The office supplies sector is very mature and has long-established systems and processes for procurement, especially in the business-to-business (B2B) space. Office stationery has traditionally been purchased using Catalogues, and this system of procurement remains very much in place today. Many of these Catalogues have been moved and/or replicated online, and with that we have seen the introduction of B2B electronic trading networks to facilitate the exchange of product information.
The most common protocol for distributing electronic catalogues in the Office Supplies sector is BMEcat, created and published by the BME (Bundesverband Materialwirtschaft, Einkauf und Logistik e. V.) - the German association for materials management, purchasing and logistics. BMEcat is XML-based, freely available and usable as a licence free of charge.
As opposed to the eCl@ss dictionary of product classification, which describes how things can be characterized at an abstract level, BMECat is about actual instances of application classes which are described by explicit values in relation to the terms defined in the dictionary.
In the retail sector where office supplies are available through specialized superstores (like Office Max or Staples) and general merchandising outlets (like Supermarkets), the common supply chain system used is based upon the GS1 System of Standards which uses the Global Product Classification (GPC) system.
The Office Supplies Industry Solution allows you to manage and distribute your product information to the right trading partner in the right format, using BMEcat or the GS1 System of Standards. The complexity SyncManager addresses is the ability to manage multi-classification, users can: