The electronic spare parts catalog used at Dücker for many years was to be replaced, as the associated software was no longer further developed and did not allow publication on the Internet. The old catalog comprised about 100 individual catalogs for the various product types.
The core requirements were:
- Online publication of spare parts catalogs
- Migration of the existing old catalogs to the new solution
- Extensive automation of the processes for creating and maintaining the data
- Possibility to create serial number-related catalogs and select the appropriate catalog by entering a serial number
The choice fell on SpareParts 365, which was still a relatively new solution at the time. Decisive for the decision were essentially these points:
- Integrated portal solution
- Cloud variant available as SaaS ("Software as a Service")
- No investment required due to subscription model
- Low implementation and operating costs
- No duplicate data maintenance
- Modern and intuitive "Look & Feel"
- Low-risk entry into a project possible
“Gerhard Dücker GmbH & Co. KG, based in Stadtlohn, specializes in machines for environmental landscape management and farming. Dücker is one of the leading suppliers of front-mounted embankment mowers. The product range includes so-called uni-mowers, universal mowers, mulching and shredding equipment, uni-side mowers, verge mowers, embankment mowers as well as mower combinations. The portfolio also includes branch and hedge cutters, wood chippers, hedge trimmers, road milling machines, mix shredders and sweeping machines.
The customers include local governments, municipalities, road authorities and farmers et al.
The products are sold through its own distributors in Germany as well as through Unimog general agencies and agricultural machinery dealers. There are several sales partners in Europe. The foreign sales share is 20%.
Dücker participates at several trade fairs. Also our machines can be seen on exhibitions at our sales partners.
The family enterprise was founded in 1904 and initially manufactured hay blowers, tedders and flour mills. Dücker has 150 employees and generates an annual turnover of 35 million euros. The company is managed by Gerhard Dücker in the 3rd generation and Christian Dücker in the 4th generation.”
(Quote website https://www.en.duecker.de/company/about-us.html)
The transfer of the data from the existing system turned out to be non-trivial, since there was no original "source data", and the structure and organization of the data no longer matched the data structures in the current ERP system and in the design department.
The changeover from the previous, very time-consuming, manual maintenance of the electronic spare parts catalog to largely automated processes also proved to be not easy:
- Previously, the 2D exploded views were created by an external service provider, now these drawings are to be generated directly from the design department.
- The maintenance of BOMs for catalogs had to be set up anew in the ERP system (proALPHA) and compared with the existing production BOMs.
- The flexibility of exports from the ERP system is limited, so the data exported from it is not directly suitable for use in SpareParts 365.
Implementation of the project
First, the conversion of the data from the existing system was carried out, thus providing an online catalog whose content corresponds 1:1 to the legacy catalog.
In the meantime, Dücker began to convert the processes for data maintenance, so that the first test data could be generated from the ERP system.
After the decision was made not to put any internal effort into the conversion of data, the development of a pre-processor was commissioned, which converts the existing data from ERP, design and documentation into the import format of SpareParts 365.
After a comprehensive test phase, Dücker's spare parts portal was launched go-live.
The new portal solution at Dücker meets the previously defined requirements and enables a wide range of benefits, including:
For the catalog user
- Accessing the portal on the Internet with login
- Selecting a catalog using a product structure or serial number
- Use of the new, automatically created serial number-related catalogs for newly produced devices, as well as the old, converted catalogs for older devices
- Display of additional documents and price information
- Collection of the required spare parts in a shopping cart, with the possibility to send an e-mail request to Dücker's spare parts sales department via a full-fledged shop function
For the catalog creator
- The maintenance of the data required for the spare parts catalog is done completely in proALPHA, so inconsistencies and transmission errors can be avoided.
- By means of the product files from proALPHA – in addition to standard catalogs for the individual product types – serial number-related catalogs are generated so that the customer finds a spare parts catalog that corresponds exactly to the construction status of his machine.
- The effort for catalog creation and maintenance could thus be significantly reduced.
The task of transferring all required information from the existing system without data loss proved to be challenging, but feasible with manageable effort.
Setting up and configuring the online solution with SpareParts 365 required surprisingly little effort. The functionalities required to identify and order spare parts easily and error-free are available in the SpareParts 365 portal solution and can be operated intuitively.
Operating the portal as a cloud solution has great advantages compared to in-house operation. It eliminates all expenses for the setup, operation, and maintenance of a corresponding infrastructure, as well as the need to build up and maintain know-how for it. The use of the subscription variant of SpareParts 365 also enabled a risk-free entry into the project.
The internal challenge once again proved to be to adapt the necessary processes for data maintenance and to successfully involve the affected employees.
In summary, we can state that the tasks agreed in the project "Introduction of SpareParts 365 at Dücker" were accomplished
- within the agreed period
- within budget
- to the specified extent
- with good quality
"The decision to implement the "Spare Parts Catalog" project with SpareParts 365 was exactly the right one. Due to the high professional competence and the solution-oriented, flexible implementation strategy of IT-Solutions Möser e.K., the acceptance of the employees involved was given from day one. Thanks to SpareParts 365, we quickly achieved the project goal of an intelligent, self-maintaining spare parts catalog."
Jörg Bold, IT Project Manager