Table of content
1.1 HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
1.2 THE SOLUTION
1.3 DEVELOPMENT AND CERTIFICATION OF BMECAT
2. TARGET GROUPS
3. BMECAT AND XML
3.1 XML AS THE BASE OF BMECAT
3.2 THE WORKING SYSTEM OF BMECAT
3.3 CONTENT AND STRUCTURE OF BMECAT
3.4 EXAMPLE OF BMECAT
3.5 COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN OPENTRANS AND BMECAT
4. BMECAT AND OTHER SOLUTIONS
4.1 XML BASED STANDARDS
4.3 SAP SOLUTION
4.4 MICROSOFT BIZTALK ACCELERATOR FOR SUPPLIERS
5. BMECAT EXPERIENCES
5.2 BARDUSCH TEXTILE SERVICES GMBH
5.3 PHILIPS LIGHTS
6. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE OF BMECAT
List of Structure
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In electronic catalogue interchange we have more than 160 different standards to support the catalogue exchange. BMEcat is one of the most important exchange standards in Europe. BMEcat is an open source XML based standard, developed by the BME, Fraunhofer Institute, University of Essen and Linz to support the supplier - customer business in the industry. The special in BMEcat is the wide range of supported branches. So it is possible for a company to have a look on all needed products and services to run the business, not only the production related. In 2004 we are preparing for version 2.0 with the integration of openTRANS as a document interchange standard. The paper describes the working system and the structure of the standard; comparing it to other solutions and showing up some experiences of users. Finally we sketch the future of BMEcat.
1.1 History and Background
Recently marketplace between sales and procurement has already developed into a digitalization and electronically level. This means that many companies in a different kind field of industry have developed and use their sale and procurement process to e-business, particularly big companies which have numerous number of suppliers and customers. This situation brings suppliers, manufacturers, distribution centre, sole agents, and customers from different kind of background into an e-marketplace. All of these market elements bring their products to the marketplace electronically that allow the participants of marketplace to see and study their products in more flexible way.
The environment of e-marketplace is wide-range and variously. Same kind of products is offered by different suppliers with various ways and characters to the marketplace and manufacturer/customer are searching for the most optimum supplier from this marketplace. Imagine a big company like Siemens that has 220,000 suppliers to handle offer and find the right supplier for their purchasing. Therefore, a standard of product information is needed to ease customers to have the right information about the product and also for the supplier to provide the right information about their product.
1.2 The Solution
Today, about 160 electronically standards are circulating in the internet worldwide. Since November 1999 in Germany, the German Federal Association for Material Management, Purchasing and Logistics (Bundesverband Materialwirtschaft, Einkauf und Logistik eV. /BME) has issued a product catalogue standard, so called BMEcat which is an open source service. The version 1.0 was supported by leading companies like American Express, Alcatel, Bayer, BMW, Daimler Chrysler, SAP, Siemens, etc.
The specialized development partners from BMEcat were carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute IAO, Stuttgart and the universities of Essen and Linz (Austria). The official technology partners are Oracle and JAB Germany.
BMEcat offers even more possibilities for the sales side. Apart from being used to transfer data, the standardised BMEcat catalogue document can also be put to excellent use in order to compile or update a purchaser's own online shop for sales support. As the result, BMEcat will considerably reduce costs not only from the supplier side, but also from the purchasing side.
1.3 Development and Certification of BMEcat
Since the version 1.0 was released, it was upgraded two times to the version 1.2, and 2.0. The latest version 2.0 is planed to be released in second quarter 2004. The following figure and table gives an overview what was implemented since the first launch up to today.
