- Customer Excerpt
- Customer Experiences
- PIM, Web (KOSTAL)
- PIM, Online Store (CARAT)
- PIM and Print (POLOPLAST)
- International PIM (Motul)
- PIM, Print & Web (TECE)
- PIM, Spare Parts (Klickparts)
- PIM and Print (MC-Bauchemie)
- International PIM (BPW)
- PIM and Print (Oventrop)
- Online Shops, SAP (Mitutoyo)
- Spare Parts Store (Tietjen)
- PIM, Print (OBETA)
- Shop, TecDoc, SAP (Hella)
- TecDoc, Print (Continental)
- Shop, PIM (Paul Wiegand)
- Media Portal (Schwaiger)
- PIM, Print (Rapid)
- TecDoc Print, Web (TMD)
- Info System (Heraeus)
- PIM, Print & Web (Simona)
- PIM, TecDoc, Print (Hella)
- PIM & Print (Brinkmann)
PIM for the Best Data in the Online Shop
User Report by CARAT - Your Partner in the Vehicle Parts Trade
CARAT is one of the largest German trade cooperations in the field of car parts wholesale. Its full product range covers car, commercial vehicle and van spare parts, as well as car accessories and workshop equipment. With a total of 140 shareholders in the CARAT group of companies and 2,000 system workshops, it generates external sales of approximately 1.8 billion euros. CARAT's day-to-day business is always focused on the development of central services for the shareholders.
Incentive for a PIM System at CARAT
CARAT's first step was to plan a new online store, but the demand for data quality increased, requiring the best product data for the new store. Therefore, CARAT decided to set up a PIM system alongside the new online store in order to be able to improve and guarantee the quality of its data. In addition, although CARAT has the opportunity to obtain standardized data from many manufacturers via TecDoc or DVSE, this option is not yet available from all manufacturers and the quality of the data varies greatly across the different product lines. Therefore, the PIM system should also be used to increase product data quality for marketing and sales purposes. For the data maintenance itself, there was a requirement to establish system-controlled processes and define fixed workflows to reduce redundant and erroneous data. For the same reason, the PIM system was planned as a single system for storing, preparing, and providing product data in order to avoid multiple maintenance in different platforms.
Main Requirements for a PIM at CARAT
The top priority when selecting a PIM system at CARAT was the creation of a golden record, i.e. a central platform in which all data of any kind is brought together. Furthermore, the common standards for the automotive industry, such as TecDoc and DVSE, should be easy to adopt in terms of both content and formats. Therefore, a system was also needed that was equally suitable for vehicle-linked and non-linked products, so that all relevant product data could be maintained easily and efficiently. An important requirement in data maintenance is the ability to add your own data and logic to the imported manufacturer product data without having to overwrite it or maintain it anew. These include search trees, additional attributes, other texts and media, and license plates. In addition, daily updated and automated data checks were required, as the PIM is to be the central control center for the online store and must always present the latest data. Finally, individual and automated exports and the resulting data provision were to be implemented in order to provide shareholders with only relevant data and to always be able to update the store.
Why Choose INCONY's PIM System ANTEROS?
"We now have a professional PIM system and the PIM implementation was also done very competently. So once again, my sincere thanks to all those involved from INCONY. It really worked out great!"
PIM in the CARAT Infrastructure
CARAT feeds its PIM system with data from various sources. Thus, the vehicle and product data originate from the dealer portals TecDoc and DVSE and are imported into ANTEROS in TAF format. In addition, individual dealer data that is not stored in any database is imported via Excel or CSV files. Marketing data such as texts and media originate from an agency database, where they are transferred to ANTEROS via SFTP. Finally, master data from the ERP system is also transferred to ANTEROS and the employees' individual internal expertise can be entered via data supplements in the ANTEROS web interface.
ANTEROS itself is the PIM system at the heart of CARAT's infrastructure. Access to the system is entirely web-based, so that no software needs to be installed on local computers and employees can work with the system both at headquarters and in their home offices. Access to ANTEROS is controlled by a user name and password. User roles and rights determine what product data a user can see and what functions they can use. As part of data security, all data stored in ANTEROS is, of course, encrypted.
CARAT then uses the data enriched in the PIM system for the company's online store, which was implemented with the Speed4Trade software. In addition, individual data exports for a wide variety of purposes can be carried out with the flexible export framework of ANTEROS.
Importing Different Data into ANTEROS
Vehicle and Manufacturer Data
CARAT receives three different types of external data that they import into their PIM system. Foremost is vehicle master data, such as the manufacturer, the brand, and the individual vehicle. This TecDoc data usually comes from two dealer portals, TecDoc from TecAlliance and topmotive from DVSE. The data is transferred from both portals in TAF format, as this is the data standard in the automotive aftermarket. Product master data is then imported, which includes product groups and subgroups as well as generic articles with the associated basic data. Both vehicle and product master data is constantly updated by TecAlliance. Finally, CARAT obtains dealer-specific product data, such as the EAN, supplier number, individual parameters and the assignment to a generic article. This information is provided by the manufacturer itself via dealer portals. The import of all this data is partially automated, i.e. the updated data is transferred on a daily basis via an IDP interface and a manual update can also be performed if required.
