Typical use cases
Master data management
Depicting internal processes in manufacturing companies showing competency allocation and related reporting, requires a classification of one’s own product spectrum. Depicting distribution processes of these companies also requires portfolio structuring towards the customer. Procurement, production, and distribution processes are becoming increasingly intertwined, viewed from a SCM (Supply Chain Management) perspective. Therefore, use of a cross-industry standard offers a basis for data exchange between the areas involved.
eCl@ss product classification allows companies to include their products and services in a standardised category structure, easily and efficiently. It can be used for the organisation of procurement processes as well as in-house reporting. The advantages:
- eCl@ss covers a broad range of procurement subjects for both manufacturing and trade.
- Nowadays, many suppliers can already make eCl@ss-classified product data available – additional in-house classification is no longer required - reducing processes and increasing procurement efficiency at the same time.
- On top of that, eCl@ss is available in several languages and can therefore be used internationally.
Engineering – Tools
Apart from classic E-Procedure processes, eCl@ss 7.0 is becoming more and more important for process integration into electronic planning processes because it also allows transfer of E-CAD planning data from the manufacturer to the customer. Nowadays, companies wishing to make planning data available for ECAD systems have to use numerous target formats. Something, which is costing companies a considerable investment in resources. eCl@ss 7.0 provides a data model that simplifies transfer of planning data and subsequently accelerates planning processes. Example: The industrial enterprise “ABC LTD” provides its customers with product information and planning data. At ABC LTD, two people are working on preparing data for E-CAD system 1, E-CAD system 2, E-CAD system 3, and E-CAD system 4 because each planning system has quite different requirements. By introducing eCl@ss 7.0, ABC LTD provides its software partners with only a single electronic catalog in BMEcat format, which contains both product information and planning information for the E-CAD-systems. A single person can now create this catalog at ABC LTD. A prerequisite for making product information available for the various business processes is implementation of the eCl@ss data model in the user's management system for product information.
Product data for eProcurement and PIM systems
eCl@ss 7.0, being the descriptive standard, allows efficient linking of e-Procurement processes beyond the boundaries of individual companies: under ideal circumstances the manufacturer, to be precise, classifies each product or service only once. Any other participant in the process then uses the classified data. Procurement as well as master and product data management benefit in particular because investment in classification and data maintenance can be minimised.
Marketplaces offer the user an advantage because it allows them to compare many suppliers and their respective product portfolios. If a proper overview of manufacturers and their own product structures is insufficient, then an overall structure is required whereby manufacturers have to categorise their products in order to be of any service to the user. For such purposes, eCl@ss and its version 7.0 in particular, provide an excellent basis because it not only allows a hierarchic product search but also product selection using the attributes. Use of eCl@ss 7.0 Advanced Representation also gives users the opportunity to make relevant engineering data immediately available.
Using eCl@ss 7.0, procurement organisations can easily conclude tender-based framework contracts with their suppliers. Procurement operators draw up specifications based on eCl@ss 7.0 in respect of products to be purchased and submit these to their suppliers so they can put in a bid.
- regarding products are taken from (reference) details based on attributes laid down in eCl@ss 7.0,
- regarding description details of catalog products and services are laid down in “templates”.
In turn, suppliers manage their product information based on industrial standards regardless of the applying procurement organisation and integrate the product information of their sub-suppliers. Avoiding different product description standards increases data quality and data security.
Example: Procurement operator ABC defines a partial eCl@ss segment relevant to the actual procurement e.g. laptops. The procurement operator, using segment details, defines the “laptop” requirements, for example hard disk capacity > 500 GB. Procurement organisation ABC defines the descriptive details required from the expected catalogs i.e. the properties (and proposal values) which the supplier is obliged to provide, for instance manufacturer, manufacturer's article number, CPU-type, guarantee period. Procurement organisation ABC distributes its segment details, covering the requirements and requested descriptive details expected from the catalogs, to its suppliers. Supplier XYZ creates a BMEcat for his products together with the required descriptive details and enters his product data in the catalog. To make sure everything is correct, the supplier checks the BMEcat to see whether:
- the data are correctly coded in accordance with eCl@ss,
- the data requirements of the corresponding catalog included in the templates and
- the article requirements are met.
Using this catalog, the supplier offers his products to procurement organisation ABC enclosing the catalog at the same time. Procurement organisation ABC carries out its commercial selection and downloads the catalog on its IT-system to ensure product access under the agreed conditions.
eCl@ss as an in-house data model
eCl@ss 7.0 can assist in optimising in-house data management. Many companies find that providing product information is becoming more and more complex. Apart from the ever-increasing complexity of data processing, demands placed on master data management are growing continuously. Systems have to be able to save master and product data in such a way that they can serve virtually any publication channel. Company officials responsible for the products are often not aware of which product properties to describe in order to cover any business event. In such cases, eCl@ss 7.0 would also be an obvious choice when looking for an in-house data model to describe products.
Catalog data exchange (e.g. BMEcat)
A uniform catalog data exchange format is a prerequisite for standardised master and product data exchanges. This is where the BMEcat-format comes into it. BMEcat is able to display eCl@ss 7.0 in full; it allows description of classified products, which can then be transferred to a business partner in the form of a complete catalog.