Although the company is positioned as a market leader, there were no fixed standards for handling product data before the implementation of Contentserv in July 2020. The five marketing departments within VERFORA worked either with a structure they had developed themselves or without a clear system. As a result, a lot of information and assets were stored locally - in places often only accessible by the people in charge themselves.
Important data was lost when employees left the company, for example. This caused considerable damage to the company as well as avoidable additional expenses because advertising materials, presentations, etc. had to be redesigned several times over the years.This was a key challenge to overcome with the help of a comprehensive analysis of the status quo and the subsequent introduction of a common standard - both in terms of processes and general data quality. A stable basis was also created as a tool for more in-depth digitalization and automation.
Particularly in view of the company’s extremely complex system landscape, this step represented a major challenge. The expectations on the PIM solution were high to make this transformation possible. In the end, Contentserv was able to win the company’s trust thanks to its great functional diversity and system flexibility. The PIM solution could be tailored precisely to fit the very specific needs of the company and no compromises had to be made.
Contentserv’s PIM solution was primarily intended to provide VERFORA with a future basis for storing all relevant data in a central location (“single source of truth” concept) and optimizing the processes for handling product information.
They focused on the following requirements:
- Central storage and maintenance of all product information in the PIM
- Establishment of standardized processes that ensure efficiency and high data quality
- Intuitive search that allows users to find the data they need in just three clicks
- Close dovetailing with the ERP system from SAP, which was introduced at the same time and acts as the “leading system”
- Direct connection to various web stores (initially within the Galenica Group, then later also stores of partner companies)
A key idea behind the transformation was also to extend VERFORA’s market leadership - not only in the market itself but also in terms of how and at which technical level the company operates.
In close cooperation with Stämpfli AG, the implementation partner, the introduction of the Contentserv solution was prepared extensively by VERFORA. The status quo was analyzed in detail and an overview of the existing system landscape was created
In this context, Christoph Hüsemann also joined VERFORA as Head of Marketing Services, where he plays a key role in coordinating the project. For him, it was a decisive advantage that his team was able to act as freely as possible with the support of top management. This way, the changeover could be carried out in a focused and efficient manner.
The actual implementation took more than a year - but the efforts and patience paid off in every respect: Stämpfli AG was able to introduce the VERFORA team to the new system in detail through topic-focused workshops and to efficiently adapt the software to the working methods and goals of the company through intensive exchange. This was made all the better by the parallel introduction of a new ERP system, which was also set up according to very specific criteria - so that PIM and ERP now complete each other perfectly. Furthermore, it was important to onboard all the employees concerned as part of this comprehensive cultural change. The added value of the new system was not always immediately visible, but the workshops, in combination with good internal communication, finally conveyed the essential advantages effectively - and at the same time showed the huge potential that PIM holds for the future of VERFORA.
Results that matter
Almost two years after the kick-off, the scope following the PIM introduction is clearly noticeable. Around 1,200 products have now been entered and enriched - with clearly structured release processes and the establishment of the PIM solution as a “single source of truth” ensuring high quality.
Thanks to this new way of working, product information can now be accessed in fragmented form, so that individual text modules, for example, can be used quickly and easily in a wide variety of contexts. In addition, the desired three-click concept has become a reality: via three simple entries, employees can find any desired information for any of the products. This means that the data losses of the past have been overcome once and for all.
Efficiency and cost savings are also noticeable while creating advertising materials. For example, the creation of the annual product brochure used to take about two months - with exhausting processes across all departments and in cooperation with external agencies. After investing in the new software and developing a corresponding template, external support is no longer necessary. And the time component is also amazing: because the PIM solution now creates the product brochure fully automatically - within one minute.
In the meantime, Christoph Hüsemann and his team are already in the process of further expanding the convincing successes. After all, the system transition was only the first step of a deeper digitization and automation strategy. The potential has been raised - now it is being fully developed.