Product-Informations-Management (PIM)
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EASY. CLEAR. SYSTEMATIC. LOBSTER_PIM. THE SMARTER PRODUCTION INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE.
  • Cost savings due to a single company-wide media system with output to digital channels
  • Location-independent data management and maintenance
  • Alignment of media content in one central database
  • Improved quality and reduction of errors
  • Efficient expansion into new countries and markets with streamlined multilingualism

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Advantages

ADVANTAGES

What is product information management?

Manufacturers and retailers constantly find themselves confronted with the challenge of keeping large swathes of product information updated, organised and displayed attractively for customers. This in itself can be challenging, depending on the type of product and the number of features. But to make matters worse, most companies have various versions of their product information on file, across various systems and in different languages – making maintaining and publishing this data even more challenging.

The emergence of new electronic media and the need to tailor information as precisely as possible to the customer only adds to the list of stumbling blocks. The challenge, here, is to give the customer around-the-clock access to all relevant and important product information, keeping things as efficient and as streamlined as possible. Ideally, in a format that sets the product apart from its competitors. This customer-centric format and approach should take the company as little time as possible for input-, maintenance and distribution.

Lobster_pim gives you company-wide access to all your product information – in one central integration platform. Sales, marketing, support, web shops and external partner companies can all access the same up-to-date product data no matter their location. Just the way product communication should be.

Lobster_pim advantages. What is product information management?

Product database solutions helps businesses cut costs and improve purchasing, manufacturing and sales processes.
This means:

  • Faster provision of information for new products
  • Instant communication of product changes
  • Consistent information across each target medium and customer group with better data quality
  • Improved profit margins through well-coordinated sales and marketing initiatives
  • Easier integration of suppliers, customers and trading partners through coordinated electronic product catalogues
  • Cheaper, more efficient and less error-prone production of print catalogues thanks to availability of information from the database
  • Efficient solution setup through preconfigured basic settings, easy customisation and integration to suit surrounding IT systems
  • Location-independent access to all system data using web-based software
  • Lobster_pim offers a company-wide product information and catalogue-management software platform for this purpose, giving users a centralised, structured product information system which contains powerful modules for the following tasks:
  • Centralised product data management
  • Import of basic data and ERP check with systems such as SAP, ORACLE, Navision etc.
  • Dynamic structuring of information
  • Classification management (optional)
  • Versioning
  • Comprehensive search functions
  • Document and image management

FEATURES

FEATURES

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  • Integrated data management with Lobster_data
  • Easy handling of all product data via one central, media-neutral database
  • Version control, data and user history individually definable
  • Detailed rights management, right down to attribute level
  • Integration and replication of customer-specific workflows in Lobster_pim
  • Extremely robust and flexible translation tool which is able to differentiate between cultures and markets
  • Intuitive operability based on familiar patterns
  • Management and direct integration of assets and documents
  • User-friendly GUI: relevant data and display options individually adjustable
  • Individual implementation of product code variant structures
  • Extensive import and export options – XML, CSV, Excel, MDB, ASCII and more
  • Option to export data, lists and tables as Excel spreadsheets or Pdf files at the touch of a button
  • Design support for product and catalogue managers thanks to virtual pages
  • Integration of free-form texts and images. Simplified magalogue planning (promotions catalogue)
  • Additional module Lobster_pim.shop for e-business, mail order and content management
  • Extensive and automated support for various publishing tools, both rule- and template-based
  • Automatic updates through integrated client management
  • Scalable licensing models (rent-to-own models also available) for exceptional efficiency and transparency
  • SaaS solution as well as full in-house integration

Central product data management.

The beating heart of our product information management solution is a centralised, media-neutral product data management system. The central product data source is aligned with partial data sets in other systems (e.g. ERP), in order to guarantee consistent, company-wide information. The system also prepares the product information to be used in various target systems, for example for e-commerce, websites, CD-ROMs or print catalogue productions. Fig. 1 outlines the individual steps: acquisition, maintenance, planning and publication.

Dynamic information structuring.

It is essential that relationships between product data sets are structured dynamically in order to ensure retrievability and visibility. Lobster_pim gives you the option to structure your data multidimensionally.

Import and export.

All customer-specific imports and exports can be integrated easily into the standard user interface using a configuration file and accessed from there.

Imports can generate new structures, create attribute values or simply update existing data.

Incremental imports are possible. Lobster_pim offers the following import options:

  • Import data from CSV, TAB text, Excel files or tables from SQL databases
  • Import texts and pictures
  • The mass import function enables users to import entire directories with pictures and texts all at once. By analysing the file name of the individual text or image, the object can be assigned directly to the product.

 

Exports

  • Non-configured Excel/CSV export. A selection of products can be turned into an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file in edit mode. The exported attributes can be restricted using filters. This means that any user can easily create short-term data for a report, which can even contain product images
  • Configured Excel / CSV export. More complex exports can be configured and made available in a menu which is accessible to all users (rights-dependent).
  • SQL export. Exports data from Lobster_pim to any SQL database (subject to JDBC driver). The export can either be configured based on the project or processed as a ‘generic export’, a standardised output that is independent of customer-specific data structures and can be processed by downstream systems
  • BMEcat export. Products and structures can be exported as a BMEcat file.
  • Lobster_shop export. Specifically tailored to meet the needs of our shop. Search filters and complex data structures can be configured easily. Standard product ranges and marketing campaigns can be combined with minimal configuration necessary
  • PDF export. Images, set attribute values (with attribute names) and texts associated with each selected product can be exported as PDF files. The first page of the PDF file is a table of contents and the design of the PDF file is customisable. The result is an easy-to-make PDF product datasheet
  • Export texts. This feature exports all texts that are subordinate to the selected node in the product tree. Can be formatted as HTML with CSS.
  • Export images. This feature exports previews created by Lobster_pim when importing images.
  • Template-based export. Provides an export interface for any text-based output format (e.g. HTML, LATEX) as well as PDFs, via the integration of FOP.
  • Export group names. This feature allows all group names in the current product tree
    to be exported as Excel spreadsheets for translation.

