PIM + Pimcore
Building a centralized PIM for 9 companies from 6 countries
Using a product information management solution to digitalize processes on a massive scale.
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 nine 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.
Wholesale and distribution
Why were we asked to help?
Implementing a PIM solution on a large scale
W.EG. was searching for a PIM system contractor to build a centralized solution covering nine companies from six Eastern European countries: Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.
The answer was a mix of open-source technologies and customized solutions that required the full skillset of the Divante team.
The project had the following objectives:
- High quality, completeness, and consolidation of all product-related data on a single platform, including images, technical descriptions, videos, product sheets, etc.
- Supplying the eCommerce platform with product data.
- Creating print catalogs, flyers, etc.
- Delivering data to customers, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and other product information management (PIM) solutions.
A huge number of items, 1 million per company, in the database.
Seven 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.
How did we tackle the tech?
A 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 business requirements document (BRD) and six test instances for W.EG. This stage lasted three months. In the PoC system, we ran a two-day workshop with clients to gather the 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's flexible and enables this specific architecture.
We prepared a prioritized list of work for the development team that was 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.
The client was able to test new functionalities on its own instances from the very beginning, which was in October of 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.
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 could configure depending on the instance and format of the input data solved a number of problems as well as saved 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 nine companies.
We had to implement dedicated solutions based on ElasticSearch, MongoDB, and Apache NiFi that 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 were also 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."
What did we achieve?
Seamless information flow within a unified PIM platform
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 virtually automatic and the implementation of new functionalities has never been so easy.
"The digital revolution in W.EG. that we were part of resulted in unprecedented improvement of day-to-day workflow in the whole organization and enhanced the comfort of its customers in the long run."