Alterra PIM at WASI
- Product Information Management
- Media Asset Management
- Database Publishing
With a broad and deep range of stainless steel fasteners from A1 to A5 in all strength classes and various special materials, WASI is among the global market leaders in the procurement of stainless steel fasteners. WASI Solar expands the range of stainless steel products by an additional range of aluminum profiles. The company's evolution from a wholesaler for stainless steel connection elements to a global system partner for industry and trade is clearly visible by the changes of the IT landscape and the logistics infrastructure over the last few years. In addition to the varied product range, WASI offers its customers services to optimize and simplify their procurement management for stainless steel connections.
With many years of experience in the development of websites and Web strategies for well-known enterprises from medium-sized businesses to industrial corporations, Zellwerk GmbH is a recognized software development and consulting company.
Zellwerk supports WASI from the software selection through the design process to the project implementation.
WASI was planning a change of product data management and catalog creation. The aim was to consolidate and improve the quality of the product data base to simplify data maintenance as well as the automation of catalog creation, in particular the standard parts catalog with currently about 500 pages.
To achieve this, the existing MS Dynamics ERP (formerly: Navision) system was to be extended by a product information management system and a database publishing tool for automatic catalog creation. The hitherto manual processes of data management and catalog production were to be automated to a considerable extent.
In WASI's case, one of the decisive criteria for the selection of the optimum PIM solution was the storage of standard parts and the output of standard fastening elements in cross tabs (or contingency tables).
The system integrator Zellwerk GmbH – who was responsible for the selection of the appropriate system – found out that Sepia Alterra PIM in combination with the appropriate plug-ins for Adobe InDesign provided the right tool set to meet these challenges.
Zellwerk developed a plan for PIM system configuration and the correct setting of the interfaces to the ERP system. They also created guidelines for the calculation of the pivot tables for a customer-friendly representation of the standard data.
In implementing the project, the system integrator wanted to make use of the existing standard functions of Sepia PIM Alterra to the largest possible extent:
- System configuration should be carried out using the proven central object configuration feature of Alterra PIM.
- The connection of MS Dynamics ERP should be done via the existing field assignment wizards.
- The creation of cross tabs should be integrated through the flexible application interface (API).
For data output in the direction of Adobe InDesign, the standardized XML interface of Alterra PIM and an InDesign plug-in were provided.
Implementation of the PIM System
With Sepia's support team in the background, 95% of the planned features could be set up using the standard modules of Sepia Alterra PIM.
Only the transfer of data from the ERP system to PIM required manual intervention, since the project made it necessary to carry out a clean-up of the master data (data cleansing). Some of the master data were outdated or incomplete and had to be completed semi-automatically.
Necessary additional programming as part of the project included:
Adaptation of the import interfaces from MSDynamics NAV to Sepia Alterra.
The integration of an extension (plug-in) for the automatic calculation of cross tabs for product representation based on different criteria such as representation of standard parts by material quality or type of alloy.
Catalog page with standard part and material grades in a cross tab
As a result of this project, WASI experienced significant rationalization effects and quality improvements in two areas:
- Master data management for products became far more transparent and easier to handle.
- Data control is made directly via HTML previews.
- The output of product data broken down by different criteria (pivot tables, individual views, etc.) in online media is possible.
Control view of a standard part broken down by sales units
WASI is now able to issue current marketing and sales documents in highest quality within short production times.
Web catalog with ordering function for standard parts
As data quality significantly improved with the introduction of Alterra PIM, it was possible to develop a Web catalog with an ordering function for standard parts based on cross tabs in a second project phase. The part with the required dimensions can be selected and placed in the shopping cart by simply clicking on the corresponding cell in the product table. The new "wish list" and ordering functions are heavily used by customers.
Fig.: The WASI Web catalog for standards parts with ordering function from cross tabs.
With the introduction of Sepia Alterra, product marketing has been greatly optimized, processes were Web catalog with ordering function for standard parts streamlined, and data quality and the quality of advertising materials were significantly improved.
Additionally, the basis for the rapid implementation of further projects such as the output of product data to websites, webshops, or the output of XML-based product catalogs has been laid.
Sepia GmbH & Co. KG
D-40219 Düsseldorf - Germany
Phone: +49 211 51 419 75
Phone alternative: +49 211 74 958 712 0
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"International product communication is of strategic importance for our business. We are now well equipped to cope with the growing challenges in this sector."
John Accorinti, Head of Project PIM Toshiba Europe