Moniek Beolhouwer and Maurice Walravens of Proplanet in the Netherlands

During our ETIM-UK journey, the FAQ from manufacturers and wholesalers is about the best way to collect and store product data, and how “non-technical” product information such as images and video can be integrated.

The answer is a Product Information Management system or PIM.

To help our members and affiliates find a PIM system that’s simple to install, simple to manage, good value for money, and compatible with ETIM classified data, the EDA has been working closely with providers ProPlanet.

Logo for ProPlanet data solutions

Round-table PIM briefings

In October and November 2018 ProPlanet experts Moniek Boelhouwer-de Visser and Maurice Walravens (above) flew into the UK from their Netherlands HQ to chair two lively and interactive briefing sessions for EDA wholesalers and manufacturers.

4 common PIM misconceptions

Here Moniek talks about the most common misconceptions about Product Information Management Systems,

“Businesses believe they can process their ETIM classified product data with an ERP or logistics system. There are four reasons why that does not work effectively:

  1. An ERP does not support the ETIM classification in the background. You always have to adjust new functions and classes. In ProPlanet’s PIM (called DataProcessor) that’s done for you.
  2. In a PIM system you can edit your product data with one single (mass) action.
  3. A PIM is driven by the business itself and you do not need specialist IT knowledge to use it.
  4. A dedicated PIM system can quickly adapt to new sector initiatives like updated BMEcat versions, different ETIM classification structures, publication requirements for datasheets, websites and so on.

“These round table briefings have enabled us to explain to EDA members and affiliates how they can expand their business capabilities, while at the same time saving labour costs and optimizing their company processes.”

October's ProPlanet briefing at the EDA

Above: The first PIM round-table briefing in October 2018.

ProPlanet Roundtable briefing November 2018

Above: Getting to grips with PIM systems, November 2018

Business revolution

Kieran Johnson, Digital Integration Manager (pictured below left with Benjamin Cox) at LEW Electrical Distributors, who attended our November briefing, had this to say,

Kieran Johnson and Ben Cox of LEW Electrical Distributors

“A Product Information Management system, such as ProPlanet, coupled with ETIM-UK standardised product data, will revolutionise our business.

“ETIM-UK would make our business, and my role, much more efficient. We spent the best part of 12 months researching and manually uploading information, images and datasheets for around 8,000 products to drive the launch of our LEW e-commerce app. We research and gather all our product data ourselves, using a massive spreadsheet to house our suppliers’ product data.”

Ivan Hughes (pictured right), Ecommerce Sales Manager at Phase Electrical added,Ivan Hughes, Ecommerce Manager at Phase Electrical

“We source the product data ourselves, and the process differs from manufacturer to manufacturer – from locating PDFs to approaching their sales reps. At Phase we have two databases of product information, one which feeds our website and a second for our internal processes, so there’s a lot of data to manage.

“A PIM system would make much more sense for us: so much of our time is spent managing product data when we could be actually selling things.”

PIMs: Giving you the basics

  1. A PIM is a structured database that holds your product data and serves it up into websites and catalogues.
  2. With several PIM options on the market, make sure it can accept ETIM classified data without any work-arounds.
  3. Images, videos, multi-media files, PDF data sheets etc. are stored in a MAM (Media Asset Management) or DAM (Digital Asset Management) system. ProPlanet’s DAM is called eezybridge.
  4. MAMs or DAMs can also store Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), BIM product data templates and any photo-metric data that might be used in lighting design.