The change of strategy at kikaLeiner made it apparent that a fundamental paradigm shift was necessary for the handling of product information. Master data had previously been maintained in various systems – without being centrally collected or provided with sufficient transparency or clear definitions of quality
This may be sufficient for a purely bricks-and-mortar business, but not in the context of a digital transformation and increasing e-commerce business. With 1,500 to 2,000 new items being added on a monthly basis, the effort involved would not have been manageable over the long term. Among other things, this could be felt in the time-to-market, which was clearly too long: Between creating a new product and it actually appearing in the webshop, there was a processing time of 3 days — in the best-case scenario.
A new basis had to be created in order to centrally administer all product information, qualitatively enrich it, and maintain a “single source of truth”. As a further step, the existing media asset management system, in which detailed classifications and meta-tagging were not possible, could then be replaced.
In the end, Contentserv was selected as a future-proof solution — due, in particular, to the integrated PIM/ DAM approach (Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management), the rapid applicability and the accessible usability, as well as the predictable costs thanks to the cloud-based variants.
First and foremost, the cloud-based PIM/DAM solution from Contentserv should noticeably slim down internal processing and allow for the centralized administration of data. This would allow the company to benefit in the future from cost savings and a faster time-to-market. The focus was initially on the following requirements
- Establish PIM/DAM as a central system to create a “single source of truth”
- Simplify and accelerate workflows — especially in the creation and maintenance of items
- Directly connect the existing online shop in order to automate product data and update them on a daily basis
- Enable efficient meta-tagging of assets using the Google Vision connector
- Significantly improve the consistency and quality of the product data and assets – also as a solid foundation for future innovations
Prior to the introduction of the PIM/DAM solution, it was nearly impossible to meaningfully evaluate the existing data and processes to initiate optimization steps on that basis. Due to the network of various system landscapes, neither sufficient transparency nor meaningful key figures were available. Once the team was able to gain an initial overview, it became clear that a PIM system was needed. Soon after, the decision was taken and, together with the implementation partner hmmh, the cloud-based solution from Contentserv was implemented — which had emerged as a favorite on the previously created shortlist thanks to its clear advantages.
Implementation using the taxi model with hmmh was quickly realized: Three months after the start of the project, the new system was already up and running so that the webshop could go live online. Within the first year, the 20-person team was able to add and qualitatively enrich around 35,000 items to the new system – with efficient workflows and a direct connection between the shop system and the PIM. While the range is being expanded further, the company is taking its first steps towards adding meta-tags to images and other assets with the Google Vision connector in order to save resources. The first test runs have gone very well.
Two factors made it possible to implement the solution quickly despite some hurdles: Firstly, the support and workshops from hmmh were perfectly tailored to the needs and aims of the team, which made getting started in the field easy. Secondly, two of the main decision-makers were already experienced with PIM systems from other companies. As relatively new employees, they were able to view the implementation from an outsider’s perspective. The intuitive usability of the Contentserv solution was also helpful, allowing everyone involved to quickly develop new modes of working.
The degree to which Contentserv’s efforts support the future development of the company can be seen in the time-to-market alone, which has already been reduced many times over: Instead of the original 72 hours, it only takes 30 to 60 minutes for a newly created item to run through the automated quality controls and appear in the webshop. Thanks to optimized workflows, the online offering can continue to be expanded according to an ambitious schedule. Implementation could not otherwise be achieved at such speed, without significantly more employees.
Furthermore, the digital restructuring, which has now been continued in-depth, offers numerous further simplifications – not only in eCommerce but also in the supporting system for the teams at the branch locations. The project leaders are convinced that within the next few years, many of the systems still in use will fall away completely because the Contentserv platform will help to fulfill their functions. To start with, the focus is on the DAM functionality of the Google Vision integration. Then, the PIM/DAM system can speed up important areas of marketing, such as the creation of brochures.
It is also exciting to take a look at the previously established benchmarks compared to the competition: While the fulfillment level was 15–20% prior to the introduction of Contentserv, it could be raised to 90% within a single year.