WEICON develops, manufactures and sells adhesives, lubricants, seals, grease and insulation to manufacturers in more than 70 countries. Whether for production, repair or maintenance, customers in virtually every industry stake their product reputations on the integrity of WEICON products.
Due to the sheer volume of products WEICON sells, producing, printing and distributing paper catalogs would be impractical.
WEICON chose Canto Cumulus to make the company’s product catalog available to prospects and sales personnel. Prospects access a secured “use case” area inside Cumulus where they learn how WEICON products can benefit them. WEICON’s worldwide sales staff build on the archive each month, remotely adding photos they take at customer sites. Plus, they have “anywhere access” to all the product info they need.
WEICON originally envisioned a one-stop solution for showcasing all the possible applications for its vast product line, as WEICON advertising director Martin Krawinkel explains.
“We wanted to show every customer numerous application images according to their requirements, regardless of whether they are here in Münster, Germany or in Malaysia.”
Within a year of deploying Cumulus, Krawinkel’s vision was realized—the company’s online “photo album” of applications was stocked with thousands of images, and the company’s Cumulus ROI was in full swing. Prospects were able to see what was possible with WEICON products, and they could do so without the full-time attention of WEICON personnel. In addition, WEICON sales personnel were able to access the information they needed.
WEICON includes detailed descriptions for each photo, which results in more effective text searching for users. Going a step further, pre-configured search queries make even the most complex searches easier because users don’t need to guess at the proper terms to use, or the proper order to enter them into the search field. To use the queries, users select them from a drop-down menu—fast and easy.
Additional information describes individual problems that have been resolved through the use of WEICON products, making it easier for the viewer to visualize benefits he might also gain from the products— exactly what Krawinkel had in mind when he chose Cumulus.
Descriptive text is available in German and English. Instead of making users choose their preferred language, Cumulus makes the decision automatically, based on the text search strings used—search for “Gummi-Metall-Bindung” and see German results; search for “bond rubber to metal,” and your results are English.
The source of the photos are WEICON’s sales team, who take snapshots on site when they visit customers. They can upload new images remotely, so there’s no delay making new images available in the system—and there’s no concern that a lost camera will result in lost data.
IT specialist Franz-Josef Plaßmann, who manages WEICON’s Cumulus system, is pleased with the results he’s gotten with Cumulus.
“We have achieved our development goals of making user submitted images available online.”
WEICON initially faced far more challenges than just managing assets and making them available online. First off, the idea that outsiders would be accessing a server within the company’s protected networks was previously unheard of, as WEICON’s Sarah de Boer explains.
“It was inconceivable that someone outside of WEICON would be able access our servers. Two worlds clashed!”
But there was a cultural concern too.
WEICON’s digital assets weren’t previously organized using taxonomies and metadata—the heart and soul of digital asset management. This not only required rethinking, it required retraining.
Security concerns were addressed by the various levels of security made available by Cumulus, including the Cumulus Vault, The Vault provides version control and check-out services, but it offers an important secondary benefit too: it helps isolate digital assets from the conventional dangers of a server filing system, such as viruses and security loopholes.
Security concerns quelled, the next challenge was to get everyone into a room at the same time for training. Schedules conflicted, but the company was able to rely on a users-helping-users approach.
It’s not uncommon for organization’s with no prior digital asset management experience to go through a trial and discovery period before getting up to full speed.
WEICON’s Martin Krawinkel puts it best: “We needed longer than expected because we never before had such an asset management system. But it was worth it!”
In addition to asset management and control, WEICON now has the means to track how their assets are being used. They can see which search keywords are used, and they can see which assets are previewed and downloaded. Best of all, because Cumulus access is account based, WEICON marketing pros can see who is doing these things, which is an important benefit a website download page just can’t offer.
In time, WEICON Marketing sees an information database of customer interests—a tool that will help them focus their efforts. Hiring outside services to provide similar data would cost far more than the purpose price of Cumulus.
In addition, interface changes are planned for the Web client, and the next phase of integration will include the company’s massive PDF-format operating manuals. Cumulus enables users to search the full text of PDF files, so it will be easy to find manuals based on keywords and phrases they contain.