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Provide product information intended for distribution
Data should always be stored only once and centrally. This avoids redundancies. If data is not stored centrally and is accessible to many users, redundant storage can easily occur. The data on product information can also generate redundancies through confusing and distributed storage. Editorial systems, construction, image databases – all these units store data separately. In most cases, data for different output media is not formatted as required, but already exists in preformatted form – layout, size, media-specific – and several times parallel to each other as paper, PDF or web content. For different user groups, data is stored in different folders, such as DMS, SharePoint, cloud storage, local hard disk or managed by different systems such as PLM, ERP, CRM, etc. If data for certain applications, such as product configurators, web shops or operating instructions, is also generated separately, then chaos is programmed.
A product information system can help here. The focus is on the central administration of all information about products. The administration should be media-neutral. Maintenance and modifications should take place at one point in the company. The dynamic supply of all output channels for the product publication then takes place from this system. For this purpose, however, a further data storage system is usually introduced, the Product Information Management (PIM). The added value of PIM can also be achieved by making consistent use of existing central storage options.
This is referred to as direct publishing in connection with the product information already stored in a structured manner in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). If sufficient product descriptive information is already available in PLM (2D representations, images, descriptive texts for assembly, maintenance and use and others), assembly and operating instructions, spare parts catalogs and maintenance instructions can be generated automatically. An editorial system for the creation of descriptive texts can only ever describe the components of a product which are manufactured by the company itself. For supplier components, the supplier documentation must also be included in the final documentation. The central PLM also specifies the structure and navigation options in the overall documentation to be generated. If you want to generate operating and maintenance instructions, test reports or data sheets automatically, a specific creation of these documents is usually not necessary. Use the information as it is and the direct publishing system automatically compiles everything and, if desired, supplements it with a cover page, table of contents and uniform headers and footers with sequential page numbering and much more.
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