Product Information Management:
Product Information Management (PIM) refers to a systematic/disciplined manner of onboarding and managing the consolidated, centralized, and accurate Product Data, which then can seamlessly be published to multiple internal and external applications like Manufacturing systems and Omnichannel commerce.
PIM plays a critical role in the process of Product life Cycle Management and Supply Chain Management, impacting governance, operations efficiency, productivity, product quality, cost etc.,
Following are the few important elements of PIM
- Consolidate and manage the complete information of the product including its structure, different kinds of attributes and the digital files/attachments
- Cleansed and enriched data centrally
- Distribute data as a single point of truth for an enterprise view
- Can leverage product data by consuming applications, business processes and other supporting systems
Significance and impact of PIM on Manufacturing:
One of the key aspects of a manufacturing enterprise is faster delivery of the product along with the prime quality and cost effective. There may be many factors/bottlenecks in the manufacturing system which impact the time to deliver, cost and productivity. One such major factor is Data availability, accessibility in time and data quality.
This clearly indicates that PIM has an impact on the manufacturing system. Below are few major expectations by Manufacturing system from PIM.
360 degree view of Product data: Provide an accurate and complete valuable product information, on time. This being the single source of truth of the product data, will be referred across the departments, which results in reduction cycle times.
Integration with other systems: Provide facility to integrate with multiple systems/shop floor equipment, which helps in collection, management, and process validations.
Connection with the Trading Partners: System should be flexible enough to have the access/connectivity with the Trading Partners, say Suppliers, who can have direct access to the PIM system, corresponding to all the process associated with the supplier items and other entities. This definitely reduces the lead times in the manufacturing processes.
Automation in data enrichment: Provide an automated way of handling the data enrichment process which is being routed to the different departments who deal with their respective operational/functional behavior of the item/process.
Couple of Uses cases on PIM overcoming Manufacturing Challenges:
1. A manufacturer source an item from different suppliers and when it comes to the system, it being defined with different item numbers, description, and other specifications. This makes the data redundant and improper visibility of the part to the manufacturing system to consume into an assembly. With proper PIM in place, which takes care of such redundant/duplicate data issues by having appropriate rules-based validation while onboarding the part/item into the system.
2. In most of the manufacturing cases, there may be substitute parts which can be used in building an assembly. But it’s a challenge that this substitute components information is not visible across the departments like Procurement, Planning, Operations etc., due to which it may not be used when there is shortage of primary component. With the help of effective PIM system, this substitute information can be maintained at a single view in product structure, which can be easily accessed, plan and execute the production with the available substitute components, resulting reduction in the manufacturing and overall lead time.
Features of effective PIM that improves Manufacturing Productivity:
Standardized Product Identifiers & Business Rules driven enrichment: Item Numbering and Description generations be standardized through a set of rules followed (like Prefix, Number starting/ending with) for different item classes, at the time of item creation. Also, the accurate product classification and standardizing the product attributes, this can also include the custom business validations
Duplicate Products Identification/Prevention: Proper data classification and matching to be in place to identify the multiple duplicate items being onboarded, especially based on the item descriptions
Data Governance: Streamline of data onboarding and management through automated workflows, data synchronizations and reduce manual jobs. Maintain the accurate product structure details through item versions and/or revisions. Some substitute components can be used in the assembly, especially when there is shortage of the primary quantity. Maintenance and usage of such substitutes will definitely impact the productivity.
Digital Asset Management: Advanced item visualization by the shop floor personal through the multiple item overview images, drawings and other relevant documents which helps in easy and clear access of the images/documents needed to execute the production operation.
It clearly indicates that the effective management of Product Information and its structures has an impact on the manufacturing and definitely plays a role in improvement in the productivity.
Besides manufacturing, PIM supports different aspects of supply chain, like, will enhance the processes of supply chain planning, inventory controls, yielding benefit for the manufacturing business with most of the processes through Business rules driven automation and continuous enrichment.