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TOP 15 Things That You Need to Know About Product Data Management

7 min read
Published: October 18, 2023
Updated: March 20, 2024

Before eCommerce came along, people discovered products through catalogs or by visiting stores. Nowadays, when it comes to products, it’s all about features, descriptions, images, and videos vying for attention on the Internet. Lots of brands handle this information using spreadsheets or specialized tools for product management, often separate from their marketing systems.

The folks running online stores are always stuck entering tons of data into various tools for project management, digital assets, and eCommerce promotions. This kind of repetitive and time-consuming task raises the risk of giving customers the wrong info. That’s where PIM comes in to save the day.

Let’s explore the top 15 things you should know about Product Data Management, shedding light on its significance, benefits, and functioning.

#1. What is product data management?

Product Data Management (PDM) is a system and process for effectively capturing, organizing, and managing all data and information related to a product throughout its lifecycle, from design and development to manufacturing and distribution. PDM systems are essential for maintaining data accuracy, ensuring product quality, and optimizing collaboration in industries with complex product design and development requirements.

#2. What are the Benefits of Product Data Management Software?

Product Data Management software offers a plethora of advantages. Firstly, it guarantees data accuracy and consistency, reducing costly errors and customer dissatisfaction. Secondly, PDM software promotes collaboration by allowing teams to work on the same data repository. This results in faster product development cycles and time-to-market.

Moreover, it supports multi-channel publishing, which is essential in today’s omni-channel retail environment. PDM enhances data security and compliance, ensuring that sensitive product information is handled with care. It also provides valuable insights into product performance, enabling data-driven decision-making.

#3. How Does Product Data Management Work?

PDM systems work by centralizing product data and standardizing it, ensuring that everyone involved uses a single source of truth. They facilitate data enrichment, allowing for the addition of multimedia assets and translations. Workflow and collaboration product data management tools in systems streamline data creation and modification processes, with version control ensuring a history of changes.

PDM software often integrates with other systems like eCommerce platforms, ERP systems, and CRM tools to enable a seamless flow of data across an organization.

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#4. What data can you manage with PIM?

Product Information Management (PIM) is a robust solution for managing a wide array of data related to a company’s products. This data includes product attributes, descriptions, pricing, images, videos, technical specifications, and more. PIM systems offer a centralized repository to store, organize, and enrich product information, ensuring that it is consistent, accurate, and up-to-date across all sales channels.

By managing this diverse set of data, PIM empowers businesses to present their products consistently to customers, enhancing the overall shopping experience and driving sales.

#5. What Is the Primary Goal of PDM?

The primary goal of Product Data Management (PDM) is to ensure that accurate and up-to-date product data is available to all relevant stakeholders within an organization. PDM systems primarily focus on the technical aspects of product data, encompassing design, engineering, manufacturing, and documentation.

By centralizing and managing this critical information, PDM aims to improve collaboration, reduce errors, enhance efficiency, and ensure that product development and production processes run smoothly.

#6. What Businesses Need a PIM System?

PIM systems are invaluable for businesses dealing with a substantial product catalog, especially in industries such as eCommerce, retail, manufacturing, distribution, and more. Any organization that markets and sells products through multiple channels, including online and offline, can benefit from a PIM system.

It is particularly beneficial for businesses that frequently introduce new products, update existing ones, or operate in global markets where localization and data consistency are critical.

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eCommerce PIM PIM software product data product experience management product information management

#7. How Does PDM Enhance Collaboration Among Teams?

PDM enhances collaboration among cross-functional teams by providing a central platform for product design, development, and documentation. It offers features like version control, access control, and workflow management, which ensure that the right stakeholders have access to the most recent product data.

This not only reduces the risk of errors resulting from outdated information but also fosters seamless collaboration among teams working on various aspects of product development, including design, engineering, production, and quality control.

By streamlining communication and data sharing, PDM contributes to more efficient and synchronized product development processes, ultimately leading to better product quality and faster time-to-market.
Sergey Shvets
Sergii Shvets
Founder & CEO at Gepard

#8. Can product data management help with regulatory compliance?

Yes, product data management systems are invaluable in helping businesses adhere to industry and government regulations. They enable companies to centralize and manage product-related information, ensuring compliance with various standards and requirements. Here, we’ll explore how PDM systems are relevant in the context of three specific regulatory compliance areas: EPREL, GS1, and Domibus.

EPREL

EPREL is a European Union database established to support the implementation of energy labeling regulations for energy-related products. PDM systems can assist manufacturers and retailers in complying with EPREL by efficiently managing and providing access to product data required for energy labeling. This includes data on energy efficiency, product dimensions, and other relevant information. With a PDM system, businesses can streamline the collection, validation, and submission of this data, ensuring compliance with EU energy labeling requirements.

GS1 Standards

GS1 is a global organization that sets standards for product identification and barcoding. Compliance with GS1 standards is essential for businesses involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and retail of products.

PDM systems can help companies maintain accurate and consistent product data, including GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) information, which is vital for GS1 compliance. By ensuring that product data aligns with GS1 standards, PDM systems facilitate smooth cross-border trade and foster interoperability within the global supply chain.

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Domibus

Domibus is a secure data exchange system used by European Union institutions and agencies for transmitting sensitive data and documents. In industries where compliance with the European Commission’s data security and exchange standards is required, PDM systems can aid in securely managing product data that may be exchanged via Domibus. PDM solutions can incorporate encryption, access controls, and audit trails to maintain data integrity and confidentiality in alignment with Domibus requirements.

