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How to import product data

Space management is based on positioning and arranging articles on the product carrier fixtures of a shelf. To do this, the data of the articles must first be made known to the program. So you need a product data import.

Mostly the article data is already maintained and managed elsewhere, in another database system outside of the XPace space management program. This can be done in a merchandise management or ERP system, in a database or – in the simplest case – in an Excel table. In all cases, the task is to import the article data into the space management program.

Article import: Which data should be provided?

First, the question arises: Which article data should be imported? The answer depends on several factors:

  • Which data are available for my products?
  • What is the minimum data XPace needs to work?
  • What information do I want to see considered and processed in XPace?
  • What information does XPace need to perform specific analyses or positioning?
Minimum information

The easiest way to answer the question is what kind of item data XPace at least needs: these are the fields SKU (the Order ID or Item number), item description, width, height, and depth. The item number is required so that XPace can identify each item by a unique key. The article description is necessary for display purposes, so that the user can recognize his articles even without subtle knowledge of the company’s article number system. Width, height and depth (usually expressed in millimeters) are required to allow the XPace program to determine the space required and a suitable shelf position for the item based on the external product dimensions.

Additional information

Other item data that is often available and should be taken into account in XPace are the fields EAN (UPC, GTIN), merchandise category, purchase price, retail price, manufacturer, brand, color, discounts, minimum and maximum quantities, placement information, and many others. XPace’s list of article attributes describes nearly 200 data fields that can be filled as needed. The more information you provide XPace, the more accurate the statements of XPace.

The information for each article can be used in XPace in different places:

  • to filter and select the articles
  • to enable or restrict the allowed positions of an article
  • to establish relationships between articles
  • to convert the data graphically
  • to output the data in labels and reports.
Information for evaluations and benchmarks

If you want to perform certain analyses or have key figures calculated, additional data is required for each article. In addition to the purchase price and sales price fields already mentioned, these can be: sales figures, turnover figures, profit margins, contribution margins, etc.

How to prepare the data?

Let us assume that the product data is to be prepared in an Excel table. So we create an Excel worksheet with columns for all data fields to be captured. The first row should contain column headers, the other rows contain the data of an article. The important thing is: beauty is not the main thing here! The article table is not intended to be used for presentation or distribution to other users, but rather as an effective data source for XPace. You can still use a second worksheet with reference formulas to make a respectable, presentable table out of it, if desired.

For an effective data transfer keep in mind: no empty lines, no subheadings, no decorative bells and whistles!

Column headers

In principle, you can choose any text that identifies the column for the column headers. The data import script will then map the columns to the appropriate XPace data fields – if you want to work with an import script.

A more elegant way is to do without the import script, but then how does XPace know what is in which column? Very simple: we write it down! This means: we enter the original data field names of XPace as column headers. Then XPace can automatically map the columns in the table with the data fields in the XPace data model.

The table might look like this:

1234Cable clamps A-2802808014012,99
5678Cable clamps A-2602607012015,99
9012Cable conduit221000223,59

Important: in the first row the XPace data field names need to be entered in original notation! The list of available data fields and their exact field names can be found in the XPace documentation. An extensive table template (StandardExcelTemplate.xls) is also installed together with XPace and can be used as a starting point for your own table.

Import data

If you have followed the proposal with the original field names in the first table row, you can use the menu command

Database ➜ Import ➜ Excel Standard Sheet
[label]ATTENTION:[/label] Excel Standard Sheet, not Excel Sheet – the latter would be used if you wanted to import using an import script!

Now select the Excel file to be imported. Even easier is the following way: Drag the Excel file into the product window – done!

In any case, the import wizard for Excel data sources will appear. Enter a name for the new product channel. Select the Deploy option and click Finish.

The data from your Excel file is imported and corresponding article data records are created in XPace. The new import can then be found under its name in the Product window. There you can open the new channel and position the items on your shelf.