Single source database for global fertilizer producer
Van Iperen is recognized worldwide as Specialty Fertilizer producers. They collaborate with local partners and closely work with their clients. Van Iperen employees represent over 15 nationalities, speak 20 languages and serve clients in over 90 countries.
Van Iperen’s products are kept and documented through several documents; for example, product leaflets and technical data sheets. These documents were manually layout in Indesign, mixing previous versions with newer data gathered from various sources (Excel, Word or outlook files). Each document contains a lot of data in tables. The original process was time-consuming and slowing the process of the product renewal; translation and expansion to other brands.
At the same time, 2 other subsystems were requesting reliable data coming from a computer database: The new website and a calculation module.
„Setting up a Pimcore database combined with automated database publishing was the shortest path to data accuracy. We add product updates to hundreds of documents in most world languages in a snap.“
Marc van Oers, Marketing Manager, Van Iperen International
Pimcore was installed by Tetrasoft who is also known for its database publishing software called “Leaflet.” Leaflet can connect live to the Pimcore database and publish documents of any size and complexity on demand. Pimcore has an ideal database structure for tapping the full potential of its data. It’s powerful, extendable and, quite surprisingly, reasonably to use.
Leaflet can export its product to the latest version of Indesign when needed, but the layout could be fully automated thanks to the dynamic template capability of Leaflet. The direct export to PDF is preferred most of the time.
Bulk products are sold under several brands or private labels. Therefore the extensive use of data inheritance and cell override is made. Placeholders are used in texts to make them as generic as possible, and calculated fields are defined for brands so that each product in the database corresponds to several real-world products. The combination of brands/languages/document type makes each article (about 200 after a few months) in the database to have more than 100 simultaneous document versions. Additional productivity quick wins like a simple but efficient flatplan in Excel and an output file naming macro allow one single super-user to control the whole chain of documents without a fuss.
Pimcore “classification stores” have been used extensively with literally hundreds of attributes defined, grouped and sequenced to determine the chemical composition of each product in detail.
All the data entries are interfaced to the website and the calculation module on demand in real time through the built-in web services functionality of Pimcore. Next to the standard ones, special purpose web services have been added to ease communication with those subsystems.
User and role definition have been tuned to give restricted access to translators who simply log-in to Pimcore to add the translation side by side screens.
Tabular data are edited in a grid format and support all standard Pimcore fields plus 2 extra fields allowing to select 1 or multiple values out of a drop-down box populated with external objects.
The versioning system is a welcome safeguard to monitor data quality over time and make people accountable for it.
The integrated Pimcore DAM gathers all CMYK high-resolution pictures for the PDF documents and converts them to RGB low-resolution pictures for the website.
The Pimcore PIM succeeded easily to provide a bespoke database for the specific case of bulk products with a high level of technical content while delivering user-friendly screens and allowing for the make-up of attractive, but technically complete documents for customers and prospects.
The missing parts of the puzzle were added as plug-ins by the implementation partner Tetrasoft.
The project stages
Feasibility analysis and scope of the whole project
Definition and timing of 3 separate subprojects
Draw of the Leaflet templates connected to Pimcore and acceptance in the first language and main brand
Webservices between Pimcore and new Webshop and calculation module
First edition of the general catalog with Pimcore as the master database
New webshop launch
Extension to other languages/markets/brands with additional brand-specific layouts and market-specific document sizes.
Installing the Pimcore PIM database serving 3 subsystems (PDF product documents, website, and calculation module) was crucial for project success and organization productivity. This project was completed with very few people, and it is not anticipated to require additional personnel to keep the new systems running.
The single-source database that feeds all subsystems and the automation of the production of documents give the marketing department the adequate tools to concentrate on seizing opportunities and conquer new markets at a sustained pace.
The budget of the whole project was attractive and helped Van Iperen go for it at a moment the outcome was full of uncertainty. You can rely on quality open-source software like Pimcore.
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