Heraeus: Product Database with Online and Offline Access
Heraeus is a worldwide precious metals and technology company with firm roots at its location in Germany and has been family-owned for over 160 years. More than 13,300 employees are active in over 120 companies in the fields of precious metals, sensors, dental products, biomaterials, medical products, quartz glass and specialty lighting sources. In addition to selling products that have already been developed, Heraeus focuses heavily on research and development of new products, as 21% of its global sales are generated by products that have been developed in the past three years.
Heraeus and ANTEROS
Where Does the Data Come From?
The data collected in ANTEROS comes from two different sources at Heraeus. On the one hand, the company uses SAP as the leading system for all standard product data, which is then imported into the ANTEROS application. On the other hand, Heraeus also receives data from the research and development, and technical support and sales departments. The information obtained from these departments about newly developed products and product modifications is directly managed by employees in the ANTEROS database, meaning that it can ultimately be found in the same place as the imported data.
Categorization and Parameters
Since Heraeus manufactures products and technologies for 50 different industries, ANTEROS encompasses a huge product portfolio in which, however, an overview must always be maintained. Therefore, ANTEROS enables a convenient and fast search of the product data. The results can be limited via a category assignment, meaning that only products from selected categories are taken into account. Alternatively, ANTEROS offers the additional option of filtering products based on their parameters with the Advanced Search. In the search results, the products are then displayed with the most important parameters and a status traffic light indicates which type of product is involved. Green stands for standard products, yellow for customer-specific products and red for discontinued products. A large number of parameters are maintained for each product individually, which is why these are separated in the PIM using speaking parameter groups. Each of these groups is given its own tab on the product information page in order to ensure that the parameters are displayed in as clear and structured a manner as possible.
However, if a user wants to compile products that may not have a common parameter or belong to the same category, they have the option of bundling them in the collection folder. This makes it possible, for example, to mark relevant products to be printed, and subsequently to create data sheets for them in their own Heraeus layout at the push of a button using the print-on-demand function of ANTEROS.
Thus, the PIM application of ANTEROS serves as a central data pool at Heraeus, in which SAP master data of the standard products are combined with the local product information of the development environment. In combination with the ANTEROS print module, this makes it possible to automatically generate various reports for variable products.
“For us, it‘s purely a technical service and sales perspective that our sales reps use online when they‘re logged into the system, or offline on their own laptops to quickly access data. Where in SAP you have to search for information about 20 transactions, here you have it in one convenient overview. This was our requirement and ANTEROS accomplishes this very successfully.”
- Mike Wetzel, Heraeus
System Architecture with an Online and Offline Solution
At Heraeus, the basis for data maintenance in ANTEROS consists of the master data that is maintained in the ERP system used, SAP, and then imported from ANTEROS as a CSV file. This product data is then expanded in ANTEROS with, for example, categories, images and texts. The data is now stored in two different databases. The first is a web database for online access and the second is an extra offline database for offline access, which can synchronize the data in the two databases with a special ANTEROS extension as long as an Internet connection is available. Thus, both databases always include the latest version of the data maintained in ANTEROS.
Access to the Data
The online application can be accessed on the Heraeus intranet via a specific URL, where you gain access to ANTEROS by entering a user name and password. The offline application is basically identical to the online application; here, too, you can only access the system after entering a user name and password.
However, some functions of INCONY have been added to ANTEROS to enable offline access. For example, every night all product data, including the products themselves, their categories and parameters, are automatically made available via scripts on the company‘s own ANTEROS server as a database. Furthermore, these are compressed into ZIP archives along with images and documents and then placed on FTP servers.
In addition to the standard ANTEROS functions, the offline version contains an update button, with which one can start a synchronization with the current database at any time, in order to transfer all data to one‘s own laptop.
Thanks to this extension, it is now possible for salespeople to access the ANTEROS application even if they are not connected to the Heraeus intranet.
Heraeus‘ international subsidiaries also maintain products that are specific to each country region. In the past, if an American product, for example, was suitable for a German customer, the sales staff had to contact their American colleagues via e-mail in order to obtain information about the product. With ANTEROS, Heraeus can now also display the data relating to foreign companies in the PIM system, which significantly simplifies and shortens the exchange of information across country borders.
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Are you interested in a PIM system in order to maintain your product data much more efficiently? Are you interested in what is possible with the technologically leading PIM system ANTEROS and how far you can optimize your processes with it? Then request your free software demo now!