As the company grew, the existing product information system reached its limits. The solution was no longer state of the art, which meant that there were no further development options.
Integration with upstream or accompanying processes, for example sub-processes such as article creation or change management, were mapped using separate applications. The final trigger for Häfele finally going in search of a new PIM solution in 2017 was the announced end-of-life of the legacy system.
Häfele was therefore looking for a modern PIM system that would meet its requirements as an international and future-oriented company. This was linked to the goal of effectively aligning Häfele’s product information management and the associated processes with an increasingly digital and fast-paced environment and further expanding the global use of the central PIM solution. In concrete terms, it was important to Häfele that
- the PIM system bundles all product information in one central location
- product data could be maintained conveniently and quickly
- the entire product information lifecycle could be digitally mapped end-to-end
- anyone who needed to and who had the appropriate authorization could access the data – anytime, anywhere
- adjacent processes could be linked directly to the PIM
- a smooth integration with SAP was possible
- the various Häfele stores could be connected without exception
- publications – both online and print – could be realized efficiently
After a conception and evaluation phase of eight PIM providers, in which three favorites were initially shortlisted, Häfele ultimately chose Contentserv at the end of 2017.
Following the decision, in dialog with Contentserv, Häfele quickly selected its partner Laudert, a specialist in product and brand communication. The latter then implemented and rolled out the software in the first quarter of 2018. On the company side, the following were involved:
- IT Projects as technical project manager
- Sales Publications as business lead for the project as well as for print, data model, migration and workflows
- IT Infrastructure for the provision of the virtual environment
- IT Digital Commerce Solutions for the shop- side connection of Contentserv
- Product Category Management and Data Management, responsible for the areas of article creation and connection of master data from SAP
Due to the dependencies on the existing solution during operation, this was done in a multi-stage process. The implementation took place in three main phases:
Business Release 1: Setting up the system, load and performance testing, setting up the data model, setting up interfaces to SAP, legacy PIM and store, first data migration from legacy PIM to Contentserv, activation of OpenSearch
Business Release 2: Implementation of article creation process, setup of MAM workflows, setup of basic templates for print output, expansion of store interface, translation management with TMS
Business Release 3: Full migration, implementation of enrichment workflow, completion of print templates, completion of store interface, implementation of further export interfaces to SAP
After the basic training for the core team conducted by Laudert – especially on how to use Contentserv and how to carry out print productions – further training was provided at Häfele Germany (HDE) and the Häfele subsidiaries. These were carried out in the first and second quarters of 2021 by Häfele itself via e-learning offerings and webinars. This was followed by the step-by-step onboarding of subsidiary-specific ranges in Contentserv and the conversion of the 32 Häfele online stores. This was successfully conducted over a period of 6 months, from October 2021 to April 2022.
Today, Häfele’s Contentserv system hosts approximately 200,000 documented articles and around 500,000 media assets in 23 languages. In combination with the use of numerous modules such as ImportStage, priint:comet, DataFlow, BS [i]-flow connector or the SAWS Intershop connector, various use cases and target formats are successfully served.
Results that matter
Of course, a change of system is always associated with considerable upheaval, which the people concerned initially reject in most cases. But the support for the “One PIM” project from the management level was evident from the very beginning – a key success factor for such a project. Today, around 300 active users in Product and Data Management, Brand Communications and Sales Publications, as well as Häfele’s foreign subsidiaries, benefit from a user-friendly interface, smooth workflows, and intuitive features. Häfele now easily creates articles in Contentserv, documents them fully, can easily translate product data into the respective target languages and publish the information in stores or print products.
The key advantage of the new solution: All relevant product data is stored in Contentserv and can be accessed all the times for a wide variety of purposes, such as creating product brochures, displaying articles in the individual Häfele stores, and preparing product-related marketing campaigns.
For example, Smart Documents, a very flexible tool for generating data sheets, help users quickly get an overview of available product information. Dashboards are likewise a great way to provide role-specific entry points for employees and provide quick access to specific jobs, products, and assets. String functions are also a very useful way for Häfele to handle data management flexibly and avoid redundancies.
After the upgrade from Contentserv version CS17 to CS21, the initial goal of the teams involved is to establish Contentserv in operation and to further develop the platform in cooperation with internal stakeholders and external partners. Further planned steps are geared toward the digitalization challenge facing Häfele and its customers. This will result in a proof of concept in the area of supplier onboarding: The B2B company wants to be able to use the data of its suppliers even better and more efficiently in its own processes and reduce the effort required for product documentation. Contentserv is thus increasingly becoming the “single source of truth” for Häfele’s product range worldwide.