At last year’s ASA Strategic Planning Retreat, volunteers discussed the idea of a “product data library” that could be the sole source of manufacturer product data to help enable distributors to compete against online-first, big-box retailers, and other nontraditional competitors. Subsequently, ASA convened a task group to continue further exploration of this idea. 

The task group reported that since there are existing efforts attempting to solve this issue, ASA should not duplicate efforts. Instead, it was suggested that ASA explore the possibility of standardized data set(s) to facilitate a timely, predictable and efficient way to receive manufacturer product data for use by distributors in PIMs, ERPs and eCommerce systems. 

Last fall, ASA had an initial meeting with a distributor and a manufacturer team to discover more specifics of the challenge. It was suggested that a near-term way step was to bring awareness to all distributors regarding who the contact that currently provides data is at each manufacturer.

In support of that suggestion, the ASA D.NEXT lab team has engaged in collecting data to support the creation of a “Quick Link” directory of manufacturer product data, contact persons and/or manufacturer data location links to be hosted by ASA for the exclusive use of ASA members.

This Quick Link directory will enable ASA’s leading distributors to access contact information for all manufacturers in a single location. The intended benefits to our distributor members teams will be:

  1. Single location to obtain data-related manufacturer contact persons (email and/or phone) to centralize and speed access by distributor personnel to the manufacturer product data needed for their ERP or PIM systems.
  2. Single location to raise awareness and reduce confusion in finding the correct manufacturer contact persons, as well as enable more efficient data requests or downloads between distributors and manufacturers.

Further, in support of exploring the potential for standardization of product data sets and sharing, ASA is hosting two product data roundtable meetings this spring in Chicago – one for manufacturers and one for distributors. The purpose of these sessions is to facilitate discussion and broaden learnings specifically around the topic of manufacturer created product data information sets. 

For more information, contact ASA Vice President of Innovation Beth Ladd at