eClass and ETIM are two different standards for product information.
eCl@ss is a cross-industry product data standard for classification and description of products and services emphasizing on being a ISO/IEC compliant industry standard nationally and internationally. The classification guides the eCl@ss standard for product attributes (in eClass called properties) that are needed for a product with a given classification.
ETIM develops and manages a worldwide uniform classification for technical products. This classification guides the ETIM standard for product attributes (in ETIM called features) that are needed for a product with a given classification.
It is worth noticing, that these two standards are much more elaborate than for example the well-known classification system called UNSPSC, as UNSPSC only classifies products, but does not tell which attributes (and with what standards) you need to specify a product in detail.
There is a cooperation between eClass and ETIM which means, that you can map between the two standards. However, it will not usually make sense for one organization to try to use both standards at the same time.
What does make sense is combining the two standards, if you as merchant use one standard and your manufacturer use the other standard. The place to make the combination is within Product Data Lake, the new service for exchanging product information between manufacturers and merchants.
The importance of having a viable Product Information Management (PIM) solution has become well understood for companies who participates in supply chains.
The next step towards excellence in PIM is to handle product information in close collaboration with your trading partners. Product Data Lake is the solution for that. Here upstream providers of product information (manufacturers and upstream distributors) and downstream receivers of product information (downstream distributors and retailers) connect their choice of in-house PIM solution or other product master data solution as PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) or ERP.
The PIM-2-PIM solution resembles a social network where you request and accept partnerships with your trading partners from the real world.
After connecting the next to set up is how your product attributes and digital asset types links with the one used by your trading partner. In Product Data Lake we encompass the use of these different scenarios (in prioritized order):
- You and your trading partner uses the same standard in the same version
- You and your trading partners uses the same standard in different versions
- You and your trading partner uses different standards
- You and/or your trading partners don’t use a public standard
Read more about that and the needed data governance in the post Approaches to Sharing Product Information in Business Ecosystems.
Then it is time to link your common products. This can be done automatically if you both use a GTIN (or the older implementations as EAN number or UPC) as explained in the post Connecting Product Information. Alternatively, model numbers can be used for matching or, as a last option, the linking can be done in the interactive user interface.
Now you and your trading partner are set to start automating the process of sharing product information. In Product Data Lake upstream providers of product information can push new products, attribute values and digital assets from the in-house PIM solution to a hot folder, where from the information is uploaded by Product Data Lake. Downstream receivers can set up pull requests, where the linked product information is downloaded, so it is ready to be consumed by the in-house PIM solution.
This process can now be repeated with all your other trading partners, where you reuse the elements that are common between trading partners and build new linking where required.