How sprayer manufacturer Gloria benefits from the new implemented PIM system
BY CARMELA MELONE
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 2 2019)With its comprehensive assortment of spraying and gardening tools, Gloria Haus und Gartengeräte GmbH – founded in 1947 and offering innovative solutions for plant care, weed removal and the treatment of the most diverse surfaces – helps turn gardens into soothing recreational oases. The constant further development of the product range and the expansion of company communication ultimately resulted in an urgent demand for a flexible solution for the management of its product data. We spoke to Alexander Kienborn, Head of Marketing at Gloria, about the implementation project and its challenges.
Mr. Kienborn, as a manufacturer of spraying and gardening tools, Gloria offers products for numerous applications. What precisely does your product range comprise and who are your products targeted at?
Gloria is a spraying tool specialist. That is our DNA. To this end, seven out of ten plant protection and plant care spraying tools sold in Germany are made by Gloria. Our yellow and blue spraying devices have meanwhile also become hugely popular among many hobby gardeners across the globe – something that makes us extremely proud. Furthermore, we offer spraying tools for professional applications, used for cleaning vehicles and operational facilities as well as applying oils on construction sites, among other things. Here, the target group is the ‘professional heavy user’.
You have been active within the market for 70 years now. How has the product range developed over the past decades?
Our product assortment has undergone tremendous further development, particularly over the past ten years. Gloria has increasingly developed from a niche provider of spraying tools into a manufacturer of the most diverse innovative gardening equipment. Initially, these were so-called flame weeders, used for environmentally-friendly, chemical-free weeding, while being complemented over the past few years by electric and battery-operated brushes for cleaning wooden and stone surfaces.
When did Gloria determine the need for product information management and what was the search for a suitable system like?
The trigger for this was the response to the previous question. Our product range further develops on a virtually daily basis and we are currently managing article master data on more than 2,500 different products and spare parts. Various departments within our company are responsible for collating and providing product data, which are in turn used by other departments – including sales and marketing. Here, there was an urgent need for a central ‘collection point’ in order to simplify and accelerate work processes and avoid error sources. The selection process was one that will be familiar to many people. Recommendation marketing, or word-of-mouth recommendations, provided findings relating to the experiences of other companies and managers and what has ultimately established itself within the market.
Why did you finally opt for Akeneo as the provider and The P.I.M. Company as the integrator?
Akeneo has turned out to be a flexible and adaptable system, excellently catering to the special requirements of medium-sized companies. And the cost factor – we are able to work superbly with the free Akeneo Community Edition and do not pay an annual licence fee – also played a role, albeit a subordinate one. The P.I.M. Company was recommended to us directly as an experienced partner by the Akeneo agent and the close proximity (Augsburg – Neu-Ulm) was also a convincing argument.
How is such an implementation project carried out and what is your perception of the collaboration?
As a medium-sized enterprise, we are sustained by our flexibility and response speed in our everyday work. We can frequently deploy these to our advantage, as the decision-making procedures and process chains are generally shorter than in the case of large-scale businesses. This was also one of the requirements of the integrator of our new PIM system. The objective was the timely implementation of the PIM system in parallel with the already conceptually-started relaunch of our website. This was designed to generate all product data from the PIM system in future. Both projects were carried out in tandem and were hugely dependent on each other. Following an initial meeting and the drafting of a requirements catalogue, we were consulted by The P.I.M. Company. We were personally looked after by Mr. Farkas throughout the entire project, who brought huge commitment and attention to detail to this partnership-like, collaborative venture. Since we started as PIM novices, Mr. Farkas quickly familiarised us with the topic, while simultaneously inducting himself into our processes with the same dedication and providing invaluable input as an outsider, which in turn triggered numerous meaningful impulses.
What were the greatest challenges while introducing the PIM system and how were you able to master these?
Adapting an existing system to our special requirements was undoubtedly challenging. The P.I.M. Company has always found a way, meaning that we have never had to make concessions. Here, Akeneo also proved itself to be the right – in other words, flexible – system.
The project was completed within just two to three months. What do you think contributed towards the system being introduced so quickly?
The partnership-like collaboration between the project managers on both sides – which permitted new solution approaches and implemented an ideally-suited system – was undeniably the main reason. Furthermore, Gloria is committed to not merely relying on service providers and to ‘letting them get on with it’. We regard ourselves as a partner here, joining forces to reach a common goal. We want to understand and optimise systems and processes and get the expert on board at the appropriate time. For this reason, we completely immerse ourselves into a matter with our marketing and sales team. And can in turn provide meaningful input that also speeds up processes.
How has the day-to-day business changed since then and in what areas is this development most noticeable?
Currently, the PIM system is having a hugely positive impact, especially in sales and marketing. High-quality product data can be centrally provided and error sources have been minimised. If product data is changed, this is carried out in a single place and all interfaces are updated immediately. Furthermore, it saves us time – for example, print materials are provided with data from Akeneo and are hence automated in parts.
Are there any further digitalisation projects on the horizon?
Digitalisation is one of our most important topics, particularly in the area of communication. To this end, the DIY store sector still remains strongly characterised by the point-of-sale, although customers do shop in a very focussed manner compared to other sectors. However, the company website is the number one information source for our customers. How do I optimally inform and consult customers, how do I digitally address customers or offer them added value by redistributing advertising funds away from print and towards targeted online campaigns? All these questions have resulted in us experiencing digitalisation every day of our working lives.
Alexander Kienborn was born in 1983, he is married and has one son. After studying business administration and marketing studies in Neu-Ulm, he worked in the most diverse sectors (automotive, sport, gardening) in Germany and the USA for the past 12 years. He has been working as Head of Marketing at GLORIA Haus- und Gartengeräte GmbH for now over six years.
The P.I.M. Company specialises in PIM as a strategic business concept that unites processes, software, PIM systems and products, consequently making high-quality product information available. As the open-source PIM pioneers, we are one of the leading integrators within the German-speaking region.
The P.I.M. Company GmbH
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