Web-To-Print Automates Creation of Full Featured Product Catalog
Pollmann & Sohn is a 5th generation family-owned business in Germany. It manufactures high-quality metal fittings made out of steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. The core assortment is continuously adapted and extended to meet new market requirements. The company is renowned for a constant stock of inventory and fast delivery of its products. The competent and experienced sales staff use various tools to present the products to the customers. An essential sales tool is the full-featured product catalog.
The main goal of the project was to create a Web-To-Print solution. It had to be flexible - to cover changing requirements. Therefore it was built like a toolbox. It automates the production of the product catalog. At the same time it offers sufficient layout flexibility. The project result was not only a significantly faster time-to-market but also increased quality of the catalog. The business process re-engineering resulted in faster reaction times for changes in product data and increases efficiency thus saving cost.
The company has an inventory of more than 3.000 products. A lot of manual work was required to create the product catalog without automation. The use of desktop publishing software resulted in a slow process that required a good deal of time and a lot of coordination with external service providers. After many back-and-forth feedback loops, the raw catalog data could be sent to the printing shop finally. After the printed catalog was ready, slight changes in product data triggered part of the time-consuming and error-prone process again. The effort necessary for coordination between departments and external service providers resulted in a slow time-to-market. Gathering the data required for the print material was complicated as well. Proofreading the raw catalog print files took days. Changes in product data soon led to inconsistencies in sales and marketing materials. The business process was ineffective and had to be improved.
Pimcore partner Basilicom advised Pollmann & Sohn. The digital agency from Berlin created a Pimcore based Web-To-Print solution with a set of pre-configured templates, integrated rendering engine, and various configurable output formats.
Structured data from the PIM is the foundation to create the catalog now. The result is single-source-publishing. The effort required to produce brochures has decreased significantly. Simultaneously, the quality result is better because all marketing and sales documents always use the latest, complete product data. Inside the PIM, they can also monitor the completeness and quality of all product data records.
In a concept phase, the Pimcore partner created a comprehensive set of templates and reusable bricks. With these bricks, the marketing department can configure the catalog within a drag-and-drop interface inside Pimcore. They can design each page and quickly create flyers, product sheets, quotes, assembly instructions, or price lists. All these documents are also rendered both as a web and a print version. Pimcore automatically creates both web-optimized PDFs and print-ready PDFs.
The project stages
Analysis of existing product data and product data structure
Requirements specification and identification of edge cases
Setup of the document tree with editable areas
Creation of the new catalog design
Development of a predefined set of templates
Implementation of the templates in Pimcore
Integration of product data and a configuration interface
Integration of the output rendering service
Testing and quality assurance
The implementation of the Web-To-Print solution in Pimcore increased the efficiency of the catalog creation a lot. Time-to-market decreased, and the company can now immediately include new products in marketing and sales material. They can keep all the content always up to date. Also, the look, layout, and quality of the print material is now consistent and ensures brand consistency.
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