The world is becoming increasingly digitised and connected. These days, a large share of international transactions takes place online. To be prepared for future digital demands, the SWISS KRONO group moved all their product data into a highly flexible product information management system, or PIM for short. Globally, the Akeneo-based PIM not only forms the single source of truth for the entire company, we also supported SWISS KRONO in eliminating any and all static files (PDF, Excel, Word, Adobe InDesign, PNG) that were still available for the management of product information. Insular, informal solutions are now a thing of the past.
- SWISS KRONO Group
- Customer since
- September 2022
months from kick-off to go-live
different product properties in the PIM
pages created in Confluence (project documentation)
Digitisation – Yes, but Only With Automation
The leading provider of sustainable wood-based materials was looking for more than a new and fancy-looking data silo. As the first step, SWISS KRONO asked us to make the Akeneo PIM enterprise edition in the PaaS version available as an MVP via an initial data import. The refinement of the imported information and the generation of new data sets were part of the next step. The challenge: Reconciling the high density of information with the required flexibility in the system.
In addition to flexibility, the company was also looking for a high degree of automation. For instance, some product information for the different use cases and channels was still being entered manually. So now what? Thanks to the standardised data model that we drafted, all product information is now available from a central source and in a digital format. Product data feeds efficiently – and, more importantly, automatically – into digital channels. The data is current and consistent at any given time. This automatically leads to an improved time to market, since product data and updates are immediately available – across all channels.
On our digital path, Unic accompanies us trustingly and on an equal footing.Fabian Kölliker, Head of Group Marketing - SWISS KRONO GROUP
PIM Foundation – Standardised Data Model
Redundant data, incomplete data sets, across several sources – this is not unusual in many companies. SWISS KRONO was particularly looking for a high level of convergence for its ten markets with their different languages. So, we were to consolidate product names, descriptions and technical features across several markets.
Thanks to a dedicated data model, we were able to eliminate the scenario described above at the very beginning of the project. Ahead of the import of product data from the ERP system (SAP), the main job was to develop this dedicated data model with a company-wide fit. A highlight: This model is set to adapt to company activities and is therefore flexible enough to withstand future changes and developments.
To connect to the surrounding systems, we began to develop and make available export and import modules for the ERP, DAM, middleware and PIM systems.
Akeneo PIM in Practice
Flexibility and long-term adaptability were important aspects for SWISS KRONO in the selection of their PIM system. Retailers and customers need easy, swift and quick access to up-to-date product information. They experience and compare products and their attributes interactively and visually – across various channels. Add to that sales partners who have an increasing need for product information in specific data formats and standards such as BIM, mtextur and ComNorm. These requirements keep changing in line with needs, and the new PIM system will be adapted to them quickly and continually in the future.
In practice, the above-mentioned ERP system triggers the data flow that contains information specific to products and materials and information on décor. Via the Lobster_data EDI system (middleware), the SWISS KRONO group then forwards the information to the PIM system. In this system, data managers enrich the data to then release them via a defined process to various receiving systems.
Within the PIM system, product models, three-stage product variants, families and groups are used. Currently, more than 31,000 products and hundreds of different product names in various languages harmonise across around 171 product models. Add to that countless product-specific hierarchies with thousands of attributes, orchestrated automatically, which is an immense benefit for external and internal communication.
Connecting the Digital Asset Management System
Translations and the management of the docked digital asset management (DAM) system form part of the refinement of the information. EIKONA provide both the interface as well as the Tessa DAM solution, already forming a key part of the Akeneo ecosystem. Users don’t even need to switch between systems since the DAM is fully integrated into the Akeneo as far as the frontend is concerned. It works seamlessly.
Via the asset management, the experts for wood-based materials process media data such as product images, ambience images, detail shots, presentations and leaflets (brochures). To automatically generate these publications upon request, we use InBetween Publisher (see evaluation below). The tool provides 24/7 on-demand access to advertising materials and pulls the up-to-date information for generation from the PIM and DAM systems.
Evaluation of Future Systems Providers
In parallel with the integration of the PIM system, we evaluated various potential new systems. The goal was to verify the upcoming project goals, refine requirements and professionally assess various systems and service providers. We presented the resulting analyses and recommendations in the first project phase, and these were well received: All decisions on system evaluations are based on Unic’s analyses. This includes processes in digital publishing, translation workflow and external catalogues.
Based on this, we made decisions with SWISS KRONO that took into account all aspects of the professional assessment of processes:
Digital publishing – Print, with the automated generation of data sheets in the PIM system as the first step.
Translation workflow – Initialisation of the translation workflow in the PIM system and reintegration of translations into the PIM system.
External catalogues – Handover of standardised product data to partners and customers.
Our services at SWISS KRONO
Product Information Management
Unic guides you through the launch and ongoing development of your PIM system, ensuring that you can capitalize on the added value within a short time.Learn more:Product Information Management
Software Development and IT-Architecture
Software development has been one of Unic's core competencies for over 20 years. We develop a solution tailored to your needs for your company's digital presence. Please contact us!Learn more:Software Development and IT-Architecture
Strategy & Consulting
Digital transformation unlocks new potentials for many companies, but at the same time often involves major challenges. We will help you take the right steps.Mehr erfahren:Strategy & Consulting
Contact for your Digital Solution with UnicBook an appointment
Are you keen too discuss your digital tasks with us? We would be happy to exchange ideas with you: Jörg Nölke and Gerrit Taaks (from left to right).
Contact for your Digital SolutionBook an appointment
Are you keen to talk about your next project? We will be happy exchange ideas with you: Melanie Klühe, Stefanie Berger, Stephan Handschin and Philippe Surber (clockwise).