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Five good reasons to get PIM

1. Does your product information management process look something like this?

If the answer is yes, contact us and we will help you.

tuotetietokaaos

2. Do you want to provide the best possible customer experience?

In that case, the PIM system is a relevant part of the solution. Through centralized product information management, you will be able to provide high-quality, correct and up-to-date product information through one source to all of your channels and stakeholders – both customers and your own staff.

3. Do you want to boost your product marketing?

By using PIM and its automated publishing solutions you can publish campaign leaflets, product catalogues or cards, create catalogues or leaflets, posters, price lists or shelf labels for shops just by a few presses of a button. You can publish in formats such as PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, and InDesign. See examples of publication solutions here  and here.

4. Do you want to be ready for fast, strategic changes?

If the foundation of your product information management is solid, expanding to new publishing channels, applications or new country or language versions is easy. Via PIM interfaces you can offer product information to e.g. your new retailer’s online store or website, to your customer’s purchasing system or any other channel that you wish to employ. There is no need reinvent the wheel every time.

5. Do you want to get rid of unnecessary manual work phases?

PIM allows you to automatize many routine tasks which would take a long time to do manually (and which often are the most tedious tasks as well). From PIM the product information is brought to the right stakeholders automatically. In addition, you can get rid of excessive copy pasting when you can rapidly produce e.g different Office or InDesign format product publications instead of requiring weeks’ worth of manual work.

PIM has to be easy

At Canter we work each day to make product information management (PIM) as easy as possible. As with everything else, those who manage to make complex things easy will prevail, and this is also the case with product information management.

Although it’s not complex in the first place.

Or at least we don’t think it has to be, and following few principles will go long way. While company and industry specific differences do exist, the basic principle will always be the same.

PIM is not an IT project.

It is the implementation of new mode of operation that includes both change management and automation of manual processes. PIM system does not do everything automatically, but instead operates as enabler. In order to make product information management for our clients as easy as possible, we have focused especially on the following and been actively developing them.

Easy acquisition

We think that acquiring IT system should not be a complex task. Pricing models based on the amount of users or transactions direct the decision making incorrectly, and instead we think that it is more important to find out how to make most out of the usage and processes. The more our clients use the PIM system and the data it provides, the better are the benefits they can get out of it.

Easy acquisition also depends on:

  • the length of the contract – we believe in the added value we provide, not in long contracts
  • the possibility of starting with just simple specifications
  • what sort of training is included
  • how the client is supported with change management
  • the update guarantee

Easy deployment

Easy deployment of a system leads into powerful use. When the basis is solid, it is also easier to do change management.

Easy deployment means many things:

  • how well the specification workshops are managed and prepared
  • clear practices and industry-specific productization
  • ease of installation and parameterization of the system
  • functioning Application Program Interfaces (APIs) facilitate the integration
  • best practices and connectors to the most common systems

Easy usage

Easy-to-use user interface motivates the users to handle the upkeep of product information and benefit from the data.

Good user experience is the sum of its part, and listed are just few key points:

  • logical, reliable user interface
  • search functions that work faster than a though
  • smart recommendations
  • mass editing, importing and exporting; especially useful when dealing with large amount of products

Easy integration

Seldom does a PIM system operate alone, and usually it’s a part of at least one other system. It is very common to have it integrated with many other systems, for example with ERP or a webstore.

System integration needs to be easy, so well documented and standardized API makes it easier and faster for everyone. This allows the data to be exchanged between multiple systems without massive integration projects.

 Easy expansion and usage of data

We want to help our clients to benefit from their product information more effectively. When PIM interfaces are functional and open, it’s easy to build data-based applications with the help of product information. This allows for our clients to work with those they see fit themselves.

Could we help you to make your product information management easy as well? Contact us! 

 

Digital transformation: All hands on deck!

sailing_boat__blog_canter

The stiff breeze of digital transformation becomes a formidable storm. For a good ship with an excellent team a unique opportunity to reach the finish line in front of the competition. Similar to the wheat races of the 19th and 20th centuries, when the largest sailing ships were racing under extreme weather conditions, this applies to all companies today: Digital transformation is both an opportunity but also a risk for the company. This applies in particular to product communication. In the future, product data and processes will be the focus not “creative” advertising messages. Therefore the design and maintenance of the “golden data” set must be a high priority.

