Fueling Food Commerce: Food Distributors Drive Operational Excellence with PIM Software Solutions

Today’s food industry is rapidly evolving as consumers shift their shopping preferences and demands. In this challenging commerce environment, food distributors are pressed to put operational excellence into overdrive. To do so, many distribution leaders are setting their strategic sights on PIM software solutions.

Let’s take a look at how food distributors are using Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) to make operations more efficient while delivering enhanced product information and improving the customer experience.

Product Information is the Fuel for Food Commerce

If there’s one major takeaway, it’s this: Food distributors and brands must maintain detailed and accurate product information to remain competitive, efficient and transparent.

There are many challenges that surround the life of a food distributor. First, consumers demand endless options and information about the products they buy. Therefore, compelling these “engaged” shoppers to choose your product requires a new mindset and set of tools.

Meanwhile, distributors must also work to address government regulations, efficiency demands, logistical complexities, and expansion opportunities.

From ingredients and images to master specifications, clear and accurate product information is critical to differentiate in a competitive market. The reality is, product information is the fuel that powers food commerce. Yet as the demand for product content grows – and the content becomes more complex – food distributors are challenged to keep product information continuously updated and consistent across every channel. Here are a few of the top challenges distribution companies face:

#1: Food product content must be clear and compliant

Distributors must conduct business responsibly and sustainably, every day. Providing customers with quality products while remaining responsible involves a high level of product traceability and transparency. That’s why maintaining accurate, consistent and up-to-date product information is critical. Not just for business success. But for the health and safety of everyone who consumes, produces and delivers the products.

#2: Distributor content must help streamline logistics, inventory and cost

The food and beverage industry is extremely time-sensitive. Many products need to ship and be in the store by a certain date or they become unusable, i.e. unsellable. Therefore, distributors must have a highly-visible and effective system to control and monitor inventory and product data in real-time. Up-to-date product information helps control costs while selling, marketing and quickly distributing food products to a variety of establishments and customers.

#3: Product data must be accurate and accessible

Distributors routinely handle thousands or even millions of product SKUs. What’s more, each SKU and its content often appear in unique configurations. And, this typically varies across trading partners, retailers and direct-to-consumer marketplaces.

Therefore, product content and data must be accurate and accessible from a central source. This helps distributors quickly on-board products to a catalog, collaborate with suppliers and product teams, and makes the content available to retailers and consumer marketplaces in consistent and consumable formats.

#3: Product content must inform and inspire across channels

Food distributors, manufacturers and retailers must represent each product they offer, in detail, across every shopping and communication channel. What does this look like? To start, each product should be displayed using several high-resolution images and, in many cases, marketing or tutorial videos. Peer reviews and marketing claims should also be included, along with possibly hundreds of product attributes. For example, nutrition, ingredients, allergens, weight, dimension, warnings, and more. Finally, this information must be available on product packaging, via consumer marketplaces, websites, mobile aps, and in the store.

A Recipe for Success: Why Food Distributors Turn to PIM and MDM Solutions

Many organizations still rely on manual processes and “home-grown” back-office systems and spreadsheets. These outdated systems simply can’t keep up with the growing demand for high-quality, consistent, accurate product content and data. That’s why many beverage and food distributors are turning to PIM and MDM solutions to help them:

Ensure a consistent experience across touchpoints: A PIM solution helps deliver accurate, consistent, and dynamically-linked product content to create differentiated, on-brand customer experiences.

Easily adapt to crucial industry initiatives: A PIM solution also helps manage compliance with many food and beverage regulatory obligations, and expedites response time to recalls or updates based on product safety, compliance, or for public relations reasons.

Achieve a single view of trusted product information: PIM and MDM solutions provide a central repository to gather, cleanse and synchronize data. This “single view” of content empowers internal departments to make proactive business decisions regarding supply and demand.

Effortlessly manage an array of visual assets: In food, an image is worth a thousand words. A PIM solution with integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) allows companies to easily incorporate documents, images, audio and video files into your content assets.

Reduce time-to-market for new products and expanded catalogs: A PIM software solution also eases the process to introduce new items. Companies can disseminate details across every channel. Or, be syndicated to external data pools managed by trading partners or industry groups, like the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).

Collaborate easily with suppliers and manufacturers: A PIM solution with integrated portals for content sharing empowers partners to proactively and systematically contribute vital information and assets.

Ready to Drive?

So, can you envision your company driving true operational excellence with a PIM software solution? Talk to us.

EnterWorks’ customers include some of the largest distributors, manufacturers and wholesalers in the world. These companies use EnterWorks PIM/MDM market-leading software with DAM and Vendor Portal to import product information faster, enrich it through enterprise collaboration, and deliver it automatically in the format required by each selling channel.

To learn more the EnterWorks Enable™ solution for food distributors, visit our solution site or read our “Enable for Distribution” overview.

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.