-of-date tools by manufacturers and distributors to post product information to eCommerce platforms is both time-consuming and potentially dangerous. In a late conversation with an eCommerce content specialist, who is routinely engaged to put up new storefronts, she presented a recent case study in which a capable project management system would have saved time and effort.
Okay, so who kept the product information a secret?
The chief marketing officer of an industrial tool maker durable to build up a storefront on his company’s website so that consumers could purchase new parts for their instruments directly from the company. Third-party distributors made it simple to obtain these components on short notice.
The following remarks from the project’s main e-commerce manager help to clarify the scope of the task:
“We want our customers to come to us first when they need replacement components for our tools,” says the company. At the moment, they do not because everything is made to order through our customer care department. Due to the fact that it is so much easier for them to obtain a new drive belt from a distributor, we miss out on possibilities.”
The company says it has more than 50,000 replacement parts for its tool brands on hand. I’d like to concentrate on the top 10,000 SKUs — the best-selling items in our inventory. We want to differentiate ourselves from the competition by giving better product descriptions than the distributors. Despite the fact that we are manufacturers of these instruments, we are unable to provide original documentation in any useful form. We’ve also lost nearly all of the “old guard,” which consisted of the engineers who designed the tools and were intimately familiar with them. It appears that there is no one remaining who can arrange answers.
“We don’t have any proprietary software.” For the time being, we can only generate a spreadsheet with part numbers. But, unfortunately, we do not have a more effective [product information] system.”
There aren’t any specifics. There were no experts in attendance. Spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel. Is this something you’ve heard before?
With time and effort, the business had assembled a diverse portfolio of tool manufacturing companies to which it could turn. Acquisitions invariably result in personnel reductions, which results in the loss of valuable information. The CMO intended to take advantage of a marketing channel that was currently available.
The eCommerce team attempted to conclude the project on their own but was unable to do so due to the project’s size and scope. Outsourcing made the most sense because it allowed the eCommerce team to concentrate on a larger action to standardise and upgrade the autonomous websites of the three brands in question, which was completed successfully. Manual product information management proved to be too much for the internal team to stem effectively.
Reverse engineering product information is a time-consuming and labor-intensive manual process.
It took a long time to upgrade 10,000 SKUs, in part because the organisation did not have direct access to its product information through a PIM Software. It takes the following steps to bring everything together:
In the first instance, request that the sales staff compile a list of the 10,000 most popular SKUs (not trivial).
Afterwards, you should request a data export of these SKUs and their part names from the company’s primary marketing agency, who “hosted” this information in their proprietary content management system. (Each and every update to product information has to be approved by the agency.
Third, make certain that the transport accurately matched the part numbers, part names, and sales figures in the database.
They provided professional-grade woodworking and metalworking tools, such as lathes, band saws, sanders, vises, and other free-standing and tabletop shop tools; hoists; trucks; and pneumatic tools, among other things.
There were nearly all of the component parts included in the replacement parts, which ranged from model-specific motors and housings to commonplace items that could be found on hundreds of different models, such as O-rings and washers, screws and nuts, handles, springs and V-belts, wheels and ball manner.
As part of an unusual downstream move, two distributor websites were identified as sources for part details. It appeared strange that a manufacturer would rely on distributor information to provide part details. It was suggested by the eCommerce team that you “start with their items and see what you can accomplish,” adding that “we don’t know how you can fancy up a flat washer.” The product names that were provided by the team were exactly what they claimed. A few examples include BUSHING, JAW INS ASSY, 10/32 X 1/2 SOC. HD CAP SCREW, CLLR NUT, 1/2′′ DRILL CHUCK 3/8-24TPI W/KEY, and more. Yes, that is a bare minimum.
Several distributor websites assisted in putting together some of the product photographs. A search on Google for the brand name and part number turned up further pieces of the product information puzzle to complete the picture. As expected, the product names and descriptions were essentially identical to those establish on nearly every other website, which comes as no surprise. It was almost certain that they were all using the same content aggregator.
To underline how time-consuming the information-gathering process may be, consider the following
Several primary tools, as well as numbered callouts for replacement parts, were included by one distributor, making it possible to verify that at least one exact tool was compatible with a given item. It was possible to check the sizes of the microscopic elements on this website because they were shown against a one-inch square grid background grid.
The “For Use with These Tools” links on another website allowed us to nominate the part to numerous models that were all compatible with each other. Information regarding replacing the part or performing the function was frequently available on both websites.
Separate sections were created for each item on the list. In the first place, by part name, which allows for the formulation of consistent descriptions, which is especially important for common parts that come in a mixture of sizes like screws, washers, nuts, and belts. Following that, the part numbers were sorted. One manufacturer incorporated the model number into the part number, making it easier to event components from one manufacturer to another. The other two brands were found to have numbering patterns that were similar to the first.
It was possible to identify at least one unique tool model for around two-thirds of the SKUs on the list, which is a good result. A declaration stating that the part in question was a certified Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part built to the brand’s exact requirements was included with all SKUs, including common items such as screws, washers, and nuts. If the customer ordered parts based on the owner’s manual as a guide, there would be little risk of making a miscalculation. The following is an example of a completed project:
For use with the Brand X Model Z Sander, use drive belt #16. Rubber. This replacement part is made by the same company that created the original. Please Assign to your owner’s manual and model schematics for installation instructions and tools, as well as for information on associated parts and safety considerations.
Despite the difficulties, there is a glimmer of optimism at the end of the tunnel.
It took 10 weeks to deliver the 10,000 updated descriptions, which enabled the eCommerce team to launch their Replacement Parts Store web site on time and with no problems. However, this is easily the tip of the iceberg in terms of 50K SKUs.
How a PIM System Makes Product Content Management Simple?
As a event of this manufacturer’s (not uncommon) history, a product information management system (PIM) could have assisted in improving the product text by applying validation and automation rules to backfill attributes from data contained within the product names, and it could have significantly sped up the workflow by:
Automatically merging part numbers and names with prices and sales data, swiftly exporting this data from the PIM, and quickly integrating the completed descriptions back into the PIM Tool for upload to the website are all examples of what we can do.
Another option would have been for the eCommerce team to operate directly within the PIM itself, eliminating the requirement for an outside business. It would have been easier to identify pieces with unclear names if the products had been seen in the situation of the taxonomy.
Furthermore, PIM capabilities would have allowed anyone working on the project to collect high-quality product photos and other visual assets for use on the project’s website. If this company is successful in obtaining owner’s manuals and other supporting documents from their manufacturing plants, these materials may be uploaded to the website in the future.
The use of a Product Information Software is extremely beneficial for both manufacturers and distributors. Using PIM, a company may position itself as the “Source of Truth” for its products and communicate correct information to customers through all customer channels, including its distributors, without having to remake the wheel.
Product information management (PIM) enables distributors who sell items from hundreds or thousands of manufacturers to hold tens of thousands (or millions) of SKUs and provide the most customer-friendly experience possible, allowing them to acquire a competitive advantage.
To discover more about what Questudio’s PIM solution can achieve for your company, please visit our PIM solution page or contact us for additional information.