7 signs that a business could use a PIM

Product information spread throughout an organization in multiple repositories is a telltale sign that a business could use a Product Information Management system.

1. Product information is scattered throughout the organization

Pieces of product information that are spread throughout systems and organizations is the number one indicator that a business needs a Product Information Management System.

If some of the product information is in a spreadsheet and some is in an ERP or Business Management System and more still is just in someone’s desk or brain then it’s hard to have a complete picture of product information, reducing efficiency.

2. Colleagues spend a lot of time looking for product information

If colleagues spend a lot of time looking for product information, that’s a sign that a business could use a Product Information Management system.

Colleagues will spend a lot of time looking for product information if it resides in several different locations instead of one central PIM, and sometimes no one’s sure where to find each piece.

3. There is conflicting product information, and it’s hard to tell which information is right

Here’s just one of many ways that information can go bad: All of the pricing information is on a spreadsheet. Colleague A emails the spreadsheet to colleague B as an attachment, and now there are two repositories for pricing. Colleague A then updates his or her spreadsheet, and now there aren’t just two repositories but two repositories that contradict one another.

The problem multiplies from there. Every time the spreadsheet gets emailed, there’s a new repository. And every time one gets updated, there is new conflicting information. Without a Product Information Management System, it gets hard to figure out just where the master product information resides.

4. Information is stored in inconsistent formats

When information is in different places, it’s also often in different formats. It’s possible that one person is storing product IDs as SKUs in a business management system while another stores them ISBNs in a spreadsheet and another stores them as UPCs on a sheet of paper.

It’s going to take a person a while to determine that the three different numbers all refer to the same product. It will be even harder for a software system to automatically process that data.

Well-defined electronic information in consistent formats stored in one master location like a Product Information Management system is the baseline for efficient processing whether by people or by computers.

5. Discovering mistakes after the sale

Mistakes discovered post-sale often stem from a need for a Product Information Management system.

If a sales rep has an outdated version of the pricing chart, an item that was supposed to have a certain margin might return a lesser margin or, worse, get sold below cost. If the rep doesn’t have product information that reflects a required extra line item like a tape creation charge, that’s another way to undersell an item.

A PIM would have complete, accurate, up-to-date information all in one place to prevent information errors like these.

6. Customers receiving inaccurate information

Offering a customer something that can’t be delivered is one fast way to cause dissatisfaction.

Maybe a sales rep uses an outdated chart to provide a quote that can’t be honored. Maybe an item is listed as available even though it’s not in inventory. Maybe a customer is offered four-color printing when the item really only lends itself to spot color.

These are all ways to offer the customer more than can be delivered. And they all trace back to inaccurate or incomplete product information that could have been solved by a Product Information Management system.

7. Customers receiving inaccurate orders

Customers receiving inaccurate orders is another potential sign that a business needs a Product Information Management system.

If a SKU is recorded in multiple locations and one listing is off by a digit, the customer might receive apparel in a wrong size or color. If an item has an error in its product configuration rules, the customer may receive drinkware that’s imprinted somewhere other than the customer specified.

These errors can be prevented with improved product information management.

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The Essent Product Information Management System is built into the Essent Business Management System to drive business efficiency. The PIM integrates with powerful commerce engines to run the critical parts of business from CRM, to quoting, to ordering all the way out to invoicing and accounting and beyond. Learn more about the EssentOne™ Business Management System.

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