NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Manufacturers and distributors count on each other to support and grow their sales. As long as the monthly numbers are in line with expectations, no-one questions how the relationship is going. But what the figures don’t reveal are the sales that don’t happen because of a breakdown — a critical disconnect — in the product data flow between manufacturers and distributors.
Recently, a study was completed on behalf of Thomas’ Enterprise Solutions to provide a more detailed understanding of the problem and its impact. The research confirmed that the disconnect runs deep and costs manufacturers and distributors thousands of dollars every year in unnecessary labor, not to mention lost sales. Underneath it all is a smoldering frustration that negatively impacts partner relationships.
“Too many manufacturers are resigning themselves to the status quo, and this is undermining their sales and their distributor relationships,” said Michael Sprague, Director, eBusiness Development, Thomas Enterprise Solutions. “Ignoring the problem is tantamount to not manufacturing certain products at all. Distributors simply don’t have the resources to add or re-format product data and get it into their sales systems, and that means their customers never see it.”
The major issue leading to the disconnect is that manufacturers’ and distributors’ data file formats are not synergistic, leading to unnecessary work and follow-up communications. This adds to the burden manufacturers are experiencing just to keep their product data up-to-date. Manufacturers’ employees are spending up to 16 hours per week manually entering and refreshing information in their own systems and distributors’ templates, and it’s still not complete or formatted correctly. As a result, vital pieces of product data ultimately “slip through the cracks.”
On the distributors’ side, employees are spending up to ten hours per week manually reformatting/scrubbing product data, as well as going back to manufacturers to request missing information. Because of the additional effort involved, distributors are frequently forced to upload the data they have, and let the rest go, without telling the manufacturers. If getting the data becomes too much of a challenge, it affects whether these manufacturers will remain “preferred suppliers.”
Manufacturers and distributors alike agree on the need for both a standard format for sharing product data and a way to automate the process. To remedy this widespread challenge, Thomas’ Enterprise Solutions introduced its Product Data Syndication service. The group’s team of engineers works hand-in-hand with manufacturers to develop a master set of product data and get it into any format that their distributors require. For information on Product Data Syndication, contact Mr. Sprague at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Research
The research consisted of qualitative, in-depth interviews with senior-level staff at manufacturers and distributors in each of three markets—General Industrial, Power Transmission/Motion control, and Pipe, Valves & Fittings. To download a free copy of the research report, click here.
About Thomas Enterprise Solutions
Thomas Enterprise Solutions is part of Thomas Industrial Network, Inc., an information and technology company that connects manufacturing and industrial buyers and sellers.
Our Enterprise Solutions Group works closely with manufacturers and distributors to effectively manage digital product data across a variety of enterprise-wide systems and sales channels to meet their strategic business needs. Leveraging our proprietary Navigator Platform technology, services include webCAD publishing and product configurator technology. Also, we help syndicate manufacturers’ data and CAD drawings directly to their large distributors and OEM channel partners as well as integrating content into design and sourcing platforms that are part of an organization's daily workflow, from Intergraph SmartPlant 3D for the power, process and marine industries, to Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems for construction of buildings and bridges.
Our flagship brand ThomasNet® offers a suite of Internet and digital media solutions, from websites with product catalogs, to SEO/SEM services, to social media. Buyers and engineers worldwide rely on ThomasNet.com®, industry’s leading free platform for industrial/commercial product sourcing and supplier discovery. ThomasNet News® delivers industrial news and trends via a family of online publications and newsletters. For more information, go to www.thomasenterprisesolutions.com.