The Lapp Group with headquarters in Stuttgart is one of the earliest suppliers of integrated solutions in the area of cable and connector technology. For Lapp, the topic of product communication is significant for supporting the company’s high worldwide service and quality standards through fast, precise information and consulting and coordinating offers for individual countries with the special query structures. In the past, it took 8 Lapp employees a full eight months to manually create a 500 page catalogue. To reduce this effort, in 2002 Lapp created its own solution which turned out to be too inflexible to implement new functions and which was too expensive in data upkeep.
Lapp Group: The time has come for a powerful PIM system
In 2006, Lapp Group decided to introduce a standardized PIM system in order to significantly reduce the effort of producing the catalogue and at the same time accelerate time-to-market. The existing decentralized product data assets were to be unified so that they could be more easily and quickly utilized by diverse departments, national and international. Viamedici’s Enterprise Product Information Management Suite Viamedici EPIM was convincing in the subsequent call for bids. The system offers the highest level of reliability and ease in the maintenance, administration and supply of product data, marketing information and media assets as well as comprehensive functions for automated catalogue production, flexible template adjustment, open interfaces and much more.
„Our partner was to be big enough to be able to supply a well-engineered and reliable technology, but at the same time be flexible enough to ensure the alignment of the software with our specific requirements. Viamedici’s competitors appeared to us either too rigid or the solutions they offered were too specialized and not a fit for us.“
Buelent Kulay, Marketing Communications at U.I. Lapp GmbH.
Viamedici EPIM offers excellent connectivity for third-party systems
In the first step of the system introduction, existing data inventories and structures were analyzed. Following this, an adequate, consistent data model was configured in Viamedici EPIM. Subsequently, the data was imported from the legacy system, missing information was supplemented and interfaces were implemented to SAP and other third-party systems such as Typo3. Translations were done by agencies, whereby the responsibility for reviews and deltas remained anchored with the respective subsidiary. As soon as the templates for the automated catalogue production were finalized, the system was operational and the first catalogues were produced. A huge success. One deciding factor was the broad acceptance by employees, product managers and sales. They were involved in the new processes and trained at an early stage within the scope of comprehensive change management.
„We were able to significantly increase our degree of automation, so that we only need two to three months to generate a main catalogue which now has 1,100 pages. Product data sheets are also realized automatically with Viamedici EPIM. Today, it takes us only five minutes to take care of queries from subsidiaries on product sheets as PDF. That was inconceivable in the past.“
Buelent Kulay, Marketing Communications at U.I. Lapp GmbH.
Lapp Kabel has profited in many ways from the introduction of the PIM system in January 2007. The solution grew rapidly to become the central product data source for descriptions, technical references, pictures, videos and CAD-drawings – all in 19 languages. This data forms the basis for all cross-media product communication, be it for print or online versions, product data sheets as PDF, in Internet, on CD-ROM or future apps. However, Lapp centralized not only the data management, but also the printing of main catalogues which now appeared in a unified layout. The result was a cost reduction of 400,000 Euros.
„Viamedici is a flexible, competent partner. The company is customer-oriented and reliable. Since EPIM was introduced, we have one contact person. It was important to me that there was not constant change. In addition, the company maintains a close dialogue with its customers. There are regular meetings to introduce the functionality of upcoming releases. We also have the opportunity to submit our wishes that are often taken into consideration in the further development of EPIM. Naturally, we profit from that.“
Bülent Kulay, Marketing Communications bei der U.I. Lapp GmbH.
Internationalization: Simultaneous translation into 16 languages
In addition, Lapp was able to accelerate the international introduction of new products. Because the corresponding product data were immediately translated into the respective language and only had to be edited by the subsidiary. Viamedici EPIM has an interface to SDL‘s translation software. In this, technical terms etc. are deposited and utilized by the language service provider. That way Lapp can ensure the use of consistent terminology.
In 2014, Lapp was able to print its main catalogue in 16 languages simultaneously. Lapp’s foreign subsidiaries thereby saved 50% of their marketing budgets for catalogue production (print). Such extensive print production entails high paper costs, currently making up 75 percent of total print costs. In the near future, there will be a black film comparison (Schwarzfilmabgleich) which will reduce template costs. Instead of the usual 6,000 print plates, only 100 will be needed. Viamedici EPIM will be aligned so that product data will continue to be optimally available. Lapp makes a careful estimate that catalogue production costs will be reduced by approximately 250,000 Euros. The communications expert is extremely satisfied not only with the performance and flexibility offered by Viamedici EPIM, but also with the producer.
About the Lapp Group:
The Lapp Group with headquarters in Stuttgart is one of the world's leading providers of cables, leads, cable accessories and systems of the highest level of quality. Today Lapp Cables produces cables and conductors for different industries and markets: mechanical and systems engineering, the automotive industry, MSR technology, electrical and installations engineering, EDC and more. The company was founded in 1959 by Oskar Lapp and is still family-owned and operated. In the business year 2013/14 it achieved consolidated revenue of 820 million Euros. Lapp employs around 3,200 people worldwide, has over 18 production sites and more than 40 sales organizations. It cooperates with approximately 100 foreign outlets.