sweepOver the years, your company may have amassed an impressive database. Inevitably, over time your catalog may have become outdated, riddled with errors, and littered with duplicate entries. And don’t forget the storage space required to house this information. This is the data you are using to present proposals to clients, and you are most likely wasting time fixing errors as you go along. Performing data maintenance in the catalog on a regular basis is important. Depending on the size of the catalog and the amount of traffic happening there, every six months may be sufficient. Maintenance ensures the integrity of the data, keeps it organized, and reduces unnecessary bloat of the database. Here are some suggestions.

Keep in mind that existing projects will not be affected when you make changes in the catalog.

Download Products

Let’s start from the beginning. Most of you use the ever popular (and super handy) D-Tools Data Library to acquire data for the catalog. When downloading products in the Data Library, it is recommended that you download only the products that you actually offer to your clients. You do not want to occupy valuable storage space with data you will never use.

Discontinue Products

Products that are no longer in use, but you do not want to delete, can be marked as “Discontinued”. This will keep the items in the catalog, but they will be hidden by default. Hiding these items can help prevent users from adding them to new projects.

To mark an item as discontinued, open it and check the “Discontinued” box on the General tab.

discontinued item

Use the Mass Update feature to update multiple items at a time. Click the Tools tab -> Mass Update and scroll down and select “Discontinued”. On the next screen, check the box.

discontinued 2

Click the “Save” and “Close” buttons to save your changes.

Discontinued products can be viewed by modifying the filter.

filter

Manage Manufacturers

Manufacturers that are no longer offered to clients or no longer exist can be easily removed from the catalog. This should be done with caution! When a manufacturer is deleted, all products for that manufacturer will also be deleted. This is permanent!

Before proceeding with the following steps, it may be a good idea to first export your catalog to a spreadsheet or run a backup of the server.

In the Product Explorer, click the Settings tab -> Manufacturers. You can also do this via Control Panel -> Catalog -> Manufacturers. Select the manufacturer(s) from the list and click the “Delete” button.

manage_manufacturers_form

You will receive a warning that the items for the manufacturer will also be deleted.

delete manufacturers

In this interface, you can also correct spelling or capitalization errors in a manufacturer’s name. Hence, the next tip.

Correct Spelling and Related Issues

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes can reflect negatively on your company. This is a tough one, but it is true. There are many ways to correct these issues, but it depends on where the issues lie. Let’s focus on an area that could affect a big chunk of the catalog, such as a misspelled manufacturer name or category.

In the Product Explorer, go to Settings -> Categories. You can do this via Control Panel -> Catalog -> Categories as well. Select a category to correct, then click the “Edit” button and make the change.

edit categories

All products assigned to that category will be updated instantly. This works well for everything in the Settings tab in the catalog.

Eliminate Duplicates

Your work may have been accidentally duplicated by a colleague. Although exact duplicates cannot exist in the catalog, similar spelling or usage (or lack of usage) of the hyphen can create similar items in the catalog. Use the search bar on the top right of the grid to find those items, then use Mass Update to correct them.

If there are duplicate manufacturers or categories (or pretty much any field available on the Settings tab), you can correct those easily, too. Select the items that are assigned to the duplicate, then use Mass Update to assign correctly. Next, go to the Settings tab and delete the duplicate manufacturer or category.

If you have some helpful tips, head over to the D-Tools Forum and share your ideas.