August 27, 2015

IDEA Dictionary: What is the IDW Product Life Cycle?

When dealing with data, and all related terminology, you may feel like you’re trying to speak a foreign language. In the interest of keeping things clear and simple, we will introduce commonly used terms that will help you navigate the data shorthand and learn the lingo. This week, we bring you: the IDW product life cycle.  

To accurately manage and communicate product changes in the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW), each of a manufacturer’s items in the IDW should follow a specific product life cycle. This life cycle is defined in the IDW using different Item Status codes, which indicate the availability of a particular item.  

The maintenance and accuracy of a manufacturer’s Item Statuses is essential information for distributors, who use this information to appropriately adjust their orders, quotes, shipments, and eCommerce sites. 

Four common Item Status codes used throughout the IDW product life cycle are: 

Active (A): These products are available for order.

Planned Obsolescence (P): These products are still available for order, but quantities may be limited as product is being phased out of production.

Obsolete (O): These products are no longer available for order from the manufacturer, will no longer be updated and any distributor inventory should be depleted.

Delete (D): These products are marked for removal from the IDW in 30 days.

Keeping distributors’ backend systems in sync with those of their manufacturers is necessary for efficient business operations; therefore, items should not simply be removed or deleted from the IDW without first moving through each phase of the IDW life cycle progression.

Below is an example of one possible product life cycle and the appropriate steps to take regarding Item Status when moving an item along this life cycle in the IDW. 

Phase 1:

July 2015: A new item, ABC0001, is loaded into the IDW with an Item Status of ‘A’ – Active, and is available for download by authorized distributors.  

Phase 2:

July 2017: It is now two years later, and item ABC0001 has begun to decline in sales. The manufacturer plans to phase out this item and replace it with item ABC0002, which is a true form, fit, and function replacement of the first item.

The manufacturer updates the Item Status of item ABC0001 to from ‘A’ to ‘P’ – Planned Obsolescence in the IDW and populates both the Replacement GTIN and the Replacement Catalog fields with the replacement product’s information.

The replacement product, item ABC0002, is loaded into the IDW with an Item Status of ‘A’ – Active, and is available for download by authorized distributors. 

Phase 3

September 1, 2018: Our first item, ABC0001, is now obsolete, with Item Status of ‘O’ – Obsolete, and is no longer available for sale by the manufacturer. Its replacement item, ABC0002, remains in the IDW under active status.

Supply chain partners are notified that item ABC0001 is now obsolete via its updated Item Status code. In addition, the manufacturer updated the product’s Status Date, setting a price expiration date 30 days after, for October 1, 2018. On that date, the original item will no longer be available to view and download as a “current price” item.

Obsolete items may remain in the IDW with an expired price. In such a scenario, the only way for an authorized distributor to download the item would be to request “expired price” items.

Phase 4

December 2018: This might be a good time to remove item ABC0001 from the IDW completely by changing its Item Status to ‘D’ – Delete. This item will then be removed from the IDW 30 days after the Item Status is changed.

There is now also a new item to replace item ABC0002, so the manufacturer will repeat the entire phase-out process

Download our latest Product Life Cycle resource for a quick reference guide. If you have any questions about product life cycle and the IDW, please contact us at