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PIM and cross-media solution in use at MHZ Hachtel GmbH & Co. KG

Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 11/03/2015: With over 80 years of experience, family-run MHZ Hachtel GmbH & Co. KG is synonymous with high quality, attractive design and customised solutions in the blinds and sun shade sector, e.g. for the curtain rods and rails, roller blinds, blinds, pleated blinds and awnings product segments. A workforce of around 1200 work at several production sites and subsidiaries in Switzerland, Austria, France and Benelux.

To manage products and automatically produce catalogs, MHZ opted for the crossbase PIM and cross-media solution.

Interface to SAP

MHZ is using the PIM and cross-media solution to maintain product information. Over 25 000 items, including models, accessories and variant tables, derived from configurable materials, are imported along with product hierarchy, basic data and prices.

Marketing-focused data maintenance

In order to communicate the products with marketing strongly in mind, the imported items are referenced in the catalogs' marketing-specific product view using the corresponding item groups. Further product features from more than 160 attributes, which are grouped by class depending on the 12 product groups, e.g. rails, bars, pleats etc., are added to each item. Information about accessories, i.e. options/surcharges, standard and special accessories, that are added in the PIM for specific models, is very useful. Furthermore, text modules, currently available in up to 8 language-country variants, are assigned from a document module structure classified in a product neutral manner and controlled using the set language and country prioritization.

Integrated image database and Illustrator production

Product photos, drawings and graphics are managed and linked using the integrated image database. Highlights include the more than 100 language-specific Illustrator graphics, generated fully automatically on the basis of placeholders and text modules and currently available in up 8 language-country variants. The work involved in maintaining and translating these graphics has therefore been reduced by more than 80%.

All-round solution – controlling all sales channels from one database

The product group-specific technology and price catalogs and material cards are automated with the help of Adobe InDesign and crossbase.print using table and layout templates.

Highly efficient print production with connected print server and Adobe InDesign

In total there are around 500 master pages, which are also automatically adapted in up to 8 markets. This large number of pages is distributed to up to 4 print clients, controlled in parallel by the print server, so that the graphic designers can continue working on the layout process undisturbed.

One highlight is the fact that the material cards are now automated rather than having to be laboriously copied and set from supplier data. Both the data import of supplier data (Excel) and the layout process for the complex tables with properties and graphic symbols have been automated to such an extent that the time needed has been reduced by 80%.

The amount of translation work required for the foreign-language markets is determined automatically and the texts prepared for the Trados TMS, which the translation service provider uses. It has also been possible for the translation costs to be cut drastically because only the texts which have been changed or are new have to be translated.

Feedback from project manager Mr. Ascheron

"I was particularly impressed with how well the solution had been tailored to our needs. MHZ has a very complex product logic of variants and product relationships, numerous markets and very strict requirements of its continually changing catalog layout. We have drastically reduced the amount of work involved - what used to take weeks, can now be done in a matter of days.
The crossbase table editor allows all table forms to be automated, in particular the matrix tables for the variants and material cards. And the page layouts can also be specified with the layout editor without users needing to know how to work with scripts.
Thanks to good integration with Adobe, new updates of InDesign and Illustrator can be run as soon as they appear without any production downtime. The basic philosophy of me being able to do all the work myself is also true in the data import. Both SAP and Excel imports are easy to automate with the tool for data imports.

We are very happy with how simple the programs are to use, especially the drag&drop options and the clear and adjustable interfaces. The way in which all programs are operated in the same way is very convenient."

Advantages:

  • Introducing the PIM system has consolidated and harmonised the data inventory - all product information in all the required languages is managed in one central database.
  • All media and sales channels can be flexibly served from this one source.
  • Standardization and automation make uniform, up-to-date communication possible while reducing production outlay.

Sample of MHZ catalog

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Sample of MHZ material cards

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Production of language-specific Illustrator graphics

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The applied application modules

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Information about the customer

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Michael Binder
Project managers
+49 (0)7031 / 714 – 7296
m.binder@crossbase.de

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