Is it possible to share the same product repository and classifier both for buyers and for sellers from different countries and different industries? What features should Product Information Management (PIM) systems have to do so?
Today there are only a few good examples: GS1 and IceCat in FMCG. Some experts could mention UN SPSC, which was initially developed for statistical needs. However, its application in procurement is doubtful.
Clearly, firms have unique requirements to their classifier structures and to the product information. Information that is necessary for one company might be redundant for another. Both abundance of unnecessary details and lack of vital information might reduce process effectiveness. Therefore, companies need customized product templates (item identification guides in ISO 8000 terminology) for items of procurement, items of production, and items of supply.
On the other hand, holding structures, public authorities, electronic trading platforms require complete and unified product data. Global sourcing and integrated supply chain management require a solution that allows defining any given product unambiguously despite the differences in those product templates.
Combination of unification and customization in a single solution becomes a great challenge for PIM software.
To address those problems Actualog uses concepts of international standards: ISO 8000 (Data Quality), ISO 22 745 (Open Technical Dictionary) and ISO 29 002 (Exchange of characteristic data). This combination of approaches enables to define a structure and procedures to maintain complete information about classes (categories), characteristics (attributes), companies, measures and units of measurement.
In addition to product template customization at the company level, we should mention the necessity to support national standards when defining product characteristics. Different standards such as ANSI, DIN and GOST very often give different definitions and lists of values for the same characteristics. It is also essential to support national templates for product names.