The level of efforts (and problems) in a multinational enterprise always increases over time: more product versions, languages, countries and distribution areas, agreements with third parties, departments, data sources and information control units.
What are the best tools that you can incorporate into your multinational management strategy to improve the process and reduce the number of errors and delays that arise when information is poorly organized? These are the 5 basic systems of product information management that give strength to any large multinational company:
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
The central and modular storage system for product and company data. It’s the heart of a company, and therefore the first step for any strategy. All the useful and vital content of a company is concentrated in an ERP: logistic, sales, product materials, planning, accounting and production.
However, it’s not enough to see an ERP as a big computer where a master copy is being kept: a professional ERP system is necessary to guarantee an efficient organization and backup copies in case of emergency. Integrating an ERP software in a company usually involves a lot of effort, but it's worth it, since it will assure centralization and will make the implementation and development of other software much faster and smoother. Some well known examples are SAP and Deskera.
DAM (Digital Assets Management)
The amount of text, image and video resources that a company uses throughout its life, or even a single year is enormous, even more so if manages product catalogs. It’s essential to keep in order brand and product life cycle materials.
A DAM system is the type of software that keeps all files organized in a more reliable way than a handful of folders and hard drives. A DAM makes it easy to quickly locate any image, text or video, by means of precise search commands and by organizing all the versions of the same file. Say goodbye to embarrassing situations like departments that use outdated company logos, or catalog versions that show product images from previous seasons. Examples of DAM: Libris or Bynder.
PIM (Product Information Management)
It’s the star of product information management software — its name says it all. Without a PIM, the survival of a retail company will be very difficult, especially whit a multinational network.
A PIM system centralizes all product data from various sources, both inside the company and third parties. But the magic goes further: a PIM not only collects the information, but enriches it by detecting omissions and errors in data fields and between different versions of a catalog (like several languages or versions of a printed catalog). The topper: PIM automates all manual processes saving time and efforts, and address complex tasks in minutes, like adding information in bulk to InDesign or filling marketplaces product templates such as Amazon.
Do you know that there’s also a PIM software that synchronizes with your ERP and that includes DAM functions? In Sales Layer we know that the main priority of a multinational is to save installation and learning time when hiring a new software. That’s why our PIM system is more than a PIM: it’s an all-in-one product management plan: discover more about us here!
CMS (Catalog Management System)
A PIM will make things easy for your design team, as it sends product information automatically and ready to use in catalog creation programs such as InDesign.
As a multinational needs to prepare different catalogs, either in several languages or with content adapted to each market and season, it could be interesting to have a CMS system. It’s a useful tool to centralize catalog management in an omnichannel strategy and give the same information to all the internal departments, distributors and sales reps. If a multinational strategy has a lot of channels, it’d be more urgent to have a system that control prices, sales, stock and inventory, data and communication with shipment companies, and customer feedback. A couple of examples are Catalog Bar and Wix.
PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)
It’s easy to lose track of thousands of products that are launched at different dates and through different campaigns. A PLM system shows the whole plan and connects to all product information management tools.
PLM it’s not a product data management software, but a useful process that contemplates the entire life cycle of a product and checks the status of every phase: design, creation, production, marketing, sales and distribution (and recalling obsolete or problematic products). With a PLM plan a multinational company can be up to date on the progress of each team and the goals and time-to-market of different catalogs and countries.
There are many types of software specialized in PLM tasks, like a BPM (Business Process Management) or a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The key is that each multinational can be equipped with a different range of management tools, appropriate to their needs, to achieve the best results.