Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of a standardised product data template?

Consistency, accuracy, reliability, structure which saves time and resources.

Why are the BMF introducing a standardised product data initiative?

To have greater supply chain collaboration and improve the reliable flow of product data. A standard to support expanding legislative considerations and, where practicable, facilitate automation

What is the purpose of the standardised product data template?

To provide structured and dependable data that can save time and effort when the information is utilised within the supply chain. To ensure accurate and timely product related data is readily available to the end consumer and decision makers.

What happens to the data?

At this stage the structured data supplied by manufacturers and suppliers is emailed directly to merchants and buying groups. Alternatively, data files can be transferred securely over Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

Where can the data be used?

The data can be used for merchants Enterprise Resource Platforms (ERP), to drive their e-commerce or web platforms and in printed brochures or catalogues. The Standard data can be loaded into Product Information Management (PIM) systems for further enrichment. With a consistent data template, the process of data ingestion into Business Systems can be automated.

What format is the template in?

The template is currently in a multi-tabbed Microsoft Excel file, this will potentially change over time to be a more automated on-line form linked to an industry data pool.

Will the template change?

Yes, there will be version releases when new tabs or attributes are added, for example tabs for timber and sustainability data. It is important that the latest version is always used.

Where to get the data template?

This can be downloaded from the BMF website or email [email protected]

Who do I contact at the BMF to find out more?

The main point of contact would be Dave Bate (ETIM UK Manager) [email protected] or call 07923-221526.

What IT systems can use this template and the data from it?

The template is currently being tested by many industry-leading service providers for Enterprise Resource Platforms (ERP) and Product Information Management (PIM) systems. Ultimately, any system can use the structured data via data import routines.

What support is available and where do I find it?

The template guide (data schema), briefing guides and example product specific guidance sheets are available to download via the BMF website and there will be supporting webinars and work groups as the standard matures within the industry.

Do I need to fill it all in?

Manufacturers and suppliers need to complete as much data as possible across all tabs, the more data provided the better the user experience will be which will lead to better informed purchasing decisions being made. There are several mandatory data fields that are required as agreed within the supply chain. 

Who in the business does this template go to?

There may be many people responsible for data depending on the size of your business, but some suggestions would be the team responsible for product and pricing data, marketing, technical experts, and product management.

What format are the digital assets required in?

This depends on what the digital assets are, but the usual suggested formats are PDF’s for datasheets and JPG /PNG for image files and, where practicable, the URL link.

Has it been tested?

Yes. A working group was established that comprised of buying groups, merchants, suppliers, and service providers. All feedback provided was reviewed and used to improve the inaugural released template.

How to provide feedback?

Feedback is vital to the continued success and improvement of the template and supporting documentation and there is an on-line feedback form via the BMF website. 

Does my service provider/buying group know about this, how do I work with them?

This probably depends on whether your specific service provider is a member of, or has been in contact with, the BMF. Please provide them with the details of the data template and BMF contact information.

Whose responsibility is it to keep the template/data up to date?

Whilst the manufacturer is responsible for the accuracy of the data provided within the template, the merchants and buying groups can always ask if there are any additional information or product data updates.

What are the benefits for suppliers?

A single template that is widely accepted by merchants and buying groups, this will save time and effort and bring greater structure, consistency, and reliability of data through the supply chain.

How will I implement it?

To implement the template within your business numerous business functions may need to be involved including pricing, product management, marketing, IT and technical sales specialists.

How can I trust this is the right data solution?

This template has been developed and tested in collaboration with buying groups, merchants (both national and independent), manufacturers, distributors, and service providers with the backing of the Builders Merchants Federation.

What to say to your provider if they are not using it?

Get on the bus!