No change means no progress. And that is why we at Onetrail work on optimizing our services on a daily basis. One of the issues that we have recently addressed is our Product Data Index (PDI).
Since the launch of our Trading Partner Network we maintain this index which contains all products that suppliers offer via our network. All items in the index are unique and only listed once. For every product, the index offers an overview of all suppliers of this particular product.
For a correct index it is essential that products are unique. That is why we always check, index and classify all data of the products that are offered through our network. If that is done, a product receives a unique number: the Product Data Index number with the corresponding classifications and suppliers.
In the early days of our network, we used the Manufacturer Parts Number (MPN) as the basis for the PDI number. The MPN is a number that a manufacturer assigns to their product or part. At that time, we opted for the MPN because of its wide coverage. The alternative Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) was then still in its infancy.
But processes continue to evolve. For example, the importance of clear product information is more important than ever due to the enormous growth of ecommerce. GTIN is now increasingly becoming the standard for many manufacturers and has proven to be a good alternative for the MPN. The main reason for that is that the GTIN is always a unique number for each product. With the MPN, it may happen that different vendors use the same numbering scheme and that therefore the number is not unique. That is impossible with the GTIN. In addition, the GTIN is the basis for barcodes that are not only important in stores, but nowadays also support all logistics processes for retailers.
That is why we have decided to take the GTIN as the basis for the Product Data Index matching. Only if an item does not have a GTIN, we use the MPN for matching.
We use the GTIN for matching purposes only. The MPN will remain the value for the Product Data Index number.
This step has led to a smaller Product Data Index, which as a result is also cleaner. In addition, it is easier to search the PDI, because de PDI number enables to see all parties that sell a specific product.
More information about GTIN can be found in this knowledge base article: What is a GTIN?