… gets Ads Across


(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 3 2015)

For international mail order companies, transparent and efficient data handling is the key to commercial success. As subsidiary of Otto Group, mail order specialist 3Pagen together with Online Media Net by apollon, combines data supply and asset optimisation for both the web shop as well as for all advertising media productions.

The objective for the 3Pagen project was clearly defined: the enormous amount of data  the company has to process - both for the catalogue production for five countries as well as for the maintenance of the web shops in four countries, including related language versions - was to be controlled in a transparent and holistic manner as well as managed cost efficiently.

3Pagen’s decision to go with Apollon’s IT service provider Online Media Net, based in the German city of Pforzheim, was taken because of the far-reaching possibilities the application offers as it not only promises optimal data management and use, but also supports the entire content creation process. As a result, a single, central data base is available, enabling flexible and precise control as well as tailored publication via all integrated channels.

“By using the omni-channel marketing system Online Media Net, we have seen a substantial increase in our process efficiency. We also benefit from higher process safety. It is particularly positive for us to now have a system that combines almost all of our steps in only one application, allowing us to optimally control our productions,” explains Dr. Mark Mette, Head of 3Pagen.

The tasks Online Media Net relieved the resident of Alsdorf near Aachen of, range from the production of all print catalogues for the respective countries (Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France) to the automatic filling of five different web shops with accurate and fitting content for the dispatch of decorative, household and healthcare products.

An important requirement, that was solved successfully, was the ambience images for web shops: in addition to standardised images, which are common in most popular web shops, 3Pagen requires an additional option for generating and exporting these images in square format or as clippings. With Online Media Net, this process now is extremely efficient and requires little storage. The solution is the use of ‘Single Source Imaging’ and ‘Just-in-time’ calculation, both do not require two or more image variants to be retained automatically for all files.

The integrated photography workflow implementation not only lets the company control and track new orders more easily and transparently, but also simplifies the implementation and editing of existing images. A separate workflow, specifically developed for e-commerce images, communicates retouching, clipping and other instructions with corrections to the local media service provider Meyle+Müller,  responsible for professional image editing.

Master data such as part numbers and current pricing are imported via an interface from 3Pagen’s Enterprise Resource Planning system directly into Online Media Net. The PIM module serves the classification and processing of all necessary and defining product information. These are enriched by cross-channel and channel-specific information to ensure content is delivered with respect to the media it is destined for, - web shops for example specifically, specifically require SEO-friendly text. To link specific media assets with product copy, either automated processes or manual selection via drag & drop may be used.

Based on the selected reference types (i.e. major and minor illustration, image gallery etc.) automatic allocation of relevant assets takes place during the creation of a new channel-specific export. The data export in the shop systems can be fully automated and scheduled once certain maturity levels and corresponding approvals have been reached.

The control of print production processes at 3Pagen follows from supporting individually developed workflows. These allow to assigning all users of Online Media Net or even individual user groups, tasks (or part of tasks) according to the rights and role principle, including the necessary control and approval processes, thus enabling a clearly structured and comprehensible user management.

For 3Pagen a structured management of production processes of its own publications is essential. With the OMN module Project Management (PM), the production’s progress can granularly be displayed transparently down to the individual asset level and can be monitored in real-time. Through integrated escalation management set dates will be ensured.

By using the Workflow Management (WFM) module, the company can model their processes and automate most of them. A distinction is made between so-called ‘Robot Activities’ and ‘Human Activities.’ The latter describe, for example, activities that require human approvals (eg. release of translations or automatically structured layouts). Only if the necessary approvals for the respective actions have been received, the next process steps are activated. The ‘Robot Activities’ on the other hand happen without human interaction. These include systemic feedback from Online Media Net itself (such as automated image conversions) or of connected third-party systems, such as InDesign Server among others.

After linking product and media data, export happens in InDesign directly on the graphic designers’ computers. The layout is then automatically filled with the desired content according to predefined templates from the OMN.

For additional efficiency in the creation of the layout, a fully automated, so-called ‘layout automaton’ is utilised. This allows for fully automated layout generation for both new pages as well as the integration of existing pages, but also enables specific updates such as short-term price adjustments or change of language. With Softproof technology, final colour approvals take place not only paperlessly and without media breaks, but also completely independantly of time and place. After finalising the production data for print articles, Online Media Net eventually automates data logistics to printers independently - in compliance with the respective predetermined colour profiles.

Norbert Weckerle, CEO of apollo, sums up: “We are delighted that we were able to make our contribution to a future-safe alignment of 3Pagen with this implementation. Streamlined and efficient processes are paving the way to economic productions.”

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The apollon GmbH+Co. KG offers integrated and comprehensive solutions for multiple requirements in the areas of product data management, cross media publishing, omni-channel commerce and online marketing.

apollon GmbH+Co.KG


3PAGEN Versand und Handelsgesellschaft mbH

Picture credits © Franklin

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