Alterra PIM at Messer
Messer IS introduce Product Information Management at Messer Group
Messer Group – and, in particular, their subsidiary Castolin Eutectic – are a global market leader for welding, soldering and flame spraying processes used in maintenance, repair and wear protection. Messer have more than 100 years of experience in welding. In 2013, Messer Group reported sales of approximately 1 billion euros. From its data centre in Groß-Umstadt near Frankfurt, their IT subsidiary Messer Information Systems provides centralized services and support for the roughly 3,500 users of Messer Group worldwide.
Messer Group is a manufacturer of products and solutions in the field of welding technology.
Initial situation and requirements for PIM
A system should be introduced within the Group that provides employees with all sales and marketing-related product data via one central system. In particular, technical specifications, product descriptions, and other product-related documents and images should be made available directly in connection with each product data record.
Data storage had to be transformed from decentralized storage on local servers and workstations to a centralized and – above all – web-based system. From a technical perspective, one of the key requirements was that the system should be running in an "Own Cloud" within Messer Information System's data centre and can be extended and adapted by their internal development department.
For data search, a central contact point should be created. Through the central product data management, the completeness and consistency of the product data should be ensured and the flow of information between the employees at European level should be improved. It was equally important to optimize the product communication towards the customer. Alterra PIM should act as a data hub for tens of thousands of products. The user or target groups of the new PIM system should be the management, product managers, sales managers, sales staff, and the staff of the development department.
Decision for flexible adaptability of the PIM system
What made Messer Information Systems take the decision in favour of Alterra PIM was the fact that the PIM system can be adapted by their own team of developers to exactly match the complex requirements and structures of Messer Group. The PIM system should be able to retrieve data from various data sources, including the enterprise-wide Infor ERP system. And finally, Sepia's references with other industrial customers were also speaking in favour of Alterra. In a demanding selection process, Sepia were able to demonstrate that Alterra PIM has the capacity to meet the special requirements of an effective product data management at Group level.
Extensive attribute options for technical products
To present technical products in a way that meets the requirements of customers and makes searching and finding as easy as possible, a product must be comprehensively classified and furnished with attributes. In this project, 4 types of attributes have been configured:
Static attributes = properties that apply to each product.
Example: article number, packaging unit, price
Dynamic attributes = properties that can be individually used per product.
Example: "Particularly suitable for use in..."
Classification attributes = attributes that are defined per product class and assigned in groups.
Housing colours: red, green, yellow
Housing material: plastic
Dependent attributes = properties that are dependent on each other.
Pressure in bar at temperature in °C.
Force in Nm at speed in rpm.
Intranet product search: high-quality product data at your fingertips
By describing merchandise groups, product groups, and individual items in a comprehensive and differentiated way, searching for and finding the product suitable for the customer is fast and easy to implement. Messer Group used the Alterra Intranet Search Module to create an information platform across the entire product portfolio. This module includes a multilingual data cache with indexing and a search feature that automatically and dynamically adapts its interface.
Documents can be directly attached to a product. When searching for a product, the ability to filter the results by attributes and even dependencies between attributes it is a critical advantage. With the new Intranet Search we were able to eliminate non-transparencies of the product pool. The transfer of know-how within the company and to the customer gained a new quality.
Conclusion: perfect data quality and simplified access to productdata
Through the use of Alterra PIM, Messer IS could raise the quality of the product data to a level that – at that time – was only achievable with huge efforts. Product data is now consistent, centrally available, and redundancies were virtually eliminated. The new PIM system significantly simplifies access to product data.
B. Oektem, Project Manager PIM for Messer Information Systems:
"We were able to greatly improve our internal flow of information through the introduction of Alterra PIM. Employee and customer satisfaction significantly increased through the new tools. Searching and finding related product information is no longer a problem for our employees."
Because of media-neutral data storage, data transfer to any marketing and distribution channels is not an issue any more. Advanced additional user requirements can be quickly and easily implemented by the development team using the Alterra development framework.