Overview of existing product classification for T/C/F
Product classification is critical to the functioning of any industry in the knowledge based market of today. In the e-business context, product classification is the basis to design electronic catalogues. A harmonised product classification will help buyers to easily find the products listed in these catalogues, to order and purchase them. It will help all the trading partners to create and maintain quality relationships. A standardised classification structure will help manufacturers to easily classify their products.
The objective of eBiz-TCF has been to provide trading partners a common description being accessible by all parties involved in the value chain. It serves the industry and retailers in their electronic business transactions and facilitate electronic procurement. It ensures visibility to European niche products on the international scene. It is a key to a more open market and increase the competitiveness on the world stage.
Different product classifications do exist for TCF sector, all with different structures, history and use.
Overview of the product classifications for TCF without being complete:
Matching with the requirements
Connecting companies electronically between each other can only be achieved if the data required within the industry are gathered once at one source and then are transmitted between the IT systems directly. For example, in order to transmit article data it is important that one can depend on industry standards. In this way, additional internal work to translate external data into internal formats (manually or with conversion tables) can be avoided.
Only with the help of an efficient product classification, companies will be able to enjoy the enclosed benefits as:
The classifications systems for both sectors can be reviewed and modifications proposed but all proposals will take into the need for a common system to inter-operate with existing local classification systems and the particular needs of the sectors which require different levels of categorisation and flexibility in order to allow niche productions as well as seasonal product innovations.
Standards for identification
For identification the standards of GS1 will be used only. These are
A retailer needs a GLN for headquarter, every branch and all locations involved either in the logistics or the financial process. For a single store retailer all this is the same which results in one GLN. In more complex business organizations GLN for shop-in-shop areas might be useful. The producer needs separate identifications for special business models. Especially if charge-by-delivery and consignment models are used with the same customer, different identifications should identify the processes as different logical suppliers.
Note that, regarding the pilots in the framework of eBIZ-TCF, because some pilot partners are not able to implement the identifications in due time (and the other partners of the small pilot group are able to process the communication without it), it will be acceptable to implement without the appropriate identifications for the first step. Anyhow, for compliance with the architecture it will be enough to have the statement that those companies will implement before they will start to broaden their communication towards other partners.
Standards for classification
The article classification is important as a tool to support the automated inserting of article data at the retailer’s side. For product group classification the GPC is globally proposed by GS1. Other regional/national classifications have a regional use, like, in Germany, EAS for footwear, DTB product groups for textile/clothing and FEDAS for sports. They are the most widespread standards for product group classifications. For color and article class it is recommended to use the definitions from the WWS profile. Concerning size there is no transnational running standard but there is the CEN workgroup WG10 TC248 draft specifications (pr EN13402-4, ) for the "Size designation of clothes -Codying system" that still is a draft not implemented. Because of this the producer should use his national size schema and the retailer will assign the local codes by a lookup table. RMS providers should build their article inserting process in a way, that these classifications, together with GTIN and three level identification of article number, color code and size code, are sufficient for the task.
Good practices: the use of DTB product groups for TC sector
Why do we use of DTB product groups ?
To be of real use the specification has to be used at least down to group level better to sub group level. On a higher level the information is useless because the retailer is not able to map to his own groups in a unique way and the goal of automated creation of the article data set is missed.