From vision to reality: How PIM fuels a truly circular product journey


October 3, 2023

In his latest blog post, inriver CEO Niels Stenfeldt looks at the role of PIM in powering the new circular product journey.

I’ve written and spoken extensively this year about the urgency for businesses to evaluate their practices and operations to prepare for the reality of a circular economy. According to the World Economic Forum, one of the leading reasons circularity initiatives do not reach their desired scale or impact is “a lack of technology capabilities”.  

Figuring out how to take the ambitious concept of a circular economy and use technology to achieve this vision is a huge part of my “why” I joined inriver. Being part of a movement to improve business’ everyday operations to build a more sustainable world drives me forward. That’s why product information management (PIM) is in such an exciting moment as an industry. With a new breed of PIM, brands and manufacturers can take this “pie-in-the-sky” idea of circularity and begin to translate it into practical and tangible processes that truly facilitate circular decision-making. 

Are your products ready to go circular?

Read the latest inriver ebook “The Circular Product Journey” to find out.

The evolving role of product information

We brought the brightest minds across inriver together to articulate how product information drives circularity at every stage of a product’s journey: from the very initial design and sourcing, to manufacturing practices, product distribution, to the hands of customers—and most importantly—beyond the point of sale. Product data drives brands’ ability to re-use, re-purpose, and re-cycle a product’s components back into the production process.  

In our most comprehensive resource to date, The circular product journey: powering a sustainable, data-driven future with the inriver PIM, you will find practical guidance on how product data can be tracked and collected at each stage of the product journey. This resource includes real brand examples of leaders using product data to inform decision-making and meet the growing demands of customers, regulators, employees, and more. 

Alongside the launch of this ebook, I am sharing a 3-part blog series covering: 1) why product data governance has expanded beyond an internal alignment exercise, 2) inspirational stories of brands who have made substantial progress towards their circularity goals, and 3) a look at the impact brands can have by contributing to a circular economy. 

A “mission-critical requirement” for circularity

There’s an important message I will repeat in this series as it cannot be overstated. Regardless of the level of regulation your business faces today, a flexible data model to govern your product data is a mission-critical requirement to operate as the world changes. In fact, many brands today are subject to more regulation than they may be accounting for right now. It’s not difficult to find products with missing data in their product descriptions resulting in a direct violation of California’s Proposition 65, which requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposure to chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.  

It is impossible to predict all of the specific product data attributes businesses will need to collect in the short or long term to comply with new laws and regulations. I can say with complete confidence, however, that businesses need an extensible product data platform that can accommodate and adapt to new product attributes in a scalable and automated fashion. Organizations must have a PIM system that provides elasticity to evolve alongside an unpredictable future. This is not an investment to be made in the future – it’s one to be made today. 

Whether you and your organization are at step one or step one hundred in your journey toward a circular and sustainable business, I invite you to join the conversation. Engage with leaders within your company to understand what initiatives are on the roadmap. Network with industry peers to learn how other businesses are tackling these challenges. Reach out to inriver to understand how our new breed of PIM can be the technology that accelerates your circular transformation.  

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Powering a Sustainable Future: Notes from our CEO

inriver CEO Niels Stenfeldt explores the role technology can play in building a better future in his blog series "Powering a Sustainable Future: Notes from our CEO". He shares his thoughts on the PIM industry, its direction, the latest trends and innovations, and most importantly how brands and manufacturers can take advantage of this evolution to position themselves as market leaders.

  • Niels Stenfeldt

    Former Chief Executive Officer & Board Member

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