How product data governance enables supply chain circularity 


December 1, 2023

Looking to improve your supply chain circularity? Find out how product data governance offered by advanced PIM systems can help.

Supply chains are complex, shifting entities that require significant time and energy to manage. With so many interconnected parts, supply chains can also be prone to shocks and disruptions. From bad crops and material shortages to market turbulence or changes in consumer preference, there are many ways that supply chains can be impacted. 

But what separates high-performing supply chains from less reliant systems? One of the most important factors influencing supply chain health is how well data flows up and down. This data includes everything from product information to inventory levels and shipping schedules. For the supply chain to run smoothly, this data needs to be accurate, up-to-date, and accessible to different stakeholders.  

With a growing number of companies looking to transition towards circularity, ensuring a constant flow of high-quality, actionable information across supply chains is more important than ever. Technology has evolved to make that task easier. An increasing number of brands and manufacturers rely on Product Information Management (PIM) software to help power their transition to supply chain circularity.

Are your products ready to go circular?

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

The changing nature of product data governance 

Product data governance is the systematic management and control of product-related information throughout its lifecycle. It ensures the accuracy, consistency, transparency, and accessibility of product data across all channels and touchpoints. 

This process is not just about managing numbers and facts. It’s about making raw data meaningful and actionable, transforming it into valuable product information that can drive decision-making processes for both businesses and consumers. It supports the demands of modern commerce, meets consumer expectations for detailed and accurate product information, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements

In a linear product journey, product data governance is primarily concerned with the management of data related to the production and distribution of products. It concentrates on streamlining processes to ensure efficiency in bringing products to market. However, in a circular product journey, data governance moves from focusing on the A-to-B to taking in a much broader view. This broader view considers the entire lifecycle of the product, from conception to disposal or recycling. 

Product data governance for a circular product journey involves collecting and managing data on factors like the origin of materials, environmental footprint, working conditions, and more. The focus shifts towards sustainability and transparency, aligning with contemporary consumer demands and regulatory expectations. 

iron ore freight train in NA rural setting

Why product data governance is essential for circularity 

The simple truth is that it will be near impossible to build a circular economy without effective product data governance. The increasing complexity of modern supply chains and the growing demand for sustainability means companies need to effectively trace individual products from source to sale and beyond. 

An advanced PIM solution plays a pivotal role in facilitating product data governance. It enables businesses to meet the growing demand for transparency and sustainability. By creating a centralized platform to manage, organize, enrich, and distribute product information across all key channels and touchpoints, advanced PIM solutions can also help businesses create and manage supply chain circularity. It does this by powering: 

Improved data transparency 

PIM facilitates transparency over every aspect of the product journey, from raw material sourcing to recycling. It creates an environment of trust with consumers who are increasingly demanding detailed and accurate product information. 

Regulatory compliance 

The EU’s Digital Product Passports are an example of incoming regulation designed to promote circularity in the global economy. However, the DPP is unlikely to be the only one. PIM software simplifies compliance with all your various regulatory requirements related to product information. It does this by making sure all your data is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date. 

Optimized digital shelf performance 

The inriver solution not only manages and organizes product data but also provides digital shelf analytics (DSA) capabilities. This helps you monitor product performance, buyer behavior, and channel competition. All of this makes it easier to understand how your customers are using your products and continuously optimize the after-sales services you offer, as well as the maintenance information you provide. 


A huge part of supply chain circularity is being able to effectively reuse and recycle materials and components. PIM software can transform detailed product information into tailored services such as cross-selling, upselling, and after-sales services. The data insight gained during the use phase of products can contribute to sustainability goals and strengthen customer loyalty, reducing churn and costly returns. For end-of-life processes, PIM software plays a crucial role in facilitating the repairing, repurposing, recycling, or disposing of products responsibly. 

Sustainable resource use 

Product data governance software supports the complete product journey from raw material sourcing to recycling. This enables more efficient resource utilization and makes it easier for companies to identify areas where circularity can be introduced or environmental impacts. 

container ship in middle of ocean

Getting started with data governance 

Getting serious about supply chain circularity and product data governance isn’t a simple process. For many companies, it represents a big change in thinking. That’s because it reimagines the way that supply chains have traditionally been operated and managed. Here are some steps to consider: 

Define your objectives 

The first step in instituting product data governance involves defining what you aim to achieve. This could involve improving data transparency, ensuring regulatory compliance, optimizing digital shelf performance, or fostering sustainability.  

Develop data standards 

Based on your objectives, develop standards that govern how data should be collected, stored, processed, and distributed. These standards will serve as the backbone of your product data governance initiative. 

Establish quality control processes 

Create processes to ensure that your product data meets the established standards. This could involve routine data audits, data cleansing exercises, and regular training for your staff. 

Talk to your supply chain partners 

By working closely with your suppliers and partners, you can ensure that product data is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date. Moreover, this collaboration allows for the seamless exchange of data, which is essential for optimizing your supply chain operations. 

For instance, your suppliers might provide data related to raw material sourcing, while your partners could provide data related to distribution and sales. By integrating this data, you can gain a comprehensive view of your product journey, from raw material sourcing to end-of-life processes. This will enable you to make informed decisions that align with your business objectives and sustainability mandates. 

inriver: The circular solution for ambitious brands 

Your first step to better product data governance and transitioning to a circular product journey is getting the right PIM solution in place. The cloud-native inriver PIM solution empowers your teams to initiate real change across your supply chain. It does this through robust product data governance. This enables you to meet the growing demands for data transparency and positive action from consumers, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders. 

The composable, multi-tenant inriver PIM software offers the most comprehensive product information management solution on the market. Powered by a fully extensible data model that evolves with the demands placed on your products, you have a solid foundation for even the most complex data governance needs. With built-in syndication and digital shelf analytics technology, and advanced data-sharing among a suite of market-leading capabilities, inriver offers the complete solution for every business in every market. 

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

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  • Brooke Cunningham

    Chief Marketing Officer

    As Chief Marketing Officer, Brooke is responsible for inriver's end-to-end marketing strategy.

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