 

line1_canter

 

The number of channels and touchpoints in different contexts for new markets is growing steadily. There is an obvious need to edit data only once and to use this on-demand in the most diverse contexts. In addition to the technical infrastructure of PIM systems such as Canter’s Adeona , the process change is of fundamental importance.  All available resources must be directed towards the “golden data” set and the effort to  enrich solely for the channel and the creation of the  touchpoint presentation must be minimized as far as possible. All the men on deck must work and on it. However, there remains only one  team for all other activities. This change applies in particular to the print channel. Traditionally, a great deal of effort is being made to adapt and create data for the print channel but the production of print publications is often still done manually. Using these resources efficiently for all channels and touchpoints is a key factor in the return on investment of PIM projects. This, however, inevitably means there is a need for higher automation of the print channel because resources for manual activities are now missing. The priint:suite, with its unique automation and productivity functions, not only offers the opportunity to save time and money, but also creates space for better data and thus also for more creativity.

In the print channel hitting the wind at speed leads to successful communication.

-Horst Huber

Horst Huber is a pioneer in the field of system-driven publishing. His extensive expertise – spanning cross-channel marketing, process optimisation, database publishing/Web-to-Print, benchmarketing and potential analysis – is drawn from over 20 years of project experience in retail, mail order and industrial enterprises. He is also founder and CEO of the WERK II. 

Horst Huber’s blog

 

Remember these image management tips

A well-functioning image production process is an integral part of successful product information management. An exemplary image production process and optimal master format enable efficient administration and optimal utilization of the images.

As part of product information management, we always define the image production process and an optimal master format together with our clients. Regrettably, many companies still utilize outdated information in their image production processes, or processes that are meant for another purpose entirely. When high-class utilization of images in multiple channels is needed, this matter requires particular attention.

To start, it is essential to know the big picture and all the contexts where the images will be used. This article primarily examines the management of thousands or tens of thousands of images, where the choices are guided by e.g. as straightforward a workflow as possible and a high level of automation. In other words: how to achieve a good basic quality as (cost-)efficiently as possible. One of the greatest challenges in the pipeline between digital and print is color management, which sometimes makes choices difficult.

There is no one single configuration that would apply always and for everyone, but in the following there are a few tips to help you get started, at the very least.

1. Master format (for photos)

JPG or PSD. A minimally compressed JPG works as a master image for almost all purposes. It supports color profiles and clipping paths. If you need the following features in master images, it is recommended to choose PSD (Photoshop) as master format.

  • Transparency
  • You want to preserve the Photoshop features of the original, e.g. layers.
  • It is worth your while to go through these carefully, so that the image works smoothly for all channels.
image

A sample image from Martela’s photos.

Original image size 5760 x 3840 pixels. The original image has a lot of white background. File sizes when image is saved in different formats:

image-1

For JPG images, the Photoshop Quality value is in parentheses.

The graph shows that, for example, using JPG (quality 10) in comparison to the original TIF gives up to a 99% reduction in file size.

2. Color space and color profile (for photos)

An RGB workflow enables high-quality image utilization in different channels. Today practically all images are photographed digitally, resulting in an original file in RGB mode. In RGB workflow the image is kept in RGB mode as long as possible. For printing purposes, the conversion to CMYK mode is done only for the material that is sent to the printing service, directly into the ICC profile that the service uses. All redundant profile conversions result in loss of image data, i.e. hues.

It is recommended to choose AdobeRGB or sRGB as master image ICC profile. It is usually a matter of taste, but Adobe RGB’s Gamut is slightly wider than sRGB’s. Browsers used to support only the sRGB profile, but today all the most common browsers know how to utilize also other ICC profiles, and color management works also within the browser. In this case it might be best to embed the profile into the image, resulting in slightly bigger file size.

3. Vector images and graphics

It is recommended to save vector images in AI (Adobe Illustrator) format or EPS format. The RGB instructions don’t necessarily apply to vector images. Logos, for example, use often spot colors, when the original color profile is to be left untouched.

Defining black in RGB -> CMYK conversions brings an extra challenge. For this reason graphics going to print are often produced and stored in CMYK mode.

4. Dimensions

The physical size of the master image, i.e. it’s dimensions, can be defined according to the largest known image size requirement. It is also possible to use the full-size original, but if, for instance, there are hundreds of thousands of products and product images, it may be wise to limit the size of the master image and thus optimize disk and data bandwidth usage. A correctly picked image format also helps in file size optimization.

