ERP vs. PIM - why do you need a PIM system vs your ERP?

Graphic comparing features of PIM and ERP systems, highlighting the advantages of using PIM for product management.

The dynamic development of e-commerce means that in many companies there is a growing need for multi-level support. Most often, this support comes in the form of dedicated software. Among the most important are: ERP - for company resource management, CRM - for customer management, WMS - for warehouse management and PIM - for product information management. 

Let's focus today on two hot acronyms: ERP and PIM. Without the former no big business can do without, and the latter will, in the near future, appear in almost every company selling online. So let's find out what they are and how they differ.

What is ERP and what is PIM?

ERP is software for the day-to-day management of, among other things: transactions / finance, accounting, human resources, supplies, inventory. In a very big nutshell, ERP takes care of the envelope of your entire business, with a focus on products. 
PIM knows everything about your products. You import data into it from other places. In a PIM, you build an accurate product database, and then you distribute it to every online sales channel.

How do ERPs and PIMs differ?

  • An ERP is mainly used to manage physical products. A PIM is used to manage information about them.
  • An ERP has the basic product information: name, SKU, tech spec, while a PIM takes this data from an ERP and adds it to the other product data. 
  • An ERP is used to manage prices, margins and taxes, but a PIM can pass this information on to selected sales channels.
  • As an ERP handles purchasing and shipping, it operates on transactional and logistical data. Our PIM does not need or store this data.
  • An ERP optimizes the company's business process, while a PIM optimizes the process of creating product data.

What do ERP and PIM have in common?

Well, we now know what separates an ERP and a PIM, let's now talk about what they have in common. And they have a lot in common! First and foremost, implementing an ERP or a PIM system reduces a company's operating costs, and using both tools, only increases this effect. This is a perfect example of the synergy of systems in business.

Benefits of ERP and PIM integration

What are the benefits of integrating the systems in question?

  • The augmentation of product information in ERP thanks to PIM. As a result of this, not only the customers, but also the employees using the ERP, will have complete product information. Minimize confusion.
  • Already at ERP level, you can search for and identify products on which you should place more emphasis when completing the product information in PIM, such as products from a new collection or those with a high markup. 
  • The transfer of price and other business information from an ERP to a PIM enables better coordination of promotional activities.
  • Instead of sending only basic data from an ERP to partners and contractors, it can be supplemented with data from a PIM - for a more complete picture.
  • By integrating ERP and PIM, "spreadsheet pong" can be reduced.

If you agree with some or all of the points above, it is a sign that your e-commerce business needs a product information management system.

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