Product Data Management


Product Data Management (PDM) occurs at the intersection of your marketing, supply chain, engineering, and manufacturing. Marketing requires an outside, customer-centric view of the sellable product, while supply chain, engineering, and manufacturing define an internal view of the product.

Product Data Management Terms

Each function uses similar terms to describe the product, but with different meanings.
Product Attribute Supply Chain Engineering & Manufacturing Customer Marketing
Unit of Measure
How many do I buy?
How do I make one?
How many can I buy?
Part Numbers
Supplier Part Number
ERP Part Number
Customer Catalog Number
Standard Cost
List or Negotiated
Shipping Dimensions
Component Dimensions
Product Size & Shape
Supplier Description
Technical Description
Buyers Description
Component Parts
Related Part Numbers
Options & Accessories

Effective Product Data Management requires both an internal and an external view of the product across these functions in five key areas: scope, ownership, maintenance, syndication, and accuracy.


The scope of products under management may sound simple, however, managing new product releases and product life-cycle changes results in a continuous focus:

  • Suppliers might change a component, resulting in a new product for themselves and potentially a new product for you and your customers.
  • Cost takeout activities may result in your engineers defining a new product.


Product data ownership is not the same for the internal and external views of the product:

  • Engineering ownership may be split among leaders of the component parts.
  • Commercial ownership may reside with product marketing, sales, or a general manager.


A single data repository may not exist while the master data source for each attribute and maintenance processes must be defined:

  • Gathering the right data attributes may require joining multiple data sources together.
  • Defining sources of truth for product attributes requires cross-functional collaboration.


Syndication (or more simply, sharing) of product data in and outside of your organization requires specific tools:

  • Product attributes need to be fed to your public website, your customer facing portals for sales, and your electronic supplier catalogs for purchases.
  • Flagging which products are electronically sent with attributes to your customers for their electronic purposes requires discussion and alignment.


The accuracy and completeness of data must be measured continually in order to effectively and timely manage the product life-cycle. The digital view of a product must mirror and bring to life the physical aspects of the product:

  • Required attributes must be completed at the right time using the correct values.
  • Accuracy can be as simple as spelling words correctly for the intended audience (United States vs. United Kingdom’s spelling) or selecting from a common list of values.

Clear iQ’s Product Data Management Approach

Clear iQ works with organizations to understand their product complexity and create approaches to address this issue. To do this, we:

  • Inventory the attributes that supply chain, engineering, and customer care about
  • Conduct voice of the customer activities to assess the completeness and accuracy of the information
  • Establish RACI charts for each product data element to understand who is responsible for documenting the attribute
  • Embed product data completeness measures into the responsible party’s performance measures, and ideally include product data accuracy measures
  • Select Product Information Management (PIM) software, if needed
  • Define maintenance cycles and reporting techniques for completeness and accuracy
  • Conduct one-time cleanup activities
  • Determine which products should be syndicated to whom and how best to engage with the intended end-customers

Contact Us to discuss product data management at your organization.

Clear iQ had the creative vision and strategic mindset at a level that I haven’t seen before.
They don’t fall into the typical consultant mode where they’d present, hand-off, and run away, leaving the client team with people who might not know how to deploy.
We couldn’t have selected a better vendor, lifelong business partner, mentor, and coach.
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