Content Supply Chain: Transparency and Overview
in Process and Effect
The concept of the supply chain generally encompasses the interaction of companies to achieve joint success in the creation of value. It includes both upstream and downstream processes. Transferred to the specialization of the Content Supply Chain, which fundamentally supports eBusiness in the form of eProcurement and eCommerce, we as nexoma define the Content Supply Chain as three process steps:
Data procurement, data refinement and data distribution
Manufacturers developed products! During this process – Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – the product data is built up, supplemented and adapted. Here the content results from the upstream processes, mostly within the organization. It is also possible to have data and information from participating upstream suppliers who contribute product data for parts or components.
Retailers, on the other hand, do not develop products in the classic sense, but trade in them. Therefore, retailers are dependent on content from manufacturers or industry platforms (e.g. SHK industry portal) and associations (e.g. E/D/E, Northwest).
Regardless of which source the content comes from – often consisting of product data, images, certificates and instructions – the data must undergo a quality check in an upstream process. This guarantees that valid and quality-checked data is used for product data refinement in the PIM.
Once the data has been checked, it is usually necessary to transform the content. The subsequent systems each process different formats (e.g. BMEcat), data structures (e.g. ETIM, eCl@ss) and contents. The entire process, from supplier onboarding and content delivery to checking and value-level checking and data transformation, is handled by an upstream system, in our case the supplier portal XS-Supplier-Portal, ideally fully automated!
Product data collection, product data processing and product data refinement are either carried out in a dedicated system or in a broad system landscape.
As a rule, every company already uses an ERP system that supports the business management processes. Assets (media data) are stored separately. However, product information management systems (PIM) such as PIMCORE are specialized in the collection, processing and refinement of product data and sometimes integrate the management of digital assets (DAM).
The PIM is used to maintain information that is crucial for e-commerce and all other downstream stages of the content supply chain. This can include keywords for marketplaces, pure marketing content such as catalogues or price lists for defined customers.
In the context of data distribution, organizations must be able to make the data from the PIM system available to any interested party. The so-called data stakeholders are, for example, your:
– direct B2B customers, resellers or the classic (specialist) retailers,
– marketplaces where your products are traded or
– Platforms on which you make your content available for further use.
Each of these data stakeholders has individual content requirements. This begins with the type of provision (for example, via FTP, mail, API/interface), includes the definition of the assortment and does not end with the adaptation of the data structures from the PIM system. Although these tasks can be solved with a great deal of manual effort, they increase the internal effort, but especially the time-to-market. Manual activities usually increase the error-proneness and reliability of the data.
In terms of customer experience the content must be adapted individually and promptly to each data recipient. Such content individualizations are for example related to:
– Data formats (BMEcat, XML derivatives, Excel xlsx),
– Media selection (image type, image sizes),
– assortment (full or partial assortment),
– classification (ETIM or eCl@ss),
– attributes (keywords, user defined extensions) and
– Attribute values (long description HTML formatted or continuous text)
After preparing the content for the customers, the data must be checked again. The following data export from your systems and the data transfer is, in the best case, carried out automatically – according to customer requirements. The CatalogExpress software takes over these tasks for you and adapts to the requirements of your customers. You configure the electronic catalogue with just a few clicks.
To sum up: Importance of the content for your business?
Content is the trump card in any (e)business. Product data, logistics information, prices, images, videos, instructions or even text variants, keywords and classifications are components of highly qualified content.
The content supply chain usually involves retailers and manufacturers. Market places, platforms and shops are also part of the data flow and “live” from product data.
Without content tailored to the target, your products will not be found at the retailer, on the marketplace, in the shops and on platforms. Success in eCommerce will not happen and the competitor will be in front of you in the search results.
A focus on your content supply chain and your product data avoids this and promotes your sales directly, promised!
In search of new customers – as the top pillar in your supply chain: You want to know more?
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