Electronic parts catalogs and up-to-date data sheets
The Metabo Group distributes transportable wood processing machines, welding machines and pumps under its brands Metabo, Elektra Beckum and Lurem Elektrowerkzeuge. 2600 staff represent extensive depth of production and a worldwide sales network. The comprehensive, international service documentation provides the specialist trade and the professional user with an enduring, useful product. Metabo assigns an up-to-date spare part list to each electrical tool and regularly supply its service partners throughout the world with spare part catalogs (loose-leaf files and CD).
Spare part catalogs and CDs were produced externally. Spare part lists, which have to be printed “on demand” for a specific contract, had to be updated manually and set up in an administration database, from which spare part lists and catalogs were produced externally. For a variety of reasons (dissatisfaction with the external service provider, the need for shorter update cycles, the need for a catalog production system specially adapted to one‘s own requirements with a link with the Metabo PPS system, the option of saving costs by operating one‘s own system) Metabo planned to switch from external production to in-house production of electronic spare part catalogs.
By introducing a software-based system, spare part catalogs should be automated and could be produced in-house. Spare part data was to be transferred directly from the company‘s own SAP system and automatically prepared for publication as a paper-based catalog and CD. Direct integration of the spare part catalogs into the Intranet was to be possible. An Internet solution was firstly required, the prerequisite for simply integrating the system with the Internet was also to be fulfilled, however. Due to the global distribution of the spare part catalogs, it was to be possible to publish these initially in ten languages (German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, Dutch and Polish). In addition to spare part information, wiring diagrams and repair instructions were also to be provided in the catalog. An elaborate ordering function (including a stored address database for managing all order addresses worldwide) and a parts list comparison was to be implemented on the CD version of the spare part catalogs. Otherwise, the customer was to be able to limit research to the applicable, countryspecific designs using a variation filter. Greatly important to Metabo was smooth installation of the service CD for the customer. During the project, Elektra Beckum AG was subsumed into the Metabo Group. Its service information was to be presented on the same CD using comparable logic.
Based on the PARTS-PUBLISHER standard software, the Docware software company has created a system, which has been adapted to the specific requirements of the Metabo Group in its project work. A converter was programmed for automatically transferring the linking information from the external service provider‘s old system.
Up-to-date data / print on demand
Using the Docware system, every day approx. 250,000 catalog items are updated in 7500 products (types and their variations). All of the spare parts data is updated at night by automatically generating the PARTS-PUBLISHER database from the Metabo SAP system. Straightforward changes to parts lists (80% of cases) result in updated spare parts lists without any additional manual intervention on the next day or on the valid date specified in SAP R/3. Image and link changes (20%) are generally carried out in advance. In so doing, the catalog system links the corresponding filenames with the changes in the product accounting system so that the new status is reflected in the spare parts list at the desired time.
Spare part catalogs “at the push of a button”
Service CDs for repair outlets throughout the world are published every six months. Paper catalogs are published as required. Furthermore, a specialist trade portal with spare parts data is provided, and another one is being planned.
Spare parts prices in the local currency
As in the past, the price and master data file is distributed on a diskette or on a memory stick with the CD.The sales subsidiaries of Metabo and Elektra Beckum convert the prices specified in Euros into their respective local currency and forward the countryspecific price information to their customers. In this way, Metabo customers throughout the world are able to have the up-to-date local prices displayed in the electronic catalog.
Spare parts data over the Intranet
The electronic spare parts catalog and information system provides information for a variety of internal posts over the Intranet. In this way, Hotline, Customer Services and Sales can access up-to-date spare part and service data at any time using their internal server. This means that their staff’s expertise and ability to provide information is enhanced, thereby improving customer service. Current information from the product accounting system is available over the inhouse network including repairs, development and product after-care. This means that information can immediately flow into the production process.
The catalog offers searches by product groups, type references, type numbers, spare parts numbers and use of parts. In each case the serial number is taken to determine the correct wiring diagram. Repair instructions (in PDF format) can be retrieved from the relevant product presentation. The smooth installation procedure, more up-to-date data, the more user-friendly presentation of complex spare part information and the ordering facility integrated into the spare part catalog on CD has reduced the number of customer call backs and incorrect orders enormously since introducing the new system.