How to control the product information in big companies
Almost all the big companies and multinationals have common issues with the product information: lots of product versions, different markets and distribution areas, different data sources and information control units and agreements with third parties and departments.
The main goals of the management strategy are improving product planning, team collaboration and communication between all the parties involved, internal or external to the company. For that matter there are different types of software, but it’s also essential to have a good pack of basic skills. We are gonna see them both.
Kinds of softwares to guarantee product information control
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
A ERP is the heart of the company. It organizes all the central management of the enterprise and is connected to all other services and processes (logistic, sales, product materials, planning, accounting and production).
A professional ERP system is necessary to guarantee an efficient organization and backup copies in case of emergency.
PIM (Product Information Management)
PIM is a software extension that integrates with the online trading platform chosen by a company (such as Magento, Prestashop, Shopify or WooCommerce).
A PIM system centralizes all product data from various sources, both inside the company and third parties. It not only collects the information, but enriches it by detecting omissions and errors in data fields and between different versions of a catalog (like several languages or versions of a printed catalog). A PIM also automates all manual processes saving time and efforts, and address complex tasks in minutes, like adding information in bulk to InDesign or filling marketplaces product templates such as Amazon.
CMS (Catalog Management System)
A CMS system is a useful tool to centralize catalog management in an omnichannel strategy and give the same information to all the internal departments, distributors and sales reps.
If a business has a lot of channels, this software can control prices, sales, stock and inventory, data and communication with shipment companies, and customer feedback.
DAM (Digital Asset Management)
Big companies manage a large volume of images, videos, audios, logos and files shared on different channels and platforms, and a DAM system is useful to maintain control of all those materials and ensure that it shows a uniform image to the world.
A DAM system is the type of software that keeps all files organized and makes it easy to quickly locate them.
PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)
Product Lifecycle Management is a transversal process of monitoring, control and scrutiny on the life cycle of a product. It’s a useful process that contemplates the entire life of a product and checks the status of every phase: design, creation, production, marketing, sales and distribution (and identifies the obsolescence of products on sale).
MDM (Master Data Management)
Data Management (DM), Master Data Management (MDM) or Database Management (DBM) systems are heterogeneous multiplatform management tools capable of ensuring a rigorous storage, synchronization, analysis and distribution of the company’s data.
The key of these processes is automation, which saves time and costs and eliminates redundancies and errors in databases, as well as providing the ability to send this information to other channels or third parties involved.
Best practices for product management
As said, a software is a good ally to drive a good product information control, but it’s essential to have a good pack of basic skills. These are the best practices of product management:
- Don’t wait until the end: a Product Manager should know the product from the very beginning, collecting information and impressions during the design phase and before manufacture.
- Know your niche: every type of product and target audience has different trends. Keep up to date with demands, trending topics and controversies and know your own product: use it, observe how others react to it and perform preliminary tests with study groups.
- Keep learning: you must know everything about your company and treat the work of all the departments with respect. It will give you enormous value as a PM and will make your responses more precise.
- Automate and enrich product information: your job should be positioning the product as best as possible, not babysitting the company. Automate a big part of your work with a specialized software and get rid of repetitive tasks and common mistakes.
- Study your competitors: investigate what are the usual complaints of your competition’s clients, what values stand out as positive in them, what are their strengths, and find a new angle to make your products shine.
- Keep an eye on the goal: you must be very clear about the quantitative and qualitative aims of the company and what they want to achieve with this product.
- Read the past: before setting new goals, sit down with all available data of closed or still open campaigns and launchings, and see what you should repeat and what to avoid.