In conversation with Martin Reinke, Manager of E/D/E, on the eDC
BY TEMEL KAHYAOGLU
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 3 2015)
The ‘Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler’ (the purchasing office of German ironmongers) – E/D/E for short- is Europe’s largest purchasing and marketing network with 1,317 medium-sized trading companies from the divisions of tools, machines, construction fittings and components, sanitation and heating. The Wuppertal family business, founded in 1931, is active in 25 countries and securely rooted in its home market of Germany. The company motto, ‘successful hand in hand’ plays an important role in cooperation with the member companies. We spoke to Martin Reinke from the E/D/E about the new eDC which should supply all cooperation partners with access to perfect product data.
Mr Reinke, what does the abbreviation eDC stand for?
Martin Reinke: eDC means electronic data centre. It supplies our market with what it needs the most – ideal product data for sales.
What concrete use does this have?
M. R.: In addition to the classic catalogue data, end users such as industrial clients, manual workers, communes, planners and architects expect advisory and beneficial product information for their purchasing decision – more product data from the manufacturer of a uniform quality, structure and the same standard for diverse distribution channels is not available in retail today.
Therefore the eDC will provide retailers with the complete manufacturer product data in a new, comprehensive classification standard, at the highest quality and prepared by goods experts. The central data pool will relieve our PVH members as well as our industrial partners. Furthermore, we will ensure that the complete product data is integrated into the retailer system and that the most diverse of electronic distribution systems can be optimally used.
How have you dealt with supplier data until now?
M. R.: The catalogue-based data management of E/D/E has been transformed into a manufacturer-based one with the eDC. Experience shows that the distributors have to employ multiple people for the area of data management. A lot of work is created, due to the fact that the manufacturers do not possess data of an adequate quality in order to make online distribution possible. And even those who do have the personnel can only carry out limited data maintenance.
Against this background, our group rose to the challenge of central procurement, classification, processing and maintenance of article data – beginning with the fittings, work safety and technical trade branches. Decentralised data maintenance makes no economic sense as many distributors assume the same task. Therefore task assignment is correctly positioned in a central network group.
What did you have to consider in advance of the project implementation? How extensive were the preparations?
M. R.: Extensive preparation work was necessary. Firstly there was the call for tenders and choice of a new PIM system, the analysis of market demand for data in the individual branches and the prioritisation of the suppliers that are planned for the implementation and data maintenance. Then of course the set-up within the organisation and the establishment of organisational structures and even the recruitment of new employees. A screening of existing classification systems, which involved the decision for the own internal classification system, also had to be carried out.
What was the decision process on the search for the right integration partner like?
M. R.: The complexity of the project made an integration partner, who could fall back on extensive experience within conception and integration of the Informatica PIM system in complex system landscapes and had approved these in multiple practice-based projects, necessary. Beyond this, it was also our desire that our future partner could see the big picture and could reflect their best practice experiences.
What spoke for parsionate?
M. R.: parsionate has proven extensive know-how of integration and a sound knowledge of the implemented product. The proximity and the good direct connection to the manufacturer Informatica was another selection criterion for us. parsionate was able to win us over conceptionally.
What specific challenges were there upon implementation?
M. R.: eDC is a topic which affects large parts of the organisation. As a result there are many parties involved, many interests that have to be brought together. In addition, a complex, grown system landscape and many new processes which needed to be implemented as well as large amounts of data and many suppliers. At the same time, many members are involved, which presents a challenge for the infrastructure, the technical system and the consideration of many different interests such as the individualisation of article texts.
Additional challenging content was how our own classification would be organised, and advising our members. We do not deliver the data merely to the ‘curb side’, but ensure that they are applied in the retailer systems such as WaWi or Webshop.
How does the future of eDC look? Will there be an extended version sometime? If yes – what requirement areas will be concentrated on?
M. R.: The eDC will develop constantly. That begins on a small scale, with the continuous development and permanent improvement of the classification, and ends with the permanent expansion of the data pool through adding more suppliers. Then there is the inclusion of other branches such as factory equipment, power tools and tools.
What we also direct our attention to is the continued development in usability of the PIM system to increase the efficiency during data maintenance, and the development of the range of services for our members resulting from the data. From the distributor portal, which is in the first phase of implementation, or the self service possibilities which need to be created for the members, to completely new services which have to be created - such as advisor tools. The individualisation of the contents will be a big topic.
SYSTEM INTEGRATORS AND CONSULTING
parsionate supports retailers and brands in developing and implementing omni-channel concepts – comprehensive consultation, the best know-how in the leading software solutions and successful implementation.
Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler GmbH
Martin Reinke is a trained business economist with a focus on information systems. He began his career in E/D/E 2001 as head of e-business. In 2011, e-business became an independent division, whereupon Martin Reinke was appointed as authorised signatory and as the new division manager. In addition to this he is project leader for eDC, the electronic Daten-Center (electronic data centre).
Picture credit © E/D/E