ONLINE SPARE PARTS SERVICE

REFERENCE CASE STUDY ROTO FRANK AG

The main aim of the collaboration between Roto Frank AG and 711media was development of the new Roto online spare parts service. This service would enable users to find and order spare parts for the window and door hardware online in just few minutes. Additionally, the needed service would provide considerable relief for the hotline and improved customer experience. 

In comparison to the past, when Roto’s customers needed to submit orders of the spare parts through the telephone calls, the new service would ensure the following:

  • Taking off the workload from the hotline
  • Possibility to find and order over 10.000 parts online 24/7
  • Immediate ordering
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Integration with SAP

Roto Frank AG is the world market leader in hardware systems and elements for the construction industry. Their headquarters are based in Leinfelden-Echterdingen near Stuttgart. Around 4,500 Roto’s employees work at the 17 production plants and over 40 sales offices. In 2017, the Roto Group generated consolidated sales of 637 million euros. 711media has been collaborating with Roto as Digital Lead Agency since 2018. 711media team is supporting and maintaining current Roto’s websites, applications, and intranet systems. Moreover, Roto and 711media are presently working on the major redesign and relaunch of the central corporate website Roto FTT. The launch of the website is planned for the first quarter of 2020.

www.roto-frank.com

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The success of the project is evident: all the predefined requirements were met up to the slightest detail, and Roto’s customers presently can almost instantly find and order necessary spare parts online. Additionally, Roto’s customers can create a customer account, fill in their data, save their orders, and re-order once identified parts. Further highlights of the application are the following:

  • Flexibility, Modular query process
  • Possibility of different component queries 
  • Connection to SAP interface
  • Powerful search
  • Multilanguage support for ordering

Before the launch of the mutual project of Roto and 711media, window manufacturers and Roto’s private customers could order spare parts only through the telephone hotline. The customers described the spare parts they needed, and Roto’s employees accurately identified them. This job reasonably required Robo’s employees to be proven experts in the spare parts and have many years of experience. For this position, they have to undergo a time-consuming training, and, in other words, to use a lot of company time and resources. These employees became extremely valuable, and one of the strategic objectives was to repurpose them to fulfill more meaningful tasks. Also, the employees had to check through the extensive documentation to unambiguously identify the necessary parts.

Roto Frank AG has been selling all possible types of spare parts to the companies for many years, and they want to continue to be ahead of the competition. Still, despite many acquisitions, the task of ordering the parts did not become easier. Another challenge of the ordering procedure was that only few components had unique part numbers.

Roto Frank AG decided to partner with 711media in order to considerably simplify this expensive and time-consuming process and become able to offer a service of online ordering of the spare parts. They decided to develop an application that would enable customers to quickly find the necessary parts online, directly order them, and get 24/7 availability of the service, for example, when the hotline service is unavailable.

Before all else, the teams initiated several intensive workshops to evaluate the actual status of the project and carry out requirements analysis. The fact, that only a few parts have identification numbers, quickly proved that a simple search wouldn’t offer a proper solution. As follows, the partnering companies decided to develop a digital adaptation of the telephonic retrieval method.

Their profound investigation ended in the dual spare parts finder. On one hand, the system leveraged a full-text search that could quickly find the necessary parts according to their identification numbers. And, on the other hand, came into play a cascaded, modular variable query logic, which enables online identification of almost all types of possible parts.

To start with, the 711media team drafted a brief outline of the solution, which would make the process of parts finding easy, logical and efficient for customers. The challenge was to develop very clear queries, so the customers could take as many steps online as possible. Also, the system should be capable to process and send to Roto incomplete queries, as they would also come in handy for considerable shortening of the telephone conversations. The team put maximum emphasis on the creation of a clear and intuitive user interface, which would be equally effective on PC and a smartphone (for example, customers could use it on the construction site, or anywhere out of their office).

At the early stage of the project, 711media experts started with building the interactive clickable dummy to thoroughly test the concept before the development, validate their ideas, and obtain a finished concept. Both teams of 711 media and Roto Frank AG were involved in this process and carried out extensive user tests to mitigate all possible risks.

The application was developed individually with PHP on Typo3 basis. It features a clear configuration in the backend, which enables the easy creation of all query processes and sequences. The main challenge was to ensure, that the Roto users and customers do not feel the enormous complexity of the application. As a result, the parts search process was properly implemented, as well as complemented with the product details pages and an interface for the internal SAP Ordering process. This serves as a guarantee of the superior efficiency, great convenience of usage, and lightweight app navigation.

During several months before the actual launch, the application has been tested on all possible devices and browsers based on testing plans. What is more, the system was specially designed to complete internationalization, which is planned for 2020.

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