This month PEW hears from Suzanne Adgar, Director at NG15, about the importance of embracing digitalisation and ‘digitally connecting’ the manufacturer and wholesaler.
Q: How was NG15 formed and what services does the company offer?
NG15 was established by Managing Director Shaun Cranstone in 2001. Originally a design and marketing agency, we have a broad knowledge of design and branding under our belts, along with expert knowledge of catalogue design, print management, ecommerce, and website design. Years of working with catalogue data, has led us to become leading experts in Product Information Management (PIM) and digital communication.
Having used a variety of third-party content management software solutions to manage our customers’ electrical catalogues, we identified that there was a demand for better data quality and organisation of product data across the entire construction supply chain.
We have since developed our own multi-channel PIM solution e-Pim, specifically for use within the electrical and construction industry. We launched this commercially just over four years ago, our goal being to help companies in this sector simplify data management, digital assets, and workflow processes.
We are now the leading providers of Product Information Management to the constructions industry. We also specialise in and support many of our customers with digital catalogue, catalogue publications, ecommerce (click & collect), database services and software development, multi-language translations (PIM), and graphic design services.
Q: What is e-Pim and how does it work
e-Pim is a product information management solution. It provides a centralised location for storing product data and digital assets, all via a single platform. It allows you to manage, enrich and distribute product information to all your sales and eCommerce channels. It has been specifically developed for use within the electrical and construction industry and can automate up to 80% of manual tasks. It is a cloud-based technology, and simple to use.
e-Pim provides the user with a comprehensive set of intuitive tools that help to dramatically improve product data quality. Through e-Pim, manufacturers and distributors can stay in touch with the ever-connected customer, deliver seamless, consistent, and accurate product information to all marketing channels.
The user can enrich data, share product data, market, and sell products through various distribution channels such as, ecommerce websites (B2B and B2C), print and catalogue publications, digital interactive catalogues, electronic data feeds, other trading partners and mobile applications.
Most importantly, e-Pim provides the power required to rapidly create and deliver compelling product experiences, helping to drive customer engagement, reach more markets, improve sales conversion rates, and quickly take advantage of new sales channels.
Q: How does the electrical sector benefit from digitalisation?
The construction industry is still slow to change and to adopt interoperable data. In the past, it might have been acceptable to manage product data using spreadsheets, and to store images in various locations across a business.
It might also have been acceptable to ‘manually update’ a company website, using copy and paste or other entirely unconnected methods. This is no longer the case, and these methods no longer meet the needs and standards required by the industry and consumers.
With the increasing demand for high quality product information across the entire supply chain, manufacturers and wholesalers must take much greater responsibility for the traceability and the quality of product information they provide.
Embracing digitalisation and investing in technologies that improve the management and delivery of product information, can bring much greater opportunity and benefit.
Electrical manufactures and wholesalers will typically benefit by, increased efficiency, better productivity, lower operational costs, improved customer experience, higher agility, better workflow, improved communication, increased transparency, improved competitive advantage, and faster decision making.
Q: How did the NG15 partnership with Trimble Luckins come about?
Trimble Luckins have for over 50 years been the trusted UK building services number one source of product and pricing information. In response to the changing requirements of the industry, they have been expanding the data they hold to include a more enriched experience. This new data set offers attributes, images, videos, and documentation in a variety of standard and bespoke outputs to suit a given customer’s needs.
We realised that there was a common vision for the improvement and delivery of quality, industry product data. We initially joined together to provide a series of on-going manufacturer and wholesaler educational workshops, covering digitalisation.
However, with an ever-increasing use of our e-Pim solution by manufacturers, we realised that by working more closely together, we could seamlessly deliver product content across every digital channel through a single, integrated platform. We launched our joint Product Content Syndication model for manufacturers and wholesalers in April 2022.
Through e-Pim, you can control the release of product information more effectively, and quickly reach the intended audience. This puts the ‘manufacturer in control’ of the release process, providing a ‘real time’ view of data for customers (both wholesalers and contractors). Through our syndication model, any changes you make to your products are seamlessly made available to the market, without the need for you to prepare and deliver data files.
e-Pim gives wholesalers the opportunity to utilise this enriched product data in all sales channels. Websites, webstores, digital catalogues, digital sales platforms such as Amazon can all be driven through e-Pim.
Together, Trimble Luckins and NG15 have proven that the process is robust and scalable, and our next generation data services are ready to bring value to all parties across the supply chain. Trimble recognise the value this offer brings to the industry and have invested £500,000 making this a competitive, “affordable for all” model which will drive sales, reduce workload, and increase accuracy and data traceability for all.
Q: When it comes to product data, is there a need for the industry to adopt a more collaborative, joined up approach?
It is very important for the industry to adopt a more collaborative approach and we need to work ‘smarter together’, to solve the problem of inaccurate product delivery across the supply chain. With legislation and traceability on the horizon, new digital business models based on greater accountability, compliance, agility, and a relentless focus on improving the customer experience, will be essential.
Disconnected industry data pools are not the answer. The wholesaler cannot guarantee that content they are downloading is one hundred percent accurate, because it is not possible for the manufacturer to continually update or manage the data quality.
The manufacturer and the wholesaler need to be ‘digitally connected’. It is vital that the industry embraces Product Data Syndication as the delivery solution for the continuous flow, of the most up-to-date, accurate and enriched product information. This will increase the speed of data sharing with the wholesaler, strengthen data accountability and build trust. It will also support and increase transparency of product data.
However, it is not simply a question of adopting new or better technology alone, the industry requires a fundamental shift in culture, skills, leadership, processes, collaboration, and investment planning. Manufacturers need to lead with confidence and move away from archaic systems.
Q: What is NG15’s overriding aim over the next couple of years?
Our goal over the next three years is to deliver ‘next generation data services’ that will make it easier for the manufacturers, wholesalers, and contractors to work together and have access to better connected data.
We will continue to help manufacturers improve the structure and quality of their data. We will also continue to support the buying groups and their wholesalers, so they can consume syndicated data, and open-up new sales channels to quickly bring new products to market.
To find out more about NG15 services, click here