W.EG. is the Würth Group’s Electrical Wholesale Business Unit, which is one of the leading electrical wholesalers on the European market. It consists of 17 companies, located in 9 countries, and has over 5,500 employees on its payroll. It’s a global leader in the wholesale distribution of electrical goods.
W.EG.'s mission is to consolidate the electric wholesale market by delivering centralized back-office services and ensuring cost optimization, organizational governance, a stable position, and dynamic growth. In order to do this, they needed a solid digitalized system that would help them manage product information globally.
Scope and highlights
W.EG. was searching for a PIM system contractor to build a centralized solution covering 9 companies from 6 Eastern European countries: Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.
The answer was a mix of open-source technologies and specially-built custom solutions that required the full skillset of the Divante team.
The project had the following objectives:
- A high quality, completeness, and consolidation of all product-related data on a single platform (images, technical descriptions, videos, product sheets, etc.)
- Supplying the eCommerce platform with product data
- Creating print catalogs, flyers, etc.
- Delivering data to customers, ERP systems, and other PIM solutions
A huge number of items in the database (up to 1 million per company)
7 languages: Polish, Czech, Slovak, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, and English
All items had to be universally classified
Imported data took different formats (depending on the company)
"We love to challenge ourselves and this was exactly the kind of project to do that. With a market leader like W.EG., we know that every improvement we implement can bring massive time and money savings. We’re happy that, in spite of there being many stakeholders, we were able to cooperate in a transparent, democratic model to deliver a solution that satisfied everyone in the company."
Marta Borowiec-Salwa Senior Project Manager at Divante
The rock-solid process
The project was divided into three stages:
Proof of Concept - We proved that Pimcore is the right PIM solution for building different features based on needs. We prepared a BRD and 6 test instances for W.EG.. This stage lasted 3 months. In the PoC system, we ran a 2-day workshop with clients, gathering business requirements. We then confirmed these needs and moved on to the planning phase. Each company had its own test instance and a new PIM for W.EG. We chose Pimcore because it is flexible and enables this specific architecture.
Developer backlog - We prepared a prioritized list of work for the development team that is derived from the roadmap and its requirements. The most important items are shown at the top of the product backlog so the team knows what to deliver first.
Implementation - The client was able to test new functionalities on its own instances from the very beginning, in October 2017. Each company had its test instance and new functionalities were applied to all test instances simultaneously thanks to the automated continuous deployment process. The customer had constant access to the system that was being created and could test and observe changes incrementally. The development stage was divided into three phases, based on the delivered functionality package.
Technologies we used
The project for W.EG was extremely sophisticated and required a great number of custom-made solutions due to the specific business requirements and the company’s structure:
Importing a great amount of data of different types and formats Due to the number of file types and data formats, generic importers were not enough and we needed to build a dedicated solution. Importers that the client can configure depending on the instance and format of the input data solved a number of problems, as well as saving time and money for W.EG. This approach was applied throughout the project. We wanted the least number of dedicated solutions and the most possible configuration options.
Exchanging product information between 9 companies We had to implement dedicated solutions, based on ElasticSearch, MongoDB, and Apache NiFi, which allowed for the exchange of information between all Pimcore instances. In addition, each company uses its own data model, which was an extra challenge. We had to take into account that the product data structures are not compatible between instances.
Extending the versatility of solutions Each new function must work on every instance, regardless of its configuration. Test automation, code analysis, and deployment solutions for multiple instances have also been implemented.
Thanks to custom-made technology, we were able to deliver a solution that works each and every time.
"Thanks to Divante’s individual approach, we got solutions that are tailor-made for our needs. This cooperation gave us much more than we expected in terms of process digitalization and what we can achieve with it. I’m glad we chose Divante; not only because of the final product but also because of the way we got to it and all the business and technological support we got from the team.”
Manfred Dorfmann Director of Digitalization & Process Excellence at W.EG. CEE
A modern approach to deployment and the implementation of Docker and Kubernetes, allowed us to detect errors quickly by building applications using Continuous Integration. With Kubernetes, we gained the ability to scale the application in an easy way and the possibility of virtually immediate response to the growing demand for resources. Deployment is, therefore, virtually automatic and the implementation of new functionalities has never been so easy.