Why the topic of digitalisation is becoming increasingly important for Baumit when it comes to dream homes
BY NADINE PELZER
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 2 2018)
Housebuilding today is the sum of many things. Interesting design, sustainable construction and a healthy room climate have all grown tremendously in importance. And building itself is also becoming more digital. The long-established company Baumit is a beacon of construction excellence and stands for modern, high-quality products. Sebastian Rettke, Head of Marketing at Baumit, talks to us about how the building materials manufacturer is tackling digitalisation.
From a small lime kiln to a global player in dry mortars and paste products. Please tell us a little about the milestones in the history of Baumit.
Our company has been in Germany since 1902 – so for almost 120 years now. However, our origins lie in construction lime burning. In 1997, our current parent company Schmid Industrie Holding established Baumit Germany, gradually integrating all business units under the Baumit brand. Since 1990, we have opened various regional companies in Central and Eastern Europe, enabling us to be represented in a total of 27 countries throughout Europe and China today. Baumit manufactures building products for interiors and exteriors, for shell construction and for gardens and landscaping. Here, innovation has always played a role – very much in line with our ‘future-proof ideas’ mantra. For this reason, important milestones include our products used in the conservation and restoration of historical buildings – we have the largest formulation database with in excess of 900 formulations, the development of our thermal-insulating composite systems, such as the super-insulating façade, and recently our holistic healthy interior offering.
Enabling all people to live more healthily, more energy-efficient and more beautifully is your vision. How do you achieve this?
Here, our products play a major role, of course. Nevertheless, we have to say that healthier, energy-efficient and beautiful homes involve a whole range of factors. We have to bring all parties involved together: the planners, the specialised craftspeople, the specialist retailers and, of course, the building owners. Our great strength lies in creating networks. And our products are the driving force. However, all stakeholders have to be involved in order to achieve a healthier, more energy-efficient and beautiful home.
Baumit is now growing its business in 27 countries. What challenges does internationalisation bring with it?
It is important to establish all regional companies in a group-compliant manner. This is frequently not that simple due to country-specific building legislation. And the market penetration among the regional companies and the level of development of the respective markets are often disparate. Here, it is important to develop and integrate tools that enable us to exploit the strengths of all countries and to simultaneously standardise processes. And speed also plays a role. Today, it is no longer the big that eat the small, but the fast that eat the slow. For this reason, we have to be agile and closely coordinated to identify market developments early on. This is the only way to set the course in good time.
What role does digitalisation play for Baumit? Which partners are you collaborating with on this?
The building materials sector is in the process of transforming digitally, particularly in the areas of e-commerce and e-procurement, but also with regards to marketing automation. For this reason, we monitor our market environment very carefully and develop solutions with which we can support our customers and specialist retailers in particular. Whether this is with clean data exports, EDI data or even customised content, we try to cater to our customers’ requirements as closely as possible. Viamedici is an important partner for us, because the company provides holistic support for the group with all its regional companies.
The Viamedici EPIM system was launched back in 2009 and has meanwhile been rolled out across the group. What are the greatest benefits for you?
As a user, the most important benefit is the dedicated, extremely competent employees who know the system inside-out. To this end, we are able to turn to dedicated contact partners for all issues, contact partners who have been looking after us for years. The processing speeds are important to me – not easy given our group structure – as is the project execution quality, of course. And it is in these areas that Viamedici has always performed excellently to date.
As the largest of the regional companies, Baumit Germany has more extensive requirements for its EPIM system than the other – frequently very small – regional operations. What does this mean concretely?
Considerably more people work with our German EPIM client than at our small regional companies. The consequence of this is that we have had to create processes that come with reciprocal information requirements, monitoring, escalation levels and much more besides. At the same time, we conduct projects in agreement with our head office, such as generating documents from master data, for example. Following the successful implementation in Germany, these projects will then often be rolled out in other countries as well.
In 2017, the Baumit Germany marketing division launched the ‘Golden Product Record’ project. What is this about?
Our objective is to raise the level of our internal communication with regards to product data. With a total of 520 employees, we are too large to allow communication between PM, QA, sales and marketing to be ad-hoc. With the Golden Product Record, we have created a standardised communication tool that distributes information based on rules – and only the required information and only for those members of staff to whom it is relevant. We can now, for example, see whether product data has changed in the product management system on the basis of a marketing report, and allow these changes to flow into our materials and channels. This alleviates redundant data and communication loops between the various departments.
What other measures are you planning to implement within the context of digitalisation?
In future, we will continue to augment our data with ever-more content. This is somewhat trivial with regard to EPIM – although this involves a great deal of work and expense for the company, for creating video content or series of application images, for instance. Furthermore, the individual exports will increasingly have to be customised in future.
Sebastian Rettke is an international business administration graduate and has been Head of Marketing at Baumit since 2016. He was responsible for introducing EPIM to the German regional company and has been involved in its further development ever since. Earlier stations in his career include stints in the marketing and sales divisions of industrial automation and logistics software companies.
Viamedici solutions cover all product management and product marketing processes. The core of the portfolio is the Viamedici EPIM product information management suite, which also includes product master data management, media asset management, total quality management, data governance and cross-media publishing.
Viamedici Software GmbH
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