Supplier 360 + Product 360 = The Buy Side Oval

Having a 360 degree of something is a recurring subject within Master Data Management (MDM). “Customer 360” is probably the most used term. “Product 360” is promoted from time to time too and occasionally we also stumble upon “Supplier 360” (or “Vendor 360”).

Product 360 was recently examined by Simon Walker of Gartner, the analyst firm, in the post Creating the 360-Degree view of Product.

Supplier 360, as in having a single golden supplier/vendor record to connect all databases, was touched by Grant Watling of HICX Solutions a while ago in the post All Aboard! Six steps to supplier onboarding.

The Buy Side Oval is a combination of Product 360 and Supplier 360

Buy Side MDM 

Within (Multi-Domain) Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) we must be able to provide solutions that enables the buy side to effectively and consistently handle the core entities involved.

The solution to that is not having a supplier product data portal as discussed in the post PIM Supplier Portals: Are They Good or Bad? A key part lies outside your in-house platform in the business ecosystem where you and your suppliers all are participants and can be achieved as told in the post Master Data, Product Information, Digital Assets and Digital Ecosystems.

Master Data, Product Information, Digital Assets and Digital Ecosystems

When it comes to mastering product data there are these three kinds of data and supporting managing disciplines and solutions:

  • Master data and the supporting Master Data Management (MDM) discipline and a choice of MDM solutions for the technology part
  • Product information and the supporting Product Information Management (PIM) discipline and a choice of PIM solutions for the technology part
  • Digital assets and the supporting Digital Asset Management (DAM) discipline and a choice of DAM solutions for the technology part

What these disciplines are and how the available solutions relate was examined in the post How MDM, PIM and DAM Sticks Together. This post includes a model for that proposed by Simon Walker of Gartner (the analyst firm).

The right mix for your company depends on your business model and you will also have the choice of using a best of breed technology solution for your focus, that being MDM, PIM or DAM, as well as there are choices for a same branded solution, and in some cases also actually integrated solution, that supports MDM, PIM and DAM.

When selecting a (product) data management platform today you also must consider how this platform supports taking part in digital ecosystems, here meaning how you share product data with your trading partners in business ecosystems.

For the digital platform part supporting interacting with master data, product information and digital assets with your trading partners, who might have another focus than you, the solution is Product Data Lake.

MDM PIM DAM PDL

MDM / PIM Platform Vendors Need to Grow Up Too

Participating in digital ecosystems is the way forward for enterprises who wants to be tomorrow’s winners through digital transformation.

Some figures from Gartner, the analyst firm, tells this about digital transformation:

  • 79% of top performing companies indicate that they participate in a digital ecosystem
  • 49% of typical companies indicate the same
  • 24% of trailing companies does it

These figures were lately examined by Bryan Kirschner of Apigee (now part of Google) in a Cio.com article called Ecosystems: when digital transformation grows up.

Master Data Share
Master Data Share for Business Ecosystems

As a Master Data Management (MDM) and/or Product Information Management (PIM) platform vendor you should support your current and prospective clients with means to participate in digital ecosystems.

Current offerings from MDM and PIM platforms vendors have become quite mature in supporting inhouse (enterprise wide) handling of master data and product information. Next step is supporting sharing within business ecosystems. A concept for that is introduced in Master Data Share.

Country of Origin: An Increasingly Complex Data Element

When you buy stuff one of the characteristics you may emphasis on is where the stuff is made: The country of origin.

Buying domestic goods has always been both a political issue and something that in people’s mind may be an extra quality sign. When I lived in The UK I noticed that meat was promoted as British (maybe except from Danish bacon). Now when back in Denmark all meat seems to be best when made in Denmark (maybe except from an Argentinian beef). However, regulations have already affected the made in marking for meat, so you have to state several countries of origins in the product lifecycle.

Luxury shoes
Luxury shoes of multi-cultural origin

For some goods a given country of origin seems to be a quality sign. With luxury goods as fine shoes you can still get away with stating Italy or France as country of origin while most of the work has been made elsewhere as told in this article from The Guardian that Revealed: the Romanian site where Louis Vuitton makes its Italian shoes.

Country of origin is a product data element that you need to handle for regulatory reasons not at least when moving goods across borders. Here it is connected with commodity codes telling what kind of product it is in the custom way of classifying products as examined in the post Five Product Classification Standards.

When working with product data management for products that moves cross border you are increasingly asked to be more specific about the country of origin. For example, if you have a product consisting of several parts, you must specify the country of origin for each part.

Obstacles to Product Information Sharing

In a recent poll on this blog we had this question about how to share product information with trading partners:

As a manufacturer: What is Your Toughest Product Information Sharing Issue?

The result turned out as seen below:

Survey final

Product information flow in supply chains will typically start with that manufacturers shares the detailed hard facts about products to the benefit of downstream partners as examined in the post Using Internal and External Product Information to Win.

This survey points to that the main reason why this does that take place is that manufacturers need to mature in handling and consolidating product information internally, before they are confident in sharing the detailed data elements (in an automated way) with their downstream partners. This subject was elaborated in the post Product Information Sharing Issue No 1: We Need to Mature Internally.

Another obstacle is the lack of a common standard for product information in the business ecosystem where the manufacturer is a part as further examined in the post Product Information Sharing Issue No 2: No Viable Standard.

Issue no 3 is the apparent absence of a good solution for sharing product information with trading partners that suites the whole business ecosystem. I guess it is needless to say to regular readers of this blog that, besides being able to support issue no 1 and issue no 2, that solution is Product Data Lake.

Product Information Sharing Issue No 1: We Need to Mature Internally

A current poll on sharing product information with trading partners running on this blog has this question: As a manufacturer: What is Your Toughest Product Information Sharing Issue?

The most votes in the current standing has gone to this answer:

We must first mature in handling our product information internally

PDL MenuSolving this issue is one of the things we do at Liliendahl.com. Besides being an advisory service in the Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) space, we have a developing collaboration with companies providing consultancy, cleansing and, when you come to that step, specialized technology for inhouse MDM and PIM. Take a look at Our Business Ecosystem.

If you are a manufacturer with a limited need for scaling the PIM technology part and already have much of your needs covered by an ERP and/or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution, you may also fulfill your inhouse PIM capabilities and the external sharing needs in one go by joining Product Data Lake.

Your Toughest Upstream Product Information Sharing Issue

Only 5 percent of organizations share all their product data electronically with supply chain partners. So, there is room for improvement.

At Product Data Lake we want to find out what are the issues that is holding companies back from smoothly sharing product information with trading partners.

We will start with where product information is born: Upstream, at the manufacturer. If you work at a company being a manufacturer of goods, please answer the below question:

PS: If you do not work for a manufacturer, but know someone who does, please forward the poll.