MAHLE Aftermarket has 1,798 employees located at 30 facilities around the world with further sales offices. In 2020 the company achieved 898 million EUR in sales. The seven brands MAHLE, BEHR, BRAIN BEE, CLEVITE, IZUMI, KNECHT FILTER and METAL LEVE stand for innovation and uncompromising quality.
The group’s product portfolio addresses all crucial issues relating to powertrain, filtration and thermal management — both for drives with combustion engines and for e-mobility.
The great variety of products offered by the MAHLE brands leads to a strong market coverage for MAHLE Aftermarket. Furthermore, MAHLE is continuously maintaining and expanding its portfolio based on new requirements and customer needs.
Together with MAHLE Aftermarket, TecAlliance has designed and built the new global e-catalogue based on TecDoc as a uniform platform for all MAHLE brands and customers worldwide!
We speak with Christian Schanz (Head of Global Data Management and Category Management) and Lukas Huber (Specialist Data Management) about e-commerce and data management challenges, the newly launched e-catalogue, and future ambitions.
”The rising shift of customers to online channels has opened up great opportunities. Our customers operate with the MAHLE Aftermarket e-catalogue worldwide 24/7, accessing the company’s global portfolio of parts. It enables them to identify the ideal MAHLE solution accurately and quickly.”
Christian Schanz, Head of Global Data Management & Category Management
What is the importance of the new global e-Catalogue for Mahle Aftermarket? Is e-commerce the new wave for the industry?
Christian Schanz: The rising shift of customers to online channels has opened up great opportunities. More and more customers are moving towards e-commerce for aftermarket auto parts. The industry is being transformed, and we see it every day.
Our customers operate with the MAHLE Aftermarket e-catalogue worldwide 24/7, accessing the company’s global portfolio of parts. It enables them to identify the ideal MAHLE solution accurately and quickly.
The e-catalogue is now essential in building relationships with our customers and prospects. We believe that a professionally prepared, user-friendly e-catalogue has the power to inspire loyalty and repeat business. Therefore, we strive to provide our customers with the same great, information-rich experience of our product range online that they receive in other distribution channels.
You use the e-Catalogue in different regions and markets. Are there any particular challenges? What are your goals?
Christian Schanz: Of course, there are some challenges. Working with different regions (Europe, North & South America and Asia), languages, and different data standards is not easy. Nevertheless, we aim to streamline the global product data across all our brands and consolidate it in a single platform.
The main goals are to provide consistent communication to our customers as well as improved cooperation between the MAHLE entities. Only by aligning and optimising global product data across all our brands on a single platform, this can be fulfilled. The catalogue solution offers a great chance to establish a unified digital presence of the portfolio with a strong focus on high data quality and best-in-class customer experience.
What is the advantage of using a TecDoc white-label solution compared to developing your own?
Christian Schanz: In the past, we developed and maintained our own catalogue solution. On the one hand, this allowed us a high degree of customisation. Still, on the other hand, we recognised the need for a standardised high-performance solution with a great user experience.
Thanks to our successful, long-standing collaboration with TecAlliance we approached their TecDoc catalogue solution team to build a cutting-edge, fully individualised alternative to the legacy e-catalogue that we were using. The combination of the web version and the mobile app for online parts search was a compelling offer that we embraced.
The TecDoc team has taken the lead. As a result, the new MAHLE Aftermarket e-catalogue, built on a TecDoc white-label solution, went live after just six weeks!
The switch to TecAlliance opens new possibilities to rely on an established market standard and concentrate more effectively on the products, the main core of activities, instead of the associated tool maintenance.
”The transition process from our old system to the TecDoc white-label solution went quite fast and with no disruptions. The development of our new e-catalogue started in June 2021, and it went live in mid-July 2021.“
Lukas Huber, Specialist Data Management
Were there any technical challenges? How did you experience the cooperation with TecAlliance during the course of the project?
Lukas Huber: The transition process from our old system to the TecDoc white-label solution went quite fast and with no disruptions. The development of our new e-catalogue started in June 2021, and it went live in mid-July 2021.
To achieve this implementation, numerous technical solutions were necessary right from the start. A particularly challenging task was the technical (data) consolidation so that the various components could work together. In addition, other back-end systems have been addressed: the new catalogue was linked to our MAHLE SSO (Single Sign-on) so that there’s no need to maintain an additional user database for the TecAlliance system.
It speaks volumes that the new e-catalogue was implemented on time. We are pleased with how this project was coordinated and handled by the TecDoc team!
What are the functionalities of the new Mahle Aftermarket e-Catalogue?
Lukas Huber: The e-catalogue presents itself as a progressive and personalised solution and therefore provides many benefits:
- User Experience: It is state-of-the-art and easy to use with its web/app front-end.
- Performance: It has a significantly improved performance to search for parts online.
- Product data: It contains comprehensive, unified product data (descriptions) in the TecDoc standard.
- Updates: Regular data updates are easy to manage, as this can be integrated into the existing monthly data deliveries.
- CI conformity: It is fully individualised to our MAHLE brand guidelines and our needs.
- Global focus: It is available in 40+ languages.
In addition, there are new features available in our e-catalogue, like the identification of vehicles by license plate search in some countries (e.g. France).
The new solution is future proof. We benefit from the TecDoc agile software development process: the solution is constantly being improved, and new features are added every two to three weeks. In this way, the system can respond quickly and flexibly to any future needs.
What is the strategic importance of the e-Catalogue project? What are your plans for the future?
Christian Schanz: By collaborating with TecDoc solutions on the new global e-catalogue, we have achieved:
- a unified digital presence for our aftermarket portfolio.
- the global management of our products is made easier and faster by working with high-quality data
- a uniform view (internally and externally) of our product data for more efficient data management
Although we have accomplished most of our important goals, we will not stand still.
In response to high-tech advances in e-commerce, we are considering implementing several intelligent features and solutions, such as the further integration of e-catalogue and e-shop, based on TecDoc solutions, for higher efficiency of the order processes for our customers. We are connected as a supplier to the TecCom platform, and it is an option for MAHLE to intensify its international use.
More about MAHLE Aftermarket at www.mahle-aftermarket.com