MMC Hartmetall on the way to the digital future
BY MIRJAM DEBORA MARSCHALL
Tradition and modern business models have to form a symbiosis in the age of digitalisation. This becomes a balancing act for broadly-diversified companies, but it can be successfully mastered with the support of experienced partners. MMC Hartmetall GmbH is one such company, that has managed the transition into the age of digitalisation in an exemplary manner, taking in all factors relevant to an international, broadly-diversified corporation. Estanislao Montesinos Gomez, Group Leader Media Team & Head of PIM Product Information Management, talks about the company’s recipe for success, the challenges and opportunities of digital change, as well as about the successful collaboration with Osudio.
You have been distributing precision tools and comprehensive solutions in the most diverse sectors for over 30 years now – ranging from aerospace all the way through to medical technology. What is your success based on?
The success of the company is based on several different cornerstones: innovative and effective products, superlative quality and precision, professional customer consultation and a completely in-house production process covering everything from the raw materials through to the end products. Needless to say, this also includes market-oriented operations and constant proximity to the customers.
What challenges is your company facing with regard to digital change in the individual sectors? And how are you mastering these?
Digital change is presenting many sectors with new challenges – including our industry. We had to change our thinking – particularly with regard to the information supply chain. Machines, including the metal cutting tools used, and all the peripherals within the production line, are smart and completely networked with each other. As there are currently no uniform or generally-valid data standards with which data models can be mapped, this requires a tremendous amount of work for the entire sector. If we additionally examine the volume of data to be newly collated, we are quickly confronted with the next challenge within the organisation: where do analysis, maintenance, transformation and processing of the data into a business value take place within the organisation chart? Should such data or even individual data segments be part of the PIM system or are new, different systems required?
What influence does digitalisation have on the various wishes and expectations of customers in the individual sectors?
In the age of digitalisation, data is becoming ever more important and valuable. Customers expect up-to-date data in the appropriate formats in real time and on-demand. Ever more data is being requested within the context of eProcurement or engineering measures. This is naturally having a major impact on the respective data maintenance requirements, because systems and databases are becoming ever larger and increasingly complex. Growing digitalisation in production means new systems being connected to the information supply chain, which can measure and – in the best-case scenario – even optimise the processes. So, data segments are continuing to grow. The volumes and the complexity should not be underestimated. Several thousand new attributes can be generated with regard to Industry 4.0 projects, some of which may be language-dependent or require aggregation to create datasets. It must be possible to read, transform, maintain, store, analyse and subsequently distribute all this data to fulfil the expectations of the various sectors. And it goes without saying that this must be carried out at high speed, with precision and in high quality.
You have taken an important step towards digitalisation and central data management together with Osudio. How did this collaboration come about?
For our PIM project, we were initially looking for an experienced, competent consultant and implementation partner in one – to ensure that we could also acquire advice from a single entity in matters other than PIM. In addition to the typical technical requirements, the team structure was also a tremendously important decision-making factor for us – as it is ultimately still people working together. In the end, Osudio was successful – noticeably coming out on top during the selection process that included a total of three suppliers. In addition to the presentation at MMC Hartmetall, it was the team structure and positive customer review from one of MMC’s business partners that had been working with Osudio in the area of PIM for approximately five years that ultimately clinched the deal.
What conditions govern this joint project? What challenges had to be solved together?
As we had not had a PIM system until that time, it was initially about ‘capturing’ all the business processes and transferring these to the PIM system. Furthermore, the entire MMC project team, an internal start-up comprising members from the various departments, had to carry out up-front enablement. This explains and defines attributes, mapping, ETL process, single-line text and further terminology, ensuring that everybody started at the same level. For the implementation of our PIM system, we agreed the central condition with Osudio: namely that the venture had to be approached in an agile manner. Here, we initially outlined the entire project scope and then agreed to start with a reduced scope, which we called ‘Scope 1’. Hence, the project is split into several stages. Clear benefits here include fast success and the immediately-measurable business value. A further condition for our venture worthy of mention was the complete project documentation in English, ensuring that our headquarters in Japan has insight into it at all times.
What factors must be considered when applying the various solutions?
Even if we limited ourselves to a reduced solution with Scope 1, we had to always keep our eye on the overall solution to ensure work is not unnecessarily carried out on a ‘building block’ twice. Each area of a PIM implementation can be packaged into a module and deployed in accordance with ‘best practise’ – regardless of whether we are talking about consulting or technical implementation within the tool. Further factors include all connected systems – for instance, an ERP system especially developed in-house, or a PLM/PDM system on the development and production side.
What milestones are you hoping to achieve with the support of Osudio in the long term?
In addition to data collation, data maintenance and the connected data output processes, the Contentserv PIM/MAM system is for us the foundation for the future eCommerce shop system. Here, the key is consistent and finely detailed, high-quality product information across all channels. Without these key attributes, we will never be able to provide a satisfactory customer experience, regardless of the channel. Customers expect the right content, in the right context, at the right time and in the right format.
What options are there for measuring the success of the system?
There are already various ROI analysis options for PIM/MAM systems. This was very much an area we were looking into at the beginning of our PIM/MAM evaluation. The current, and hence most important, key factors for us are very clear: a reduction in the time-to-market, data quality, acceptance among key users, fast data integration, successful data outputs in the respective channels and general savings through central data maintenance in the PIM system. As standard, the solution offered by Contentserv already provides various options for analysing the above-mentioned criteria.
What is your vision for MMC Hartmetall?
We want to efficiently market new innovations to customers faster using independent channels. For this and for the information supply chain, we require a powerful, agile and fully-integrated PIM/MAM system as the foundation for our system landscape and processes.
Estanislao Montesinos Gomez
Mr Estanislao Montesinos Gomez is a trained wholesale merchant and has been with MMC Hartmetall GmbH for 18 years. He manages the European Commercial Marketing’s media production division and is also responsible for the PIM/MAM system as the product owner. Throughout his career in marketing, he has acquired extensive sourcing, product management, public relations, translation management, pricing and media production expertise.
Osudio supports its customers in reaching their B2B and B2C customers within the context of a seamless shopping experience across all sales channels. With its extensive product information management (PIM) know-how, Osudio creates the right foundations for omnichannel presences that also include print. To this end, the result is an eCommerce solution that creates the optimum brand experience and hence facilitates potential sales growth.
MMC Hartmetall GmbH
Image credit: MMC Hartmetall