ERP and Logistics Data
CARAT only takes the logistics data relevant for e-commerce and thus for the online store from its ERP system. This especially concerns the areas of assortment control, article distribution and the legal framework. This data cannot be changed in the PIM later, in order to maintain the status of the golden record.
Data Maintenance in ANTEROS
Additional Product Data
CARAT then adds further information to the imported product data in ANTEROS. This includes adjusting existing texts or writing new ones, as well as storing synonyms for terms in order to be able to refer to better and longer texts in their own online store and to optimize the article search. In order to make the filter options in the store more customer-friendly in addition to the search, CARAT maintains additional attributes (for example, outside diameter instead of diameter) in addition to the imported product properties. Furthermore, entirely new data fields, such as supplier name, brand and product line, are created in order to achieve a separation or harmonization of information.
Optimized Structures for the CARAT Shop
In addition to the additional product data, CARAT has also optimized the underlying data structure for the store. For example, a separate search tree was defined in the PIM to make it easier for customers to search for CARAT products in the store. In addition, the quality of the media can be controlled in the PIM so that the correct media variant is used in every resolution. Finally, indicators supporting the workflow are used in ANTEROS to always define which articles and data fields need to be transmitted to the store in order to keep it up to date.
Custom Data Maintenance in ANTEROS
The ANTEROS product editor is structured in the same way in every display in the system. Here, the data fields are separated thematically into individual tabs. The resulting division provides a better overview of the product data and thus leads to more efficient data maintenance. These tabs can always be modified or even added to using the configuration options of ANTEROS. CARAT has chosen the additional tabs "log. ERP", "TecDoc", "Texts Industry", "Texts Agency" and "Own Texts" in order to be able to distinguish information on the basis of its source. This subdivision allows CARAT to overwrite imported texts, for example from TecDoc or an agency, and to store texts that are more suitable for the online store in the "Own texts" tab.
Data Maintenance for the CARAT Online Store
In addition to the custom tabs in the editor, CARAT can also create custom category trees. Thus, in addition to the imported TecDoc search trees, a CARAT product tree was created specifically for universal parts. This product tree also acts as the search tree for the online store. Therefore, the tree is optimized for customer specific queries and offers a different tree depth depending on the product area. Product trees of this kind can be created very easily via the ANTEROS web interface, so that multiple individual structures of this kind can also be maintained at the same time.
In the store itself, the attribute names must ultimately be displayed in a clear and easy-to-understand manner for CARAT's customers. Imported manufacturer data with TecDoc attributes can pose a challenge here, as some of these are not structured in a particularly comprehensible way. To circumvent this problem, CARAT uses an ANTEROS extension that allows mapping of TecDoc attributes to CARAT's own attributes. This is how CARAT achieves a harmonization and concretization of the product attributes in their store.
Mapping to the company's own attributes has already ensured a significant improvement in data quality at CARAT. In addition, the company uses the ANTEROS quality management module to monitor and systematically improve the general quality of its product data. For this purpose, users can create their own quality reports, which refer to specific characteristics of the products. The ANTEROS dashboard is used to provide a better overview and visualization of the data quality.
Flexible Import-Export Framework
With ANTEROS' extensive export editor, CARAT can flexibly define its own exports. Here, the fields required for the export can be specified individually and a custom name for this export can be defined. Subsequently, only these specified fields are used for the export. Each export can be automated and, thanks to the structure of the exported file, re-imported without any problems.
In addition to CARAT's own exports, other processes can be automated within the ANTEROS PIM system. This includes, among other things, the import of various data from CARAT's ERP system, as well as the import of images and TecDoc data via hot folders. In addition, data transfers to the online store can be automated. In the process, a delta update ensures the update of, among other things, category tree, attribute names, product data, images, texts, as well as category and manufacturer assignments. The automation of these processes can even be monitored, paused and resumed in ANTEROS via the process monitor in the system.
Conclusion: Professional PIM and Competent Implementation
With ANTEROS, data at CARAT can be easily merged from existing systems. The vehicle and product master data is regularly imported in TecDoc format and supplier data is transferred from dealer portals. In addition, logistics data from the ERP and agency texts from the agency database can be transferred to ANTEROS via interface.
All this has resulted in an incredibly efficient and refined professional online store that enables CARAT to deliver outstanding customer experience while maintaining a competitive advantage in the automotive sector.
| || |
In future, CARAT plans to expand the PIM system to their GS network with satellite structures. In addition, data maintenance in ANTEROS is to be made even more efficient by planning the use of AI in the maintenance of texts, attributes and images. Furthermore, the interfaces to data dealers and suppliers are to be optimized and expanded, for example, with BMEcat and REST APIs. Finally, an expansion of the PIM project to the internal organization is planned, whereby a user and role concept is to be used.
Efficiently Prepare Product Data for Multiple Purposes with the ANTEROS PIM System
INCONY's PIM system offers you intuitive data maintenance and targeted control of your data. In addition, you can export product data yourself quickly and flexibly in different compilations for dealers or your own purposes and forward the data to your online store.
Did CARAT's success story of their efficient data maintenance in the PIM and the output to the online store convince you? Seize the opportunity now and request your free software demo today. Alternatively, you can get further insights into our technologically leading software on our website!