What are the main challenges in product data synchronization? Why is the quality of the product data so crucial? These and other questions are answered by our partner Bayard Consulting – in particular regarding the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) and Product Information Management (PIM).
What are the challenges facing customers, suppliers and dealers today? What problems need to be solved in relation to PIM and GSDN?
In the age of e-commerce, sustainability and individual well-being (self-care), the consumer demands and expects more and more product information before making purchasing decisions. Also, the ever-increasing digitalization of production, logistics, purchasing and the ever-evolving regulation of the marketplace places continuously higher demands on the quality of product information. In addition to the correct internal processing of product information, retailers are confronted with the challenge of efficiently collecting and controlling the quality of ever more extensive product information from their suppliers. For this purpose, the GS1 globally standardized GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) is the perfect solution for many industries. The GDSN has now been established for over 15 years and the exchange is standardized and regularly adapted to new requirements. The GDSN not only provides the basic data exchange mechanisms, but also ensures the basic data quality. Of course, the industry or supplier side confronted with the same demands from the consumer and from production, logistics and purchasing and sales. In fact, today’s manufacturing and supply industries are even more challenged in having to create the product information and at the same time meet the requirements of their customers in terms of data scope, structuring, formats and protocols. Today, it is no longer possible for the entire industry to manage and implement these requirements efficiently and to the satisfaction of its customers and consumers – at least not without advice from experts specializing in product information; and without a Product Information Management System (PIM), such a global endeavor becomes an impossible task.
The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) enables trading partners to exchange trusted product data worldwide. What does this look like in practice; how should we visualize the exchange between the partners?
In general, the process is simple: The supplier creates and manages its product information in its PIM system and publishes the complete product information via its GDSN data pool. The retailer or data recipient subscribes to the data and receives it from its data pool. The challenges begin when the quality of the supplier’s product information is not sufficient. In the GDSN, there are several levels for precisely such challenges where data quality requirements are defined and checked. When data is submitted to the GDSN data pool, the data quality check is performed according to the basic GDSN rules. Then, for most target markets, there are market-specific data quality rules that are also checked. And -last but not least- the data recipients can define and check their own data quality rules and automatically send the results back to the data provider. The importance of this GSDN data quality is reflected in its worldwide acceptance: For example, data quality checks are currently being established in some countries that retailers have made mandatory. These can be addressed via the GDSN. This illustrates just how important it is that all parties involved establish a professional management of their product information and, if possible, establish a “first time correct” principle – which, as already mentioned, is practically impossible to achieve without PIM and appropriate organization and processes.
What are the general advantages of a GSDN data pool and what are the most important that speak for the Bayard Consulting Group?
The biggest advantage for a manufacturer or supplier to use a GDSN data pool is that, depending on the industry, all relevant retailers worldwide can be reached via one interface. Especially in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, GDSN is now established globally – a great relief to manufacturers having to supply retail customers worldwide. We at Bayard Consulting Group are uniquely positioned to offer not only access to the GDSN via our data pool -b-synced-, but also advice in particular on how internal organization, processes and last, but not least, IT including a PIM system should be set up in order to provide the respective business partners with high-quality product information. And we don’t stop at consulting, but also take care of the implementation from A to Z. This is exactly what I try to make clear to potential customers – the real challenge in exchanging product information is not GDSN, but rather the internal management of product information. This applies to manufacturers and suppliers as well as to trade. Consulting and implementation around PIM, MDM (Master Data Management) and GDSN – this is our core business and our unique selling point.
If the terms GDSN and PIM come together in a project, the question of master data quality is not far behind. What defines master data quality and how is it complemented by the above-mentioned acronyms?
GDSN demands a certain quality of master data and checks it using various validation rules. Three parameters are decisive: completeness, correctness and timeliness of the product information. Using appropriate data models and your own validations, the required data quality can be established in the PIM in advance; this in turn assists in providing correct article master data in the GDSN – as the saying goes: Data quality is the key.