#9. What are the key features of a product data management system?

A product data management system is a crucial tool for businesses involved in product design, manufacturing, and distribution. It serves as a centralized hub for managing all product-related data and plays a pivotal role in ensuring product information accuracy, accessibility, and collaboration across various teams and departments. The key features of a PDM system can be summarized as follows:

  • Data Centralization. At the core of a PDM system is the ability to centralize all product data, including specifications, CAD files, bills of materials, and other crucial information. This ensures that all stakeholders have access to the latest, accurate data, reducing errors and miscommunications.
  • Version Control. PDM systems allow for robust version control, enabling teams to track changes, revisions, and updates to product data. This ensures that everyone is working with the most current information, which is critical in product development and manufacturing.
  • Collaboration Tools. DM systems facilitate collaboration among cross-functional teams. They provide features for document sharing, commenting, and approval workflows, streamlining the product development process.
  • Access Control. Security is paramount, and PDM systems include access control features, allowing organizations to restrict who can view, edit, and modify sensitive product data. This is particularly important when dealing with proprietary or confidential information.
  • Data Search and Retrieval. PDM systems offer advanced search capabilities to quickly locate specific product data. This feature is essential when managing vast amounts of information associated with various products.
  • Integration. PDM systems often integrate with Computer-Aided Design software,
  • ERP systems, and other tools used in product development and manufacturing. This ensures a seamless flow of data across the organization.
  • Change Management. Change management features allow teams to document and track changes to product data, ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • Audit Trail. PDM systems maintain an audit trail of all actions and changes made to product data, which is invaluable for compliance and auditing purposes.
  • Product Lifecycle Management Integration. Some PDM systems integrate with PLM systems to provide end-to-end management of the product lifecycle, from concept to retirement.

#10. How can a business get started with PDM implementation?

To initiate a (PDM) Product Data Management implementation, a business should begin by defining its unique needs and objectives. This involves a comprehensive assessment of current data management processes and identifying pain points that a PDM system can address. Once these requirements are clear, the next step is to research and evaluate PDM solutions available in the market.

Collaborating with experts or consultants in PDM is highly recommended, as they can provide valuable insights, guide you in selecting the right solution, and assist in the implementation process. Effective communication with key stakeholders and a well-defined roadmap are crucial for a smooth and successful PDM implementation, ensuring that the system aligns seamlessly with your business’s goals.

#11. What are the differences between PDM and MDM or ERP?

Product data management, master data management, and ERP systems serve distinct purposes within an organization. PDM primarily focuses on managing product-related information, such as design, engineering data, and product specifications.

MDM, on the other hand, centralizes a broader range of master data, including customer, vendor, and employee information, for consistency and accuracy. ERP systems encompass a wide range of business processes, including financials, human resources, and inventory management, in addition to product data. While PDM and MDM are more specialized, ERP systems offer comprehensive tools for managing various aspects of a business.

#12. Is a cloud-based product data management platform an option?

Yes, cloud-based PDM solutions have gained popularity due to their flexibility and scalability. Cloud-based PDM systems offer the advantage of accessibility from anywhere, making them suitable for distributed teams and businesses with remote work environments.

One example of a cloud-based PDM solution is Gepard PIM, which facilitates efficient data-driven product management through a cloud infrastructure, enabling businesses to streamline product information across various channels, collaborate effectively, and stay up to date with industry best practices.

#13. What industries commonly use PDM systems?

PDM systems are most commonly used in industries that heavily rely on product design and development, such as manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and consumer electronics. These industries utilize PDM to centralize and streamline product-related data to support efficient design processes and ensure the quality and consistency of products throughout their lifecycle.

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#14. What challenges can organizations face when implementing PDM?

Organizations may face several challenges when implementing PDM systems, including data migration issues, resistance to change from employees accustomed to legacy processes, and integration complexities with existing software. Ensuring data accuracy and consistency during the transition phase and managing access control and security are also common hurdles.

#15. How does product data management contribute to cost reduction?

Product data management contributes to cost reduction in various ways. By maintaining accurate and up-to-date product data, PDM minimizes errors in product design and specifications, reducing the need for costly rework. It optimizes resources by enabling efficient collaboration, streamlining design and development processes, and preventing duplicated efforts.

PDM’s ability to centralize data also reduces data redundancy and storage costs, while its revision control features help avoid costly manufacturing errors and delays. Overall, PDM enhances productivity and quality, resulting in significant cost savings for organizations.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, effective product data management is a critical component of modern business operations, especially for industries with complex product design and development requirements. By embracing cloud-based PDM solutions and overcoming implementation challenges, organizations can harness the power of efficient data management to drive cost savings, enhance product quality, and improve collaboration and productivity. As the business landscape continues to evolve, PDM will remain a vital tool in ensuring data accuracy, consistency, and competitiveness.

Embracing PDM solutions can lead to streamlined operations, reduced costs, and a competitive edge in an increasingly data-driven product management world. Therefore, it is recommended that organizations carefully assess their data management needs and consider PDM as a strategic investment in their long-term success.

Yuliia Honcharova
Written by Yuliia Honcharova
Head of Marketing at Gepard
18+ years in Digital Marketing, SEO, SEM. Driving the strategy, planning, and execution of the company's marketing initiatives to achieve its international business objectives. Created and implemented Digital marketing and SEO strategies for businesses in varied domains including eCommerce.

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