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PIM system and EPREL synergy: A smart approach to sustainable product information management 

The integration of PIM and EPREL allows enterprises to create comprehensive information descriptions in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

In the rapidly evolving eCommerce world, brands are facing new opportunities and challenges almost every day.

When entering the European business landscape, the importance of sustainable product information management (PIM) is constantly increasing, as consumers care about their environmental impact, and energy efficiency information directly influences purchasing decisions. Therefore, companies try to follow effective strategies to manage and communicate accurate information about the products they sell. 

For a certain category of products, the European Database on Energy Labelling (EPREL) comes into force at this stage. After interacting with it, the products receive permission for sale in the EU. At the initiative of the European Union, EPREL plays a key role in promoting energy efficiency and promoting sustainable product management. 

What is the EPREL database? 

According to the European Commission, EPREL stands for European Product Registry for Energy Labelling.

On March 1, 2021, new EU energy labelling regulations came into force, obliging manufacturers to upload information about their products to the EPREL database and obtain the appropriate labels before selling them on the market.

The classification of product groups to be registered in EPREL was also clarified and changed.  

Why is this important for manufacturers? 

In general, the EPREL database is a necessary step for companies on the way to entering the EU markets.

The difficulty is mainly to register the entire portfolio of products relatively quickly (in bulk, which is mandatory for registration), controlling which data are missing and which attributes need to be added to pass EPREL validation and to update product data promptly.

Product fact sheets provide up-to-date information on energy efficiency for viewing energy labels. EU Energy Labelling Framework Regulation 2017/1369 (August 1, 2017) replaced EU Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU. Large classes of goods such as lighting, air-conditioning equipment, and even car tires were among those required for registration.

Here you can view the list of product groups that must be registered in the EPREL database before being sold on the EU market. 

There are three main sections required to enter data into the EPREL database: energy label, technical documentation, and compliance information. 

What are the main problems in working with EPREL? 

From Gepard’s experience, I can say that setting up the delivery of product data to EPREL is a complex process that requires a lot of time, effort, and practice. As with any new legal framework, it is a difficult period for companies to adapt their procedures to comply with the issued regulations. 

Let’s look at the most common difficulties faced by manufacturers, such as the lack of direct correspondence between the old (before 2021) classes and the new ones in the label model, and the need to adapt product data to the EPREL database data model.

It is also often difficult for inexperienced users to understand complex technical documentation. Frequently, massive data downloads that require a lot of time lead to systematic errors. Sometimes the user does not have standards and a master list of attributes for each product category. And there is no access to any data pool, streaming data, or data aggregator sources, the process is purely manual, managed, and based on Excel and hundreds of notes.  

No information, no tools, no workflow… A complex multi-step setup is required to start the data delivery process. By combining PIM and EPREL, businesses can gain numerous benefits and provide comprehensive and transparent product information flow. 

How to enter data into EPREL? 

Generally, there are two ways to send data to EPREL: manual and automatic. If manual data delivery is selected, the user must register with EPREL and then manually enter data for each product as required by the EPREL database. If it is also possible to download a ZIP file containing XML with all models to be built on EPREL and all relevant attachments. To do this, you will have to adjust the product information according to EPREL standards. 

Automated data transfer can seem like a complicated process; however, this is the best way to ensure a smooth data transfer on the first try. This requires choosing a reliable IT automation solution that specialises in data syndication and sharing product data (CSV, XLSX, XML, JSON) with an integration partner. The product data sheets will then be automatically adapted for the EPREL taxonomy with the option of automatically uploading to EPREL. 

Typically, manual data delivery leads to numerous errors and waste of time, as well as creating headaches for the operations team.  On the other hand, automatic data entry into EPREL helps companies focus their efforts on more strategic issues. 

What is the role of PIM system in facilitating interaction with EPREL? 

When PIM and EPREL are combined, they create a powerful framework for sustainable product information management. This integration allows companies to align their data management, energy efficiency, compliance, and customer loyalty, resulting in the automation of product data transfer. 

The integration of PIM and EPREL eliminates data disconnection and ensures accurate and consistent product information. By automating data synchronisation, companies can minimise manual errors, avoid duplication, and maintain updated energy efficiency metrics. This synergy increases transparency, instills consumer confidence, and reinforces credibility in the positioning of a brand that sells sustainable products. 

EPREL sets the requirements for energy efficiency, while PIM provides the necessary infrastructure to manage and update product information. The integration of both systems allows companies to optimise work on compliance with regulatory requirements. They can easily incorporate EPREL requirements into their PIM workflow, ensuring compliance with EU energy labelling regulations. This integration minimises the risk of non-compliance and possible penalties. 

The combination of PIM and EPREL offers a centralised platform for managing product data. PIM systems provide robust data management capabilities that enable businesses to maintain data accuracy, completeness, and integrity. By leveraging these capabilities, organisations can effectively meet EPREL’s data requirements, reducing administrative burden and improving overall data quality. 

EPREL serves as a valuable data source for PIM systems, providing detailed energy performance attributes and related information. By integrating data through PIM into EPREL and back, businesses can enrich their product information with comprehensive data on energy consumption, efficiency ratings, and environmental impact metrics. This integration enables companies to effectively communicate the benefits of their products. 

The integration of PIM and EPREL allows enterprises to create comprehensive information descriptions in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. By consolidating data from both systems, organisations gain a holistic view of energy efficiency, environmental impact, and sustainability performance.

This integrated reporting facilitates informed decision-making, supports environmental certifications, and enhances the organisation’s reputation as a responsible and sustainable brand.   In turn, it meets consumer expectations and gains important competitive advantages in the market. 

The result of a synergistic effect 

The combination of PIM and EPREL provides enterprises with a unique opportunity to automate the management of information about their products.

By integrating these systems, businesses can achieve increased data accuracy, simplified compliance, comprehensive reporting, and increased consumer engagement. Applying these synergies allows businesses to not only meet regulatory requirements but also use sustainability as a competitive advantage.

Therefore, the integration of PIM and EPREL is a strategic approach to achieving environmentally conscious product management and promoting a more sustainable future. 

This content has been produced in collaboration with a partner organisation through our Global Visibility Programme. Our programme helps companies boost their digital presence and strengthen the thought leadership of their experts. Find out more here.