The race to clean up data to create a common language for global trading moved up a gear this week with the launch of a new product cataloguing and registration service from ACNielsen.
Although Nielsen claims its new passport' scheme is not in direct competition with Udex, industry sources said it represents a big threat. Udex which is being used by Tesco, Sainsbury and Safeway, cleans up manufacturers' data to present it to retailers in a form they understand.
"No manufacturer will want to pay to have its data cleaned up twice," said one source. "They will pick the normalisation agent with a future, and that means a global solution."
If ACNielsen is chosen by standards bodies EAN and UCCnet to manage a new global product classification scheme Â the lynchpin of efforts towards data synchronicity Â manufacturers and retailers could migrate towards Nielsen's passport scheme as well, he added."Udex is largely a UK business and Nielsen is global."
Udex marketing director Harold Forbes said the data set that Udex captured and normalised provided users with greater functionality than competing solutions on the market. Dubbed the global passport, Nielsen's new service helps companies maintain their own product catalogues by cleaning up data so that an item has the same code in every operating division and country.
With password-protected access to their own information on a website hosted by Nielsen, trading partners can also share information on brands and categories for projects such as category management and global sourcing because the same coding systems will be used for all passport holders.
Separately, when manufacturers want to register new products, a new product passport is sent to its own systems and those of participating retailers.