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A PIM system as the basis for an integrated customer experience. How Leister is shaping the digital future

2020-11-11 Christian Leeger
A product page in the Leistershop

Logo of the Leister Group.

The Leister Group is a globally operating Swiss technology group with its headquarters in the Canton of Obwalden in central Switzerland.

From the source of the information directly to the customer: with the introduction of a product information management system (PIM), Leister Group, an international company, has laid the foundation for the expansion of their range of services and a customer experience on a new level. The PIM system is part of the ambitious myLeister future-oriented initiative and was developed and implemented together with foryouandyourcustomers. In addition, foryouandyourcustomers supported Feldkirch in the design conception of the new web platform of the Leister Group.

“We are resolutely and systematically pursuing our vision,” says Oliver Odermatt, PIM project manager at Leister: “myLeister stands for a holistic customer experience from the Leister device to new services and all relevant information. We offer the customer a maximum level of positive experiences, and this sets us apart from other companies. The implementation of this initiative will create a USP for the group, which differentiates us from the international competition and meets the requirements of our customers even better.” The targets for the collaboration with foryouandyourcustomers in Baar were also aligned with this: “For us, an important building block on the path to a successful future was the smoothly running and conceptually perfectly supported implementation of a PIM/MAM system,” explains Oliver Odermatt. “The know-how transfer on the part of foryouandyourcustomers represents an investment in the future that will enable us to implement future digitisation projects independently and successfully.”

The mobile view of the Leistershop.

Mobile view of a product in the shop.

After an intensive preliminary project phase, in summer 2019 the implementation of the PIM system began along with its core functions and interfaces on the basis of censhare. Already after one year, in the middle of 2020, the project was completed.

An appealing and user-oriented look and feel for Leister customers.

Product components of a Leister product.

“The decision to carry out the project with an agile scrum approach instead of using the classic waterfall method proved to generate further added value. All specifications were reviewed and processed in three-week sprints. Unforeseen events could continuously be factored in and incorporated into the implementation without losing sight of the project goal. The experiences gained from foryourandyourcustomers have helped us focus on and further develop the agile method, an investment also in plans, which has already paid off during the project,” says Oliver Odermatt.

“A role model approach for a data factory”

In the view of Odermatt, the preliminary project – along with the system evaluation, conception and numerous workshops – played a decisive part in the success of the implementation of the PIM/MAM project – “for topics that had already been addressed and plans that are still outstanding.” 

This is endorsed by Christian Leeger, project manager at foryouandyourcustomers, who adds: “The company recognised some time ago that a digitisation initiative should not just revolve around the channels to the customer and addressed this subject matter in an intensive preparation phase including preliminary projects not only in the area of PIM/MAM, but in the whole myLeister initiative.” This preparation helped Leister to start an internal change process on the basis of a modern understanding of digital transformation and to develop an overall strategy for sustainable business success. In order to create a unique customer journey, additional aspects such as the structure of the organisation, processes, systems and, above all, the data should be included and coordinated with one another. The decision-makers made firm decisions in advance about this and subsequently devised a program that takes into account aspects of the “sun deck” as well as of the “engine room”. In other words, from the data to the customers, for a modern and smooth experience with Leister.

The PIM system offers a detailed overview of all product-related information.

Detailed overview of product-related information in a PIM system

“A better and more responsible approach to a project with such far-reaching consequences for the whole company”, summarises Christian Leeger, “would not be possible. For the above-mentioned reasons, it was extremely exciting for me and my colleagues not only to be able to accompany Leister in the implementation of the PIM system, but also to provide advice and long-term support regarding the definition of the overall strategy and the system architecture using Exploded View and the information modelling.” In this way, the information model was, for example, “first used for product structuring in the new PIM system. It is now, however, already used in the whole area of master data management across the whole company,” reports Oliver Odermatt.  

The newly structured media file enables simple access to images, documents and videos of all products.

Overview media files with detailes.

“More organised, more structured and more efficient” – this is how Oliver Odermatt describes the initial internal feedback regarding the handling of product information and media data after installation of the PIM system. “We are currently in the stabilisation phase (optimisation and hypercare), which will be completed with the introduction of the new Leister web platform and the PIM data to be integrated into it. In addition, data administration in the PIM system still has to be completed and the integration of further Leister companies prepared. We are speaking about hundreds of products and thousands of articles. Whereby it is not the number, but the complexity of the products that is the challenge,” says the project manager. “In parallel, we are preparing phase 2 of the whole project.” The PIM is not just intended for the supply of web and print product data but should, over time, become a source of marketing-relevant product information and media assets for all Leister channels.

“In the past months, we have made some very important decisions for the future,” stated Oliver Odermatt. “With the introduction of the PIM/MAM system as part of the myLeister initiatives, a solid foundation for further digital business models was laid. We are still a long way from our goal if there is such a thing, but we’re on the right path – for our customers and our future business success.”

For decades, the privately owned Leister Group has been steadily growing. It has around 900 employees on three continents. The export rate amounts to 98 per cent and products are exported to more than 100 countries. The brands Leister, Axetris and Weldy are known worldwide for their market leadership in technologically superior quality products, reliable partnerships and high customer benefits.