The world of Catalog Management is about to change dramatically, and with the change will come new responsibilities and challenges. Are your Catalog Managers well prepared to handle what’s around the corner? It’s time to “take the lead, and get up to speed.” Here are a few highlights.
Product information has taken on a much broader definition
Once thought to be a limited set of attributes and content to support a publication, Product Information is now taking a strategic role in corporate planning. After all, without products and product information, there is nothing to sell and no way to sell it.
The Market, and Customers, are demanding information more frequently
The dynamics of the marketplace are such that updates to product information, supersession and interchange information, pricing, logistics data and images are a necessity of doing business and are being demanded with frequent regularity – and oftentimes they are wanted “now.” This was the promise of a ‘Connected Workplace’ and e-Commerce. No longer are semi-annual or yearly publications adequate, and no longer is the limited information contained in a printed catalog adequate. ‘Catalog’ is being redefined to incorporate a significantly larger set of data. Thanks to the Internet, ‘Publishing’ is being seen as making new data available at least monthly, if not weekly or even daily.
Catalog Managers will be called upon to manage a greater amount of product information
Traditionally, the IT department has been the keeper of all commercial, transactional information and conveyed it through EDI. However, this centralized approach is too costly and the addition of new industry standards is making the separated processes too unwieldy. As a result, a new management model has been recognized – Product Information Management (PIM) – and Publications Departments (Catalog Managers) are being tasked with the management and publishing of this broader set of market and customer-specific data.
Traditional Catalog Management Systems cannot handle the broader commercial content
Catalog Management Systems in use today (especially in the aftermarket) have been designed primarily for the specialized task of creating publications that match parts to specific vehicle models. They are not designed to handle all the additional attributes, processes, and interfaces with business systems to enable collaborative product information management. Most are not even flexible enough to handle the variety of requirements for images.
Quality PIM Systems will replace traditional Catalog Management Systems
Corporations will be seeking integrated solutions to handle their broader product information requirements. These will be strategic investments that are used collaboratively in the corporation across several disciplines. Product Management, Sales Management, Catalog Management, Pricing Management, and Customer Service are all discipline and process areas which will benefit from their convergence into a single vendor solution.
PIM technology today, like the Pricedex AutoPIM Pro system, incorporates all the standard functions of a traditional Catalog Management System and much more. It includes:
- New Product and Supersession Management
- Pricing Management
- Data Validation and Synchronization
- Image Management
- Cross Media Publishing / XML Publishing Capability
- Industry Standards Compliance (ACES and PIES in the Aftermarket, other Industry Standards elsewhere)