Spreadsheets Should Be a Method to Distribute Product Information
In recent weeks, we’ve talked about how spreadsheets can help make you more productive in your everyday life. However, we’ve also blogged that spreadsheets are not a good vehicle to manage product information. We have also discussed the cost of errors if you use spreadsheets to manage product information, which is startling.
On the other hand, when you are distributing product information to your clients, spreadsheets are oftentimes the common “language” spoken since uploading spreadsheet data into other systems is typically very easy. Clients usually provide a structured product information distribution template to suppliers for ease in uploading data into their websites, configurators, etc. Most of the time, here’s how the process works:
- The supplier harvests the product information data, and then
- Places it into the structured spreadsheet, and
- Emails the spreadsheet to their customer
This process can take a couple weeks to complete, if they don’t have a product information management (PIM) system.
With a PIM system, the distribution templates can be programmed in advance, and the above process can be completed in hours, not days. If you choose, you can even give a PIM login to your customers and have them pull your product information via self-service on demand.