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Understanding the benefits of product information management software

How would you suggest my team present the benefits of product information management (PIM) software to our managers? I'm in retail, in the U.K.

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Well, I'll give you the trite answer first, only because I care about you and I want to see you succeed. Here goes: "What problem are you trying to solve?"

It sounds to me that there's no consensus (yet) about how product information management (PIM) software can benefit your company. So, you're going to need to educate your management on what these benefits could be. In our experience, companies like yours have multiple product catalogs, each representing itself as the "master." Would consolidating these catalogs into a common, reconciled "master" product list drive efficiencies? Would it make the life of your field sales reps and merchandisers easier? Would reconciling and formalizing your product hierarchies streamline your supply chain? What about managing your inventory more effectively because products will be identifiable in a straight-foward way? Are these potential benefits of product information management software? You bet, four times over.

I suggest that you start by not only identifying the problem (Ex. having different terms representing those round things that go on the bottom of cars and roll so that the cars move, and since you're in the U.K. you call it "tyre"?) but how solving the problem would help make people's jobs easier ("I can type it in the way I like to spell it") or run the business better ("Wow, we'll finally have accurate sales reports for those round things that make the cars move!!!") are two great places to start.

Absolutely, there are benefits of product information management software. You just have to determine what you need them to be.

This was first published in August 2008

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