Cooperatives & Member Groups: Product Information Management is for You, Too

Cooperatives, member groups, and industry associations: Did you know Product Information Management (PIM) is tailored for you, too? There are groups and co-ops who are already leveraging PIM and Master Data Management (MDM) solutions to transform the way their members collaborate. Together, they are generating powerful content, sharing digital assets, and benefiting from instant access to consistent, up-to-date product data and descriptions. Could your organization be next?

A Single Source of Product Information for All Members

As a co-op or member group, you already understand the importance of a strong “central source” of information. After all, that’s the essence of your organization. Your group serves as a hub for your industry, governed by members in the pursuit of efficiency and excellence. So, should you really accept any less from the product data and content that drives performance and sales?

When it comes to member groups, the magic of MDM and PIM is that the solutions 1) address an existing operational issue, and 2) create new value and opportunity as a perk for members.

Associations and groups have unique needs. That’s why the type of PIM or MDM solution you choose can make or break your implementation. Let’s address a few top questions we get from groups regarding PIM/MDM solutions.

We have problems with product data. How does a PIM/MDM solution address our challenges?

No matter what industry you’re in, you know what it’s like to locate products when every company has their own part naming conventions. Typically, a part name for a distributor or store will be different than the supplier’s part name. The manufacturer’s naming may differ as well.

Even once you locate the product, the information may be out-of-date or missing altogether. Throw in countless product options and attributes, and the result is a mess of inconsistent information that slows down operations for all your members.

The fact is, unreliable product data leads to lost sales, customer dissatisfaction, unnecessary expense, wasted resources, and inefficiencies. However, now co-ops and member groups have a chance to remedy the issue by providing their members with a PIM or MDM solution. As a central repository of data, the solution gathers, cleanses and synchronizes all product information.

Is there flexibility with how our members can pull or receive information?

Members can utilize the PIM/MDM solution in a number of ways. When a customer desires a specific product, the member can search for it and find it easily from any supplier. They can also subscribe to data feeds according to their needs. This ensures they have constant, up-to-date information supplied by manufacturers and vendors. A PIM solution also enhances product details and descriptions with shared images and digital assets. Members can access these assets to use for selling and promotions.

Take the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) for example. They recently announced Cross Check, a new product cross-reference service for their members from DATAgility, powered by EnterWorks. According to Tom Naber, NAED President and CEO, “Electrical distributors need an efficient way to populate their business systems and e-commerce platforms with cross reference information. Cross Check gives distributors the capability to enhance their relationships with their customers by providing suggested product alternatives in a timely manner.”

What additional value does a PIM/MDM solution provide to our members?

Many associations and groups are utilizing funds and member fees to offer the value of content services as a “membership perk.” With a PIM or MDM solution, groups have the ability to streamline the process of product content management for members who may not be able to handle such a large task on their own.

Having a PIM/MDM solution in place can also improve relationships and buying options between suppliers and the member group. For example, suppliers prefer to work within one system instead of the time-consuming process of communicating with each individual member. With a PIM solution’s Vendor Portal, suppliers can feed data and media assets on all products, to all members, within a single system. Furthermore, by giving the member better visibility and the option to buy from multiple suppliers, it ensures access to the best price and enables them to offer more products to their customers.  As a result, member groups are able to negotiate better deals and bulk orders with suppliers.

How do we select the right MDM or PIM solution for our group?

Most groups consider speed-to-market and a lower cost of ownership major factors. Your group should also consider how the technology solution manages complex relationships across products, assets, suppliers, members and the group itself. Ultimately, the right PIM and MDM technology should be extremely easy-to-use, flexible with out-of-the-box features, and configurable over time.

We want to deploy a solution, but our members want access to it as quickly as possible. How long does an implementation take?

This varies between PIM/MDM solution providers. Some implementations are quite lengthy, which is unfortunate for associations and groups whose members want a solution right away. Many of our competitors take a year or more to deliver a solution. However, EnterWorks is providing proof of concept in around 30 days. This quick turnaround is made possible because we have an unparalleled capability to deliver a holistic solution that features an easy-to-use interface and solution configurability. We’ve honed the process of onboarding vendors and helping organizations implement a solution that’s successful from the start, yet can grow over time.

So, if your group is looking to quickly deploy an advanced yet easy-to-use PIM/MDM solution, contact us to speak with one of EnterWorks’ implementation experts.

Kerry Young

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.