nerve-wracking challenges with next level automated, individualized
"Arkema will be able to save approximately 2.5 million euros by freeing 8,000+ days of our employee time. It is also 8,000+ days that will be dedicated to customers instead."
Product Experience Manager
No more time-consuming, nerve-wracking challenges and headaches of manually searching and gathering data from countless resources, instead simplicity has been weaved into the daily business at Arkema, thanks to the implementation of Akeneo PIM and InBetween digital publishing. With the automation of technical documents, Arkema is now able to adapt and contextualize its product information at a global level without compromising on exponential employee time and infinite time to market. Omni-channel bandwidth becomes even more powerful therefore the teams feel more confident in building better customer and product experience.
The Akeneo PIM system empowers Arkema to blindly trust the accuracy and high quality of their product information and increases PX through all channels. Thanks to InBetween, multi-lingual TDS can be granted in just a few clicks, attracting even more business units. One proof of truth is very clear as Arkema, Akeneo and InBetween recently received the PXM Award recognition at Unlock, Paris on 8th March 2023. This award is a true statement of the outstanding dedication and success when magic and simplicity thanks to PIM and digital publishing are weaved into projects, showcasing their integral role in this achievement.
Continuous datasheet changes and multi-user, multi-layouts and multilingual challenges are common in every business environment. Strict deadlines, data privacy which differ from country to country and the need to get things implemented at the speed of lightning, are the headaches which most companies face daily.
Thanks to Liza Marasinghe, Product Experience Manager at Arkema with her expertise and drive to replace overwhelm with simplicity, this is now a thing of the past by onboarding PIM integration and digital publishing automation at Arkema. Liza joined Arkema in 2017 as a technical service and development manager for advanced materials and adhesives market after a PhD in material science. Today, she is part of the digital transformation department as the Product Experience Manager. Her challenge to onboard all Business Units of Arkema to the PIM Akeneo and develop the main 4 channels: product page, product comparator, technical data sheet (TDS) automation and product syndication. A challenge which has now turned into a magical co-creation thanks to fully automated, individualized, and dynamic generation of technical data sheets based on Akeneo PIM & InBetween digital publishing solution.
Liza’s understanding of the needs of the different user profiles from Research & Development to Marketing of a Business Unit and the recognition to deliver a tailored PIM solution compliant with the vision of Arkema and the necessity of the Business Units. Arkema has built a unique set of expertise in materials, putting together capabilities in terms of bonding, substituting traditional materials by lightweight or bio-based alternatives, or coatings.
In 2020, Arkema entered a new phase with a strong ambition to become a pure player in Specialty Materials in 2024, offering the most innovative and sustainable solutions to address its customers’ current and future challenges. Arkema therefore decided to redesign all websites and cornerstones of the digital B2B customer experience and B2C with Bostik subsidiary. The challenge is to develop customer acquisition and loyalty via a user-centric approach to attract visitors, introduce all the Group’s products and brands, and generate qualified leads to the sales teams.
Before leveraging Akeneo, it was already a challenge to provide the users with any product information. Team players, whether researchers, digital marketing managers, and product managers had to manually gather product information from various places and documentation formats such as Excel, Sharepoint, pdfs, to build the desired material and feed it into the desired channel. An additional challenge was that Arkema manages various business units under itself. Although these business units are part of Arkema, they require a different type of product communication due to their different target groups and markets.
This manual approach was very time-consuming, nerve-wracking, contained misleading information, and most definitely inefficient. If Arkema was to continue with this approach, their strategic goal for 2024 remined far away. Arkema needed to minimize the manual provision of product information to a maximum. Not only to gain efficiency in the process, but also to free up resources for the core tasks enhancing the PX.
It became very clear that Arkema needed a PIM system as a cornerstone for centralizing product information as a strategic keystone. After some discussions with various vendors, Arkema decided on the best system: Akeneo PIM. The company, the people, the system & company mascot Ziggy, it seamless fit the ideology which Arkema was ready to embrace.
PIM can be an overwhelming concept to tackle but the Akeneo solution is not only intuitive and therefore handy to use, but also meets highly complex and sometimes very individual requirements. Akeneo PIM was easily connected to Arkema’s internal ERP system data and CMS so that they could build their online product comparator for each business unit. With around 3000 visits per month, this allows a great and seamless customer and product experience.
The team loves the interface with Ziggy, it is accessible and intuitive especially now that Arkema has the SSO. Bulk actions and sequential edit are features appreciated specially when Arkema modify or create a technical attribute.
