Implementation Guide

In today’s challenging and uncertain economy, finding efficiencies and cost savings in your business processes is imperative, and the shortest path to savings is the adoption of standard transaction formats. Whether you are a manufacturer, a distributor, or a retailer, you can streamline and automate the production of orders, product catalogs, shipping documents, and forecasts using industry standards.

Five Reasons to Adopt Industry Technology Standards

  1. Your business will benefit from increased efficiency. Trading partners who share information through standardized data exchange enjoy reduced operational costs as a result of less human interaction in business transactions.

  2. Your business will profit from higher accuracy. Using standardized transaction formats allows business trading partners to easily share information, thereby preventing costly mistakes.

  3. You will be able to provide better customer service. Access to timely information in known, predictable formats allows for faster response time and better service to your customers.

  4. You will be able to make better decisions. Timely, accurate, and complete information gives you the "big picture" you need to make informed business decisions.

  5. Your business communications will be simpler. A standardized, agreed-upon data transfer format simplifies transactions between business partners and removes obstacles imposed by the businesses' individual systems.

Product vendors, suppliers, and purchasers use different computer hardware and software systems to process their business transactions. These systems all have their own proprietary internal data formats, and yet they all need to process the same kinds of data. Thus, the need for a "common language" for sharing data among business trading partners becomes critical. More efficient and reliable data transfer means fewer errors in your business transactions, and that means a better bottom line!

The common format that makes this possible is called XML (eXtensible Markup Language). XML is a method of semantically classifying, annotating, and storing data so that it can be shared among dissimilar systems, yet interpreted and processed identically by them. XML data conforms to formatting rules that are agreed to by all parties to a transaction, and thus can be freely exchanged among disparate hardware and software systems without fear of misinterpretation, data loss, or exposure of proprietary information.

XML is the de facto data storage and communication format in business today, and it is the format used by NAMM's Business to Business (B2B) document set. Using XML-based data, business trading partners can exchange information consistently and precisely, improving efficiency and accuracy while reducing operational costs and enhancing all levels of customer service. XML's common data format facilitates the ability to share information among business partners throughout the supply chain.

For example, XML data:

  • can be used across all computer platforms

  • integrates with a wide range of software applications

  • is robust enough to convey complex information, yet simple enough to read

  • is a mature technology used by companies large and small all over the world

  • does not require specialized resources to implement

For the past several years, experts from across all channels of the Music Products Industry have partnered together to design a tool to enhance your business practices. That tool is the NAMM B2B XML standard, the most widely used standard in the Global Music Products Industry. This document details the information necessary for trading partners like you to begin to implement and automate transactions using this standard. NAMM encourages you and your business partners to adopt and use these standardized data transfer formats.