Classification.

Lobster_pim supports different classification systems. This includes eCl@ss, ETIM, Proficl@ss as standard. The integration of additional systems is possible on request.

Comprehensive search features.

Carry out complex search queries using the search feature. Users can search for variants without an original, for example, use placeholders and regular expressions, or even collate any desired number of search criteria for the attribute values. You can also search for various system attributes (status, attribute group, number of subordinate elements, and much more). Searches can be saved and made available to all users. A quick search can be performed immediately based on the name (e.g. article number) to find any desired object in the product data. Users can also search the history of the individual values.

MEDIA OBJECT MANAGEMENT.

Lobster_pim uses a comprehensive system for storing, enriching, assigning and searching media objects (for example images or documents). These can be stored in separate structures or assigned to a product. In principle, the image data can either be stored in the customer’s file system or in one of several media asset management systems. The handling stays the same. Lobster_pim supports all common image data formats. The light table feature clearly arranges all media objects within a product group next to one another. Lobster_pim is able to automatically assign media objects to products based on certain rules but also has a client-based media browser, where users can assign via drag and drop. Lobster_pim supports the classification of media object data, variants of media objects, OPI, and boasts a media object search feature.

Media Browser.

The Lobster_pim Asset Browser allows the solution to connect to various MAM systems, view the media contained therein, and transfer it to the PIM. Alternatively, media stored in the file system can be treated like a MAM system.

MAM INTERFACE.

Lobster_pim’s MAM (Media Asset Management) interface supports the following systems:

  • Alfresco
  • Celum
  • Cumulus
  • Dateisystem (serverseitge Ordnerstruktur)
  • OPIX Media City
  • Picturepark
  • Pixelboxx
  • SixOMC

When opting for a MAM system, it’s possible to select optional extras, such as image cropping, automatic colour-space conversion and XMP data processing.

DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT.

Using a MAM enables the following features (with certain limitations):

  • Document management
  • Preferred assignment of documents
  • Editing of documents
  • Version management
  • Variant management
  • Search feature

TRANSLATION MANAGEMENT.

Lobster_pim fundamentally allows for all data to be maintained in multiple languages. However, there is also the option of creating language-independent objects.
All Lobster_pim components are web-based and can be operated from any given operating system, and any given browser. With the help of a detailed user administration system, integrated multilingual capabilities and a configurable workflow, translations can be maintained worldwide within the system, whilst translation jobs can be automatically assigned and submitted for review.
Translating within Lobster_pim’s own text editor
When in translation mode, Lobster_pim’s text editor displays the text in two different languages below one another. The source language is read-only, but the user can also access all the changes made to previous versions.

Workflow Management.

Product data maintenance, translation management, media object management, and catalogue management workflows can be mapped in Lobster_pim. Lobster_pim supports both attribute-related as well as object-related workflows. Workflow examples include translating attribute values or texts or managing product data approvals or authorisations for posting information.

Scheduled Jobs
Many PIM processes (including imports, exports, searches, file operations) can be automated for specific times or set to be recurring via the ‘scheduled jobs’ module.

User management and access to the product database
The system comes with a user administration system, where user rights such as reading, changing or deleting can be defined right down to product attribute level. What’s more, the user administration system can also be used to configure the user’s access to the application – i.e. the user’s desktop can be limited to individual fields. This is useful in that it streamlines the process of accessing important information and makes it much easier for the respective user to keep on top of things. Grouping users into user groups makes it easier to assign the same rights to several users. Lobster_pim allows user information to be read and synchronised via LDAP.

TASK MANAGEMENT AND CALENDER SYSTEM.

Lobster_pim allows user to define scheduled tasks. An internal calendar is available for this purpose. Task management supports product data maintenance, translation management, media object and catalogue management.

Modules

MODULES

Graphical publication preplanning.

  • Allows for planning, managing and correcting publications via a whiteboard
  • Export as a PDF or InDesign file for further processing
  • Ideal interplay of whiteboard and InDesign workspaces

 

Interested in a price list for Lobster_pim’s modules and add-ons?

PRIINT:COMET INTERFACE (SOAP).

  • Allows for automated and fully automated creation of InDesign documents directly within the PIM system
  • Offers an integrated change management system

 

Interested in a price list for Lobster_pim’s modules and add-ons?

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E-Fulfillment

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Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo. As part of the Business Technologies segment, the company offers a range of systems, solutions and services, catered to the document lifecycle requirements of the business and production sectors. Konica Minolta has chosen Lobster_pim as a ‘data pool’ to make the product information displayed on their website available to their CMS system, with the added option of refining this product information with product images from Mediastore. The resulting data record can then be transferred to the CMS system either via an InDesign interface to create (semi) automated datasheets or via the Lobster_data tool to make product specifications available for company websites.

Following the first phase of PIM implementation which is focussed on end-customer information, Konica Minolta is also planning on expanding the use of the Lobster_pim software to include other applications, such as optimising the sales department’s quoting software by adding product information and sales texts or making non-public specifications available via the European intranet. In this respect, the ability to translate within Lobster_pim itself has proven to be a major asset, as this information can be made available in up to 25 language