Ultimately, PIM is becoming an essential and central component in Arkema’s organization enabling global cross-collaboration and the diffusion of data in different streams. The PIM is continuously evolving with the addition of business units and Arkema are continually discovering new features responding to their needs. A single source of product data truth is a revolution in Arkema composed of 20 000 employees who are focused on product innovation. Arkema’s researchers are very strict on product information quality and accuracy across all our channels reaching our end-client.
Akeneo has not only provided a foundation for the massive product information but has empowered Arkema to increase PX throughout all channels. For example, in the provision of technical data sheets for the different Business Units, with their Partner InBetween: The interaction of Akeneo and InBetween enables Arkemas business units and thus their customers to provide up-to-date product information in form of data sheets at any time, user-centric, individualized, dynamic and fully automated way. This Experience with upfront data turns browsers into buyers so Arkema sells their products faster, better and anywhere.
After InBetween proved its functionality as the optimal solution for Arkema’s requirements after a successful PoC was conducted, the concept phase & development was carried out across the board. InBetween went straight into the implementation and connected their InBetween Auto Generator Cloud to Arkemas Akeneo PIM.
Arkema created mock-ups for the layout of their datasheets. InBetween developed a dynamic master template in the InBetween Project Editor according to the needs (for example automated handling of complex tables) and cooperate vision of Arkema with diverse layout functions for the different Business Units.
After creating a master curated template and establishing a live data connection using the standard interface to the Akeneo PIM, InBetween can automatically and time-controlled transfer the product information to the assigned layout based on the data in the Akeneo PIM. The product data sheet is then transferred via the live connection between InBetween and Akeneo to the Akeneo PIM in the respective product area for further distribution via the respective channels as an “attribute”.
Akeneo PIM was deployed in 2020 with two business units. Today, Arkema has approximately 3000 products in the PIM and more are to come representing 4% of Arkema portfolio with 4 business units. The TDS automation represents 2% of Arkema’s portfolio and it is a key document for their chemical clients. This is to be downloadable on the business unit’s website (product pages & product comparator/finder) but also on the customer portal and distributors.
Arkema estimated that by automating the creation of a single TDS, they were able to save 6 hours on employee time, dividing by 3 for the costs and furthermore the time to market was twice as fast as information was also diffused on the online product page and comparator. Previously it took one hour to manually implement this for all other products, now it is simply a matter of minutes, 3 to be precise. By streamlining the internal processes with this TDS channel automation, Arkema has enhanced the first-time delivery by using their master curated template, making it seamless for the concerned business unit to comply. Additionally, the transition to new Arkema branding was much smoother and successful with minimum resistance from the business units.
By combining digital and highly targeted print communication on the whole portfolio, Arkema will be able to save approximately 2.5 million euros by freeing 8 557 days of employee time, which opens space for 8 577 days that will be dedicated to customers instead. For each business unit, Arkema is also halving the time to market. It is a real win as Arkema’s business units in any case had to change their layout due to the branding change embracing a sustainable vision. Today, the business units request multi-lingual TDS for a global impact on key regions because they know that with InBetween, the wish can be granted in just a few clicks. With this new automated TDS channel, Arkema is faster and attracts more business units.
Thanks to the automation of their technical document, Arkema is now able to adapt and contextualize its product information at a global level without compromising on exponential employee time and infinite time to market. Omnichannel bandwidth becomes even more powerful, therefore the teams feel more confident in building better customer and product experiences.
Arkema’s motivation was to have a stable, security-compliant, and functioning system landscape in which the individual systems are specialized as best-of-breed providers in their area of application, in regards to their requirements, but equally run together smoothly and seamlessly.
This teamwork makes the dream work. One proof of truth is very clear as Arkema, Akeneo and InBetween recently received the PXM Award recognition at Unlock, Paris on 8th March 2023. This award is a true statement of the outstanding dedication and success when magic and simplicity thanks to PIM and digital publishing are weaved into projects, showcasing their integral role in this achievement.
Project key players:
Arkema has become a recognized world player in the field of specialty chemicals, thanks to innovation,targeted acquisitions and investments in emerging countries. Sustained by the collective energy of its 20,200 employees, Arkema operates in some 55 countries and reports sales of €9.5 billion, since its creation in October 2004. Arkema’s expertise in materials, in terms of bonding, substituting traditional materials by lightweight or bio-based alternatives or coatings, offers the most innovative and sustainable solutions to address its customers’ current and future challenges