Master data is critical for future success

Master data

As consumers increasingly turn to digital platforms for their retail needs, GS1 is encouraging manufacturers to adapt quickly if they want to make the most of the emerging market trend. Food and Beverage Industry News reports.

In 2020 the online food and beverage consumer market saw a 57 per cent increase year on year and the sector is only continuing to grow. To be successful in this crowded market requires a well-oiled supply chain that sets company’s apart from the crowd and grows sales across retail digital platforms.

Emma Morrison, marketing program manager at GS1, outlined some of the key step’s manufacturers can take to achieve this goal.

“Developing and manufacturing a product are the first steps. Once the product is ready, then comes the packaging, labelling, and barcodes, just to name a few,” she said. “But then the focus turns to what happens next.

“How do you give the product the best chance to succeed in an overcrowded marketplace and how do you meet retailer requirements?”

Morrison said that that essentially there were two parts to solving this product puzzle.

The first is about product master data and how this is important to an efficient supply chain. The second part relates to a product and brand’s visual identity in the eCommerce space.

“GS1 Australia realises the importance of supporting business and knows that product images and content are integral to both growing sales and a successful supply chain,” said GS1 Australia service and customer engagement manager Mark Blitenthall.

Product master data

Managing and sharing data for new products and updates between trading partners can often be complicated. Studies have repeatedly found high levels of data inaccuracy and misalignment between and across supplier and retailer systems.

KPMG’s recent report, Unlocking the Value of Tomorrow’s Retail, said master data “defines the attributes of an organisation’s products, customers and suppliers, is and always has been a core component of business operations, providing essential information, and serving as an enabler of efficiency across many aspects of business”.

Although this is true, a company’s product master data is only as good as
the input information.”

Meanwhile, the report said companies could ill afford to ignore master data.

“Businesses that neglect their master data will only realise after it’s too late that quality data is no longer a competitive advantage, but an exception,” the report stated.

GS1’s National Product Catalogue (NPC) is used by major retailers including Woolworths and Coles and is a solution that enables the user to enter, validate, maintain and share all product information including pricing, trade and marketing related details.

Companies can maintain data integrity and alignment in systems both internally and externally, across retailer systems.

All product updates are in real-time and delivered automatically to trading partners. George Georgiou, Food & Nutrition NPC projects manager for PZ Cussons, uses the NPC.

“The NPC provides critical information for retailers and is one source of truth. It’s a permanent record in terms of product data and they can go back any time and retrieve that information,” said Georgiou.

Some of the key benefits of this service include greater data accuracy and visibility, improved stock levels in the supply chain, and a reduction in administration, and therefore costs.

While the NPC helps decrease the misidentification of products, it also provides a foundation for rapid product recall and precise product tracking.

Meanwhile, James Hulse, Coles head of supply, said retailers continue to invest in a ‘technology-led supply chain’ as data integrity becomes increasingly important in the process.

Images and content

“Although it sounds simple, brand owners often underestimate the importance of their visual identity online,” said Blitenthall.

“High-quality product images are not only critical for helping boost sales, but images also need to meet certain retailer specifications and standards for compliance.”

Elyptol president and CEO Tim O’Connor, whose company utilises the NPC, said the company was saving on costs after it stopped using experienced marketing people to take photographs.

Another important element that retailers need for eCommerce is on-pack data, including information such as allergens, dietary, nutrition, storage instructions, country of origin, and so on.

GS1 Australia service and customer engagement manager, Mark Blitenthall, said consumers can look up the product based on its description and be presented with a range of information.

“Information about the product, such as the allergens it might contain,” he said. “As people become more conscious of the food they consume,
they are looking for specific ingredients, so it is integral that brand owners provide this information.

“Consumer expectations are evolving too, therefore people keep expecting more detail on ingredients.”

GS1 Smart Media is a digital marketing solution that enables users to store, capture and share their product content including images, with retailers and marketplaces.

All product images are stored in a single location and comply with retailer standards and specifications.

Metcash Food & Grocery national shelf manager, Michael Joiner, said Smart Media is an ideal solution for receiving product information from suppliers.

“It definitely saves us time and effort downloading images, digital assets and other data,” he said.

Regardless of whether you’re a new or existing seller, Smart Media is a good retailer platform for sharing images and digital assets with trading partners.

It provides peace-of-mind to users who know they are meeting retailer requirements as well as the opportunity to sell more product.

GS1 Product Photography provides high-quality product images, including 2D and 3D photography, and specialises in innovative photography including lighting, spritzing, concept, and stylised photography for digital and print.

Envy Distilling director, Nathan Wheat, employed the use of GS1 Product Photography and was pleased with the results.

“We were thrilled with our product images – which were beautiful, crisp shots on a clean background – exactly what we needed for our online store and social media,” he said.

GS1 is also offering complementary services:

  • renders – high-quality photo-realistic 2D and 3D product images for marketing and pre-visualisation.
  • mobile-ready hero images that allow customers to browse products on all mobile devices, anywhere, anytime and view callouts.
  • clipping paths to ensure product images can be used in any marketplace, on any background; and
  • romance or marketing copy for a unique on-brand narrative so customers can connect with a product in a crowded marketplace.

A new primary product portal

GS1 Australia will be integrating Smart Media and the National Product Catalogue into one service early in 2022.

Brand owners will soon be able to access and maintain all their product master data, images, and digital content in one place.

Amy’s Kitchen country manager, Hayley Hutton, said the consolidation will only enhance their service.

“The main benefit for us is that we will be able to manage all product master data and images in one central location. While we access and maintain data and assets in a single interface, Woolworths will receive all our product information in a single feed,” she said.

The main benefit of this development is that all product data and images will be consolidated into one main interface or a “single feed”, making it easier and simpler to load, maintain and share all product information relating to pricing, on-pack data and more.

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