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Figure 1 development of BMEcat
Version 1.01 (Release: November 1999)
- Extensive coverage of the requirements made of multi-media product data and catalogue structures
- Structuring of the product data in several fields, e.g. basic data, packaging data, price data, multi- media additional data, article structure data, catalogue structure data
- Recommendations for the use of standardized product classification systems (catalogue structures)
- Definition of must and can fields, data types, field lengths and additional regulations
- Definition of several catalogue transactions: for example new, complete product catalogue, updating of individual product data, updating of prices
- Possibility to transfer main data and multi-media additional data separately
- The Internet but also conventional media (CD-ROM, discs, DAT) can be used for data transfer
- Direct import into all important target systems for online catalogues used in procurement or sales
- Definition of data structures and exchange formats with the aid of XML, the standard descriptive language for structured data exchange in the Internet environment
- Simple expansion of the standard is possible to fulfil future requirements
- Users can add specific fields if required
Version 1.2 (Release: March 27 2001)
- Classification of an article according to different classification systems
- Transfer of prices for different periods of validity
- Extended possibilities for transferring classification systems
- Fundamentally revised documentation with extensions and more precise explanations
Version 2.0 (Release: open, planned 2004)
- Extension of the product model regarding complex, especially configurable products
- Extension of the product model for describing services
- Extension of the price model (e.g. multi-level discounts, dynamic price components)
- Extension of the product description regarding logistic information (e.g. dimensions, delivery process, transportation, hazardous goods)
- Support of external catalogue access (e.g. OCI, punchOut, Roundtrip)
New Improvements in Version 2.0
- Easier multi-lingual catalogues
- Multi-supplier catalogues
- Integration of the content models of BMEcat and openTRANS into one uniform vocabulary for electronic data exchange
If a supplier wants to take part in the world of BME cat, his catalogue has to be certificated.
Certification of BMEcat can only be obtained through the BMEcat organization by submitting their product catalogue to BMEnet GmbH or its partners such as CaContent GmbH, e-pro Solutions GmbH, Datalog Software AG, etc (more partners information can be refer to www.bmecat.org). This product catalogue will be studied and given official stamp if it’s qualified. Every company who has certified product catalogue will be supported by marketing department from BMEnet GmbH by putting them into the certified company list.
2. Target Groups
BMEcat catalogue standard is founded by the German ministry which targets for companies either it is manufacturer or services companies, and particularly:
1. Companies that have numerous number of suppliers and customers companies in Germany
2. Companies doing a lot of product catalogue exchange in Germany
3. Companies that sells products or procuring materials electronically through the internet, e-market (e- sales & e-procurement)
4. Companies whose materials or products are high specification and various Looking back to the history which is driven by major companies in Germany, BMEcat at the present time is more dedicated and targeted to companies that do business transaction in Germany. But moreover it is expected also to play more roles internationally in the future.
3. BMEcat and XML
The standard needs a basis that is understandable worldwide. BME choose XML as language, because content and design are strictly separated. The following chapter describes the working
3.1 XML as the base of BMEcat
BMEcat product catalogue is written in XML. Using XML as the basis of BMEcat, it is stated for several reasons:
1. XML is a computer data language that can be defined or translated from any human language(meta language)
2. XML is an open and free industrial standard, which is also well-known internationally
3. XML doesn’t depend on any special manufacturer, system or any platform
4. XML is not program language and has no permanent architecture
5. XML schema provides format that immediately, which can transfer real classification systems in all details1
3.2 The working system of BMEcat
From the BME organization the standardized catalogues can be classified into three catalogue-forms, the business transaction point of view. These standardized business catalogues are (1) new product catalogue, (2) update product catalogue and (3) update prices catalogue. As how they were named, when the very first time a product catalogue is created, it has to follow the schema from new product catalogue, and if product information is changed it can be updated through the update product schema or if it is only price information changed, then it can be updated through the update prices schema.
As it is mentioned in the previous paragraph about the standard catalogues released by BME organization, the procedure of business transaction are summarized as followed:
1. A supplier creates a new product catalogue based on XML language. Content of product and price information are refer to the standard from BME.
2. A finished product catalogue is sent to BMEnet or its official partners to get the certification.
3. After certified, this catalogue is ready to be part of business transaction; either listed in purchasing companies or directly to purchasing department of customers.
4. In case of information update:
a. For product information update, the supplier updates the changed information in its previously certified catalogue and submits it to get the new certification.
b.For price updates, the supplier updates the price information following the update price catalogue schema and submits it to get the new certification.
c. The certified catalogue is ready, sending to the recipient, either purchasing company or customer Note. In many cases, supplier companies create a product catalogue and send it to purchasing companies or BMEnet certification companies which also provide services to transform the information into XML which is already verified with BMEcat standard.
1 Performed by Joerg Leukel, Volker Schmitz, Frank-Dieter Dorloff
- Quote paper
- Dirk Oder (Author)Leonard Andri (Author), 2004, BMEcat, Standard of Product Catalogue Exchange, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/39587