PIM System and Table Generator Tame Heterogeneous Product Data
Founded in Goettingen in 1925 and now based in Nörten-Hardenberg, the company for surface technology and industrial handles is divided into the divisions of surface technology, production of handles for industry, mechanical manufacturing and pipe connections and supplies industrial companies worldwide. Rohde AG has 135 employees and generates an annual turnover of 15 million euros.
For Rohde, the wide range of products means a large amount of different product information that needs to be maintained for web presence, catalogues, etc. For its new website including online catalogue, the company therefore wanted a data model that ensures structure, order and clarity of the product information and allows easy central maintenance of the information, taking into account the characteristics of the products.
The heterogeneous product range of Rohde AG posed a particular challenge: Only a few products have identical properties. A data model had to be found that would allow effective and efficient maintenance of the different product information and allow the editor to maintain selected technical attributes in tabular form for each individual product. Each table requires a different number of columns and rows. Rohde wanted an intuitive interface to configure the tables for output in an uncomplicated manner and according to the requirements. In addition, the web presence should be translatable into 13 languages due to the international target group. At the same time, the responsiveness of the content - the optimal display on different screen formats - was to be guaranteed. The company also wanted a white label solution for its dealers who sell Rohde products internationally.
To implement the web project accordingly, Blackbit used the open source framework Pimcore. With Pimcore it is comfortably possible to set up multilingual websites or online shops and to maintain and display even very heterogeneous article data. After jointly defining a flexible data model, we coordinated the conceptual design of the new website with Rohde and created wireframes of all major page types.
Existing product information from a MS-SQL database that was no longer updated was migrated to Pimcore objects and a classification store. Data and model errors were corrected and data quality was ensured.
To cope with the comparative presentation of different product variants in responsive tables in the online catalogue, we have developed a table generator that controls exactly how the data is to be displayed on the website. Despite the high complexity of the data, the tables can be maintained easily and at will by Rohde employees using this generator. The responsive web design was developed according to the requirements and usage habits of (potential) Rohde customers. We specifically optimized usability at the critical contact points of the buyer's journey. The central element of the web presentation is an online catalogue that answers almost all questions about the products, offers model data for download and a contact option including a form for requesting samples. In order to implement the desired white label solution, separate objects were created and configured in Pimcore for the international sales partners: By assigning the appropriate company logos, standard language and contact data, dealers can use the functionality of the online catalogue to sell Rohde products under their own name.
The relaunch created a responsive, stable and high-performance web presence that meets the expectations of the target group. The integrated product information management system simplifies operational processes and creates a single point of information for all product information. The intuitive user interface of Pimcore has been accepted by the operational users, so that new product groups were added to the online catalogue after a short time. The possibility to order samples of the offered industrial handles conveniently via a form is a source of a continuous stream of new business contacts.