Showcase: Halfen Group
With over 1,100 employees in 14 countries and more than 20,000 products, HALFEN – founded in 1929 – is one of the most successful international companies in the field of anchoring solutions and structural connections. With annual sales of approximately € 170 million, Halfen Group with its "HALFEN", "DEHA" and "FRIMEDA" brands offers highest quality anchoring products for precast concrete elements, commercial and residential construction as well as civil engineering and transport and infrastructure projects.
Halfen Group was planning to optimize its product data management and the pertaining catalog creation. The primary objective was to automate the catalog creation process, in particular the general product price list comprising about 300 pages and five different languages.
As a prerequisite for catalog automation, consolidating and improving the quality of the product data base and a simplification of data management had to be achieved. To achieve this, the existing Lawson M3 Movex ERP 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 large extent. The decisive criteria for the selection of an ideal PIM solution included – in Halfen's case – the flexible adjustment of the product hierarchy and the inheritance of the product properties of product categories to product variants.
Since the product data of Halfen Group partly consist of technical data such as dimensions, the system should be able to pass on product properties between the languages required to avoid redundant data maintenance in the individual output languages.
The agency responsible for the selection of the appropriate system realized that Sepia Alterra PIM in combination with the appropriate plug-in for Adobe Indesign was one of the few systems on the market that met all of the above criteria – even in its standard version.
HTML-Control view – product category with product variants
The project team drew up a plan for configuring the PIM system and the correct setting of the interfaces for the transfer of price conditions between the ERP system and Sepia Alterra. In addition, specifications were made for a customer-friendly presentation of the product information.
In implementing the project, the project group wanted to use the 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 import of prices from ERP to Alterra PIM should be provided via the system's existing field allocation assistant.
- The generation of variant tables should be mapped via the existing standard XML exports.
- The maintenance of product data in up to 16 languages should be simplified by inheritance of language-independent values between the different language levels.
With Sepia's support team in the background, the project group was able to set up most of the planned features using the standard modules of Sepia Alterra PIM. Only with the first import of data from ERP to Sepia Alterra, data cleansing was required before importing.
Necessary additional programming as part of the project included:
- adaptation of the price import interfaces from ERP to Sepia Alterra;
- set-up of program functions used to retrieve criteria for the correct output of material qualities;
- conditional formatting of item descriptions.
As a result of this project, Halfen Group experienced significant rationalization effects and quality improvements in two areas: Master data management for products became far more transparent and easier to handle. The hitherto decentralized data management was replaced by a centralized master data and translation management.
The Halfen price list for anchoring elements
Halfen Group is now able to issue current marketing and sales documents in highest quality in up to 16 languages within a short production time.
With the introduction of Sepia Alterra, product marketing has been greatly optimized, processes were streamlined, and data quality and the quality of advertising materials were clearly improved. In addition, the foundation for the rapid implementation of further projects such as the optimization of the supply chain through the use of electronic product data exchange formats has been laid.
Project description in PDF
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