5. As uniform a mass as possible

So that the processes for large numbers of images can be made as streamlined as possible, special attention needs to be paid that images from different sources are according to your instructions and in as uniform a format as possible. We do almost always help our clients communicate to their suppliers and partners about the used image formats. Photoshop automation can also help in harmonization of a large mass.

6. Utilization in different channels

Take into consideration all channels that are being used and how the images can be converted, as automatically as possible, in to the form required by the different channels. When e.g. PIM system automation is used to create versions of images for use in different channels, attention needs to be paid to, for instance, optimizing thumbnail image size (format, profile cleaning etc.). If web is the only channel, the process as a whole is a little easier to carry out. Then again, if one day there is a wish to use the images in print, the process built for web requirements may cause huge changes.

About the production processes

It pays to configure image production processes carefully. Also in this case a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Below an example of one image production process:

image-2

We are also glad to help with anything image related. Go ahead and ask more, and we can tune also your image production process up to its peak.

More image production tips: https://www.shopify.com/blog/75481285-6-steps-to-streamline-your-product-photography-workflow

New strengths in product development

Last spring, we got a new employee at the office with Abel starting with us as Full Stack Developer. Abel has now been working with Canter for half a year, and we interviewed him and asked him about his thoughts of the new job and work environment. The developer, who formerly worked at Aalto University, where he also graduated, says he has been well received at his new job.

Abel_Canter

I knew nothing of Canter before I was contacted and started actively looking for information. I arrived at the interview and ended up working here. I was very positively welcomed and immediately got to working with new, interesting challenges.

When asked about his goals, the answer is prompt.

At the moment, I’m working with our next-generation product version, and the goal is to take this project further according to the project timeline together with Janne and Tuomas. I have learned plenty of new things in a short time, and this type of work and learning fits me like a glove. I like it that I have the opportunity to develop every day.

Getting to know the new work environment and workmates has also been smooth.

The people here are very extrovert and helpful to each other, which is something that helps solve even the greater challenges quickly. What has been surprising is that we also have some people who are very talented musically, and that I admire greatly :-)

Would you like to be part of our growing and developing team? We are looking for new reinforcements, so have a look here to see our open positions.

Orient Occident has chosen Canter for their product information management partner

Orient Occident and Canter have started a collaboration.

 

”Creating price catalogs has been challenging for us. With the Adeona Sales Tool we are able to crate the catalogs automatically, with an uniform look. By doing this, we are able to dedicate more time for our clients and into closing sales.”

Managing Director Mikko Puputti

Other advantages of using the centralized Adeona-PIM solution in the first place were e.g., being able to swiftly create stunning offers with photos. In addition, photos and other enriching product information can also be added to the ERP system. There are also plans to expand the usage of Adeona in the future.

Are you interested? For more information about our PIM solutions, please contact:
Janne Costiander
050 552 1054
janne.costiander@canter.fi

 

Orient Occident is a local family business.  The company imports interior textiles, floor coverings and carpets. The high quality interior design products and services are marketed for producers, retailers and other influential bodies and decision-makers in industry. www.orientoccident.fi.

Canter provides their clients with Adeona product data management solutions. With Adeona, it is possible to save all the information centrally in order to update and share them faster. Getting your product to the market becomes faster, and the results can be seen in the increase of customer satisfaction. You can read more about the company at:http://www.canter.fi/en/company/

How can I implement a PIM system successfully?

When kicking off a new project customers often ask for help with what to do to make their project implementation a big success. We tell everyone that in order to succeed the following three items need to be handled properly:   1. Set Clear Objectives  Not a single PIM project has started without a compelling […]

What happened in 2015?

2015 is behind us; we have set the goals for this year and started the measures to reach those goals. It is worth having a look at the past year, though —  what we did right, where we should develop and improve our performance. What do we need to be even better? Where do we want to be?

I was asking around at the office about the highlights and key topics that have become memorable. Take a look at the 2015 Top 10 below, listed in no particular order of importance.

