Sport-Thieme has stood for an extensive range of high-quality sports equipment at fair prices for over 70 years. The range includes over 19,000 sports articles and accessories for more than 70 sports. The customers of the medium-sized company from Grasleben in Lower Saxony primarily include educational institutions, clubs, and fitness and therapy centers – and, since the Corona lockdowns, increasingly end consumers. In addition to its own online store and print advertising, Germany’s largest mail order company for institutional sports also offers its products on marketplaces such as Amazon. In addition, Sport-Thieme is active internationally, delivering its products to more than 70 countries across Europe.
New markets, new target groups and more channels to play on have increased the demands on the content and marketing team, as has the trend toward ever-shorter time-to-market cycles. The team, processes and systems are increasingly coming up against bottleneck situations. The mail order company’s marketing management saw a need for action and sought external advice.
Participation in an M+M webinar on the topic of process automation along the content value chain finally brought the marketing managers from Grasleben together with the M+M consulting unit, and after briefly getting to know each other, the first joint projects were started.
Client of Meyle+Müller
- Increase process efficiency
- Improve time to market
- Support for digital transformation
As part of a quick check, the actual processes in the graphics and content team were first analyzed. Particular focus was placed on catalog design and image creation. The M+M consultants conducted on-site interviews with the colleagues in the respective areas over three days and then documented all processes according to BPM methodology. One week after the interviews, the first findings and suggestions for “quick wins”, i.e. optimization approaches that could be implemented in the short term, were on the table.
Specific starting points were identified, such as multiple data storage, long process times for internationalization, many coordination loops in the catalog process, or limitations in the self-developed PIM/DAM solution.
Christina Schramm, Team Leader Content, on the course and result of the Quick Check: “The chemistry was right from the start. You could tell that the M+M consultants had years of practical and industry experience, they were quickly on the subject and quickly addressed the first weak points. We also liked the review meetings on site in the middle and at the end of the process recording”.
The first project was soon followed by another, because the actual analysis had shown that the PIM/DAM system developed in-house was the linchpin for Sport-Thieme’s existing and, above all, future marketing communication requirements.
The marketing management wanted to know where the PIM/DAM system, which had been in operation for many years, stood in comparison to standard solutions from established software providers, and commissioned M+M Consulting to carry out a “PIM maturity test”.
This is a standardized methodology in which the existing solution is subjected to a benchmark comparison. This method was initially developed by business analyst and internationally recognized PIM expert Temel Kahyaoglu, and was used at Sport-Thieme in the Kahyaoglu/M+M Consulting partner network.
The basis of the maturity check is a requirements catalog consisting of up to 200 criteria covering all relevant topics of a software solution. These include, for example, the provider’s software and development strategy, software design, usability, interfaces, performance, search, process management, data model, inheritance, reporting, mass data maintenance, object dependencies, maintenance structures, derivation, distribution and much more.
Since not all criteria are equally relevant for the respective customer, the requirements are discussed together in a workshop, selected and weighted with regard to their importance for the company. It is essential that the consultant brings in his entire market know-how and, in particular, presents the current state of the art or development – the “benchmark”.
The fully configured and weighted requirements catalog is then compared with the existing solution in a further workshop. This takes place in the context of a practical system demonstration. Each criterion and function in the system is looked at, discussed and evaluated using a predefined point system.
It is important that, as far as possible, all roles and responsibilities from the user’s point of view are included and actively involved. On the one hand, this creates a detailed, common understanding of the requirements for the solution. And on the other hand, valuable know-how is built up within the company.
The end result is a matrix that describes a differentiated target-actual state in a standardized manner that is highly transparent and comprehensible for everyone.
At Sport-Thieme, the four days of workshops for the maturity check have led to many valuable insights, with which marketing and IT can set the course for the future with a much clearer view.
”For us, a very significant benefit was that we learned a lot about what is possible today with modern off-the-shelf solutions - this has significantly broadened our view of the future. In addition, the consultant shared his knowledge with us. We were completely convinced by the approach - great experience.Peter LudwigHead of Marketing