FullTilt suite makes fast work of product information management
When Milwaukee-based badge and label manufacturer Brady Corp. decided to build an online store, it hit a problem: using Excel spreadsheets to manage the information for tens of thousands of products was error-prone and inefficient.
When Milwaukee-based badge and label manufacturer Brady Corp . decided to build an online store, it hit a problem: using Excel spreadsheets to manage the information for tens of thousands of products was error-prone and inefficient.
In particular, there was no way to make "global" data changes, which forced staff to manually update the same details on a given product in multiple locations in Brady's e-catalog. Storing widely differing product attributes also proved difficult. While relevant attributes for a label might include its color, dimensions, and type of adhesive, label printers might include dots per inch and printing speed.
The answer came in the form of the FullTilt Solutions ’ Perfect Product Suite, a Web-based product information management (PIM) solution capable of storing product data and attributes for every Brady product in a single central repository. The FullTilt repository is the system of record, instantly reflecting across the company any changes that have been made, with updates exported to the online store as required.
While the implementation at Brady exemplifies FullTilt’s capabilities in a downstream supply chain scenario, FullTilt says manufacturers are deploying the technology in both upstream and downstream applications.
“Once a manufacturer reaches a certain size, keeping track of the attributes of the products that they buy and sell becomes difficult,” says Michael Brenner, marketing director at FullTilt. “Ideally, as orders move along the supply chain, product attribute information should move with them—but with potentially hundreds of thousand of attributes to track, the potential for error is significant.”
FullTilt’s offering differs sharply from the approach taken by the major vendors in the product information management space, asserts Brenner. “We have commercial-grade code, ready to be implemented out of the box,” he says. “Most other vendors sell product information management tool kits that can double the cost of the implementation.”
Not to mention the implementation time frame. A recent deployment for example, went live in just six weeks, says Brenner, "which is almost unheard of in the [PIM] space.”
Privately held, FullTilt is still a relative minnow in the market, as its employees still outnumber its customers by a factor of two. But as more manufacturers wake up to the advantages of PIM within the supply chain, Brenner regards the company as well positioned to compete.
“We differentiate ourselves on speed of implementation and scalability,” stresses Brenner. “It’s usable code, right out of the box—and usable within weeks, not months.”
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey