Companies that want to compete globally need digital blueprints of their business processes – they must describe them quickly, transparently, flexibly and yet in as standardized a way as possible. Today, digital information exchange is the foundation of almost all business processes, from purchasing to production to sales and invoicing.
However, automated communication between business partners requires a common language that underlies the exchange of information: these are the e-business standards that make successful and efficient digital business processes possible.
Product data exchange via electronic catalogs: common data pool for suppliers, retailers and companies
Today, the exchange of product data takes place in e-business – almost without exception – via standardized electronic catalogs. An electronic catalog, or e-catalog, is understood to be a data set consisting of information to describe products or services. In particular, e-catalogs include product descriptions, data about supply chain and logistics, prices, technical features and multimedia data. E-catalogs are exchanged between suppliers, retailers and procurement companies.
The most widely used e-catalog format in Europe is “BMEcat”. This XML-based catalog exchange format was developed in 1999. Collaborators included the Federal Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME), the Fraunhofer Institute for Labour Economics and Organisation (ILO) in Stuttgart, the Universities of Duisburg-Essen and Linz, as well as numerous large companies and technology partners such as e-pro solutions GmbH. In addition to BMEcat, other XML formats such as GS1–XML or IDEA-XML are also used in certain industries
BMEcat in electronic procurement: The basis for e-procurement
Electronic catalogs and “BMECat” are at the heart of many electronic procurement systems: With the help of BMEcat e-catalogs, product data is exchanged between suppliers and procuring companies. Orders in companies are handled electronically via e-procurement systems.
Are you in purchasing and receive electronic catalogs, e.g. as BMEcat?
With our e-catalog software, e-proCAT, you can quickly open, view and inspect electronic catalogs. You determine what acceptance criteria and quality checks are need, e.g. for checking for specific BMEcat versions, mandatory fields, field lengths, data types or additional standard criteria, or you can build quality gates and custom test criteria yourself, if required.
Learn more about e-proCAT
Your customer requires you deliver your own electronic catalogs, e.g. in BMEcat format?
e-proCAT enables you to create electronic catalogs in different formats such as BMEcat, GS1–XML or IDEA-XML: The targets of the target system (BMEcat version, mandatory fields, field lengths, data types, classifications, etc.) can be parameterized and adjusted to fit your needs. e-proCAT minimizes painful work doing product data maintenance and classification and ensures that your products are perfectly presented to your customers. It might even make this work fun.
Learn more about e-proCAT
Electronic marketplaces and online shops: Provision product data in a standardized fashion
Electronic marketplaces provide the products and services from many different suppliers on a common online platform. These electronic marketplaces are an essential part of modern e-commerce and are developed as cross-industry platforms with broad ranges of products or as industry-specific initiatives serving specific needs. Marketplaces may be public and open to everyone or invitation-only, offering access to a certain circle of business partners.
Some of the most important electronic marketplaces include:
- Amazon Business
Regardless of marketplace and format, suppliers generally provide their data as electronic catalogs. In addition to Excel or CSV, standard exchange formats such as BMEcat or GS1–XML are commonplace and have become well-established in many industries today. These standardized catalog exchange formats simplify the onboarding for marketplace operators, that must ingest product data different product categories and from a broad range of suppliers. They also ensure that products and services are presented uniformly, and content is provided in a complete manner. It also makes it easier to compare products and services between different vendors on the marketplace.
The same applies to many online shops: If the data is delivered in a standard exchange format such as BMEcat, a uniform, complete and transparent presentation of the product information is guaranteed.