  1. New clients. We were delighted to start collaborating with several new clients, learn about their industries and help them succeed with better product data management.
  2. Sales Tool. Our Sales Tool is top-notch.We have received feedback from the clients, telling us how their time is freed for the actual sales work and customers instead of updating and producing materials. That should tell us the essentials.
  3. Product development. The new PIM is on its way.Good things come to those who wait, and soon we will hear more!
  4. Canter’s web pages.Our new site and the spring were celebrated with a little sparkling wine.We continue working on the site but we are proud of the updated look and better functionality on all screen sizes.
  5. The blog.We contribute so that you all would know how to reach better results with product information management and how we could help you with it.Thank-you to all of our readers—we promise to keep producing ever-interesting texts.We are looking forward to all feedback!
  6. Learning and development.We have gotten the possibility to create a wide variety of solutions with our clients, always seeking the model that best suits the client.We have also learned plenty from that, making us better every day.
  7. New tools. Now our CRM looks like it should, and Slack has taken the creation of internal communication and memes to a whole new level.
  8. Atmosphere.We and our clients feel good, and that means good results.Every one of us has the responsibility, desire and possibility to keep investing in this.

    Canter's Summer Day '15

    Canter’s Summer Day ’15

  9. Food industry. This is one of our new industries, and the going just keeps getting faster in 2016. Getting familiar with food specifications and working with them is inspiring and educating.
  10. Potential.The year has offered everyone at the office a multitude of opportunities to seize and to develop through.

Wishing us success and development opportunities for the ongoing year 2016!

Product information is our most important capital

A few weeks ago, I was with a client who stated that in future, product information will be their most important capital. Products are sold through high-quality product information and it allows them to reach big targets, such as doubling sales revenue over the next couple of yers. For example, maintaining an online shop without the proper processes and tools is impossible for them, never mind further developing their business.

We have been working with product information for several years now and completed dozens of projects. Often, product information and PIM as a term have been completely new to our clients and we have worked hard to raise the awareness in Finland. Indeed, often we have started from the processes involved in automated publishing in relation to product information. These are based on company’s needs and their benefits are easier to grasp. Of course nobody wants to do product information just for the sake of it, that’s why it’s better to see its benefits as soon as possible.

It has been a great pleasure to note that a growing number of organisations has studied product information management, knows the terminology and it has been noted even on the upper levels of the strategy. In many businesses, product information management is part of the daily life. Of course there are more businesses that are only coming around it now. At its best, product information management is seen as one of the core processes that is meant for feeding information into channels that require it. Often, the client realises the importance of product information management as they set up their online shop. The online shop obviously requires quick reactions and real-time updates. This raises some eyebrows as old sales channels may have been functioning through manual processes for years. For example, it may take months to manually produce a printed catalogue whereas it could be produced in a fraction of the time if the process was automated.

Of course, the client’s statement raises their requirements onto a new level. How does one manage product information and more importantly, how do you use it efficiently to reach big targets? What should the processes be and how do the tools support them? These are some of the questions we gladly help our clients with. Take a look at the reference page and see how we have helped some of our current clients with their solutions.

 

Demands for Product Information are growing

Digitalization creates pressures concerning product information within an organization. Ever more extensive product information in a standardized format is being requested and demanded. During this fall I have had discussions every week with clients who are confronted with this challenge.

Wholesalers have set up their own e-commerce and supporting PIM systems. The goal is to create a process where product information is available collected from suppliers easily in a uniform structural format. This way, the products may be opened quickly in the systems and are ready to be ordered (time-to-market), and own work for collecting product information is minimized.

Suppliers experience this as pressure. Different retailers need product information – each in their own, slightly varying format. Filling Excel spreadsheets with information from thousands of products or offering product images named with EAN/GTIN codes or the client’s codes requires extremely heavy manual labor or may even be impossible. The challenges are very similar, independent of the size of the company. An enormous amount of energy is consumed doing routine work and the end result contains a considerable amount of errors.

Simultaneously, the company should also invest in its digital visibility and marketing. How to find the right balance and make use of work that has already been done? The unavoidable question arises, whether the time consumed in manual Excel use could be used more efficiently in increasing the visibility of the organization?

We have already succeeded in addressing these challenges with several clients, and the results have been magnificent. Besides mandatory product information listings, it is, for example, possible to automatically produce impressive client specific price lists with images – with the clients range of products assortment and prices. One of the successful examples is our client, Amo.

Watch the video and read of how the importer of toys Amo solved the challenge.