In a major step towards product data standardisation across the building materials industry, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has launched a universal product data template which can be used by all manufacturers and merchants.
Product data standardisation is the key to removing inefficiencies in transferring information across the building materials supply chain. The BMF’s product data template has been specifically designed to help members eliminate the problem of inconsistent data content and format requests, thus saving both time, effort and cost.
The first iteration of the BMF product data template, version 1.1, has been through a year of development and testing by a working group of over 30 BMF members, chaired by Jonathan Chard, director of IT at Bradfords, and spanning national, regional and independent merchants, light-side and heavy-side manufacturers and suppliers, merchant buying groups and e-commerce specialists.
The template is already in use by many of the working group members, and the BMF has a target of 85% adoption across the supply chain by the end of 2024. The template is available free of charge for members to download from the BMF website.
Designed by the industry, for the industry, the template is easy to use and has been created using a multi-tab Microsoft Excel format. This provides product data managers with a practical and familiar process with full support via the BMF website.
However, version 1.1 of the template is just the beginning. The BMF wants its members to continue development of the product data template and is building a list of testing and adoption partners. Further improvements and updates will be released over the next year, with version control managed via the BMF’s website. All enhancements and advanced features will be fully tested before release.
BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: “The new template sets the standard for a single source of truth for product data in the building materials industry. Feedback from early adopters is unanimously positive and we are confident it will transform efficiency in the supply chain, making teams more productive, reducing the cost of rework and improving the quality of data.”
Working Group chair, Jonathan Chard added: “Data standardisation is about making sure that each data type has the same content and format, essential for tracking, comparing, searching and selling products. The efficiencies it brings leads to better margin and profit for us all.
“The challenge we face now is educating the sector about the benefits of developing consistent data criteria. Mass adoption is key. I would urge everyone to get on the bus and be part of the solution. The more we can do the faster it will grow.”