WORKSPACE PROJECT BEING IMPLEMENTED
The digital transformation demands that measures progress quickly, new measures are added and that we never stop learning. On this page, we show a selection of measures. We aim to update this page regularly.
New member of the Management Board
Since February 2018, Heiko Hegwein is a member of the Management Board of TAKKT AG and assumes responsibility for the newport group as well as the digital agenda of the TAKKT Group. The appointment will be initially for three years. Hegwein (born 1974) started his professional career in 1999 in M&A consulting first at Ernst & Young and later as Vice President M&A at Bankhaus Metzler. From 2007 to 2017, he held different positions at the Schwarz Gruppe, where he was mainly responsible for the development of international e-commerce and the digital transformation of the Lidl Group.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEW BUSINESS MODELS WITH NEWPORT GROUP
A new division has been formed as of January 1st, 2018: the newport group is now part of the TAKKT EUROPE segment. The new division bundles the existing solely web-based businesses Certeo and BiGDUG of the KAISER+KRAFT group, OfficeFurnitureOnline, acquired in early 2018, as well as Mydisplays, acquired in mid-2017, under a single roof. This reorganization will provide an environment for the younger, fast-growing web-focused business models in which they can more powerfully and independently position their branding, their product assortments and their technology infrastructure in the market. This will enable them to more easily focus on the requirements of smaller business customers, which have different needs than those of medium-sized and large corporate customers and which tend to be rather transaction-oriented in their purchasing. In addition, the TAKKT investment company (TAKKT Beteiligungsgesellschaft) with its investments in innovative start-ups will be brought into the newport group. The new division will continue to grow in the future both organically as well as through acquisitions.
Implementation of the Workspace project at the Stuttgart location is moving forward: The new spatial concept is now being realized in the company’s headquarters. The first of six construction phases has been completed in mid-December. Most employees will move twice: once to an interim working space during the renovations and then back to their final workspace. This procedure will be followed for all phases of construction. The goal of Workspace is to create a modernized working space that supports agility and cross-departmental collaboration. Implementation of a modular glass system is supposed to increase transparency and light transmission of the building. In the course of the digitalization process, the clear focus lies on a modern, technical infrastructure for all staff. The objective is to provide an ideal environment. New spaces will have think tanks and modern project rooms in order to support collaboration. The concept also involves areas with quite rooms for silent work.
NEW PIM SYSTEM AT RATIOFORM
The introduction of the new product information management (PIM) system, one of the biggest projects at ratioform in recent years, has now been completed. In spring of 2016, all of the product data was imported from the old system, and a new data model with significantly fewer descriptive characteristics was developed. This makes it much easier to provide product data for other platforms, such as the adnymics package inserts or Google Shopping. Cleaning out old data proved to be a particularly large challenge. It was mastered in April 2017 by the product management, product communications and e-commerce departments together in numerous SCRUM sprints*. The ratioform web shop has now been completely linked to the new system and will be synced with the latest data regularly. A structured database for photos and videos was also created as part of this project. The database will make it easier for ratioform to find this data quickly and use it in all media. An interface with the ERP platform AX, the leading pricing system, will make it possible to produce print media with the current prices and campaigns. Automatic creation of print media from the PIM system was tested at the same time as the recently completed production of the new bestseller catalog “Genau Meins!” (freely translated: “Exactly what I want!”).
THE HUB – WORKING ENVIRONMENTS AT HUBERT
In order to push digital transformation, Hubert has created a new working area. In the so-called HUB, employees are getting the opportunity to work together on projects and to let their creativity and inspiration run wild. Colourful furniture and various seating accommodations not only invite to work, but also to relax. The HUB is placing the focus on transparency. Each employee or visitor can see the HUB by looking through two glass fronts: which project is being presented right now? Who is sitting in the meeting? Everything is visible to anyone, questions and discussions are encouraged. The HUB also serves as information center; current market and customer data are visualized by means of BI via six screens. What sort of feedback do customers leave? Which Hubert products did they buy? How many calls did we receive? There are answers to all these questions at the HUB.
Future@TAKKT Award 2017 – Customer Centricity & Design Thinking
Interdisciplinary teams from all over the six TAKKT divisions have met the challenge of the Future@TAKKT Award. The task was to solve customers’ main pain points via Design Thinking. This innovation methods points out the needs and wishes of users and focuses on a customer driven solution. This requires a new way of thinking. Things have to be seen from the customer's point of view. The key word here is customer integration. Understanding the customers’ pain points, developing and verifying joint ideas, elaborating a first simple prototype and finally again stepping into dialogue with the customer – this is what we call Design Thinking. After a two-day training session, the teams started developing ideas to resolve the individual pain points of the clients. Out of this, six exciting prototypes have merged. This year’s winning award went to Davpack for their innovative web shop feature called ‘Remind me’. This tool sends a reminder email enabling customers to reorder packaging material when it runs short. The new feature works with an automated workflow.
This video shows the results and how we got there.
VOIP CLOUD TECHNOLOGY UTILIZED AT US COMPANIES
Today, our customers use a variety of communication channels. The American companies recently replaced their telephone systems with modern, cloud-based communication systems in order to offer the best possible advice and assistance across all channels. This allows employees an integrated communication with customers via different channels like voice, email or web chats. The history and current information about a customer are readily available – regardless of the utilized channel – thanks to the integration with the CRM systems. This creates the basis to seamlessly integrate further innovations like video, co-browsing and screen sharing (i.e. customer sees employee’s PC screen or vice versa) or intelligent chat bots. The new technology is also highly appreciated by the staff, as this leads to an increased flexibility. Employees no longer need access to a fixed workstation, but are able to work from everywhere with internet access, also from home when necessary. This solution also made it easier to move to a new building at Displays2go.
ELECTRONIC INVOICING AT RATIOFORM
ratioform significantly improved its invoicing process by the introduction of electronic billing. Starting August 2017, all web shop customers will automatically receive an online invoice. Positive side effect: By dispatch of electronic documents, the environmental impact will decline markedly in future. Moreover, postage costs will probably be cut by more than half as a result of the change. So far, invoices were dispatched in paper form involving a considerable amount of extra time.
TAKKT PRESENTED WITH DIGITAL CHAMPIONS AWARD
TAKKT AG was awarded first place at the Digital Champions Award in the "Digital Processes and Organization" category. The award was created by the German magazine WirtschaftsWoche and Deutsche Telekom in 2016 and identifies medium-sized companies that are on the right track in the digital transformation. TAKKT impressed the jury with its comprehensive approach to digital transformation. Eleven companies in four categories made it to the final round with their digital solutions and strategies. The jury consisted of high-profile representatives from business, science and the media and was impressed by the comprehensive approach TAKKT and its companies are pursuing for their digital transformation. At the ceremony, which took place in Berlin at the end of June, TAKKT CEO Felix Zimmermann was pleased about the award: “This represents both recognition and obligation at the same time.” Zimmermann emphasized that the development of new technologies and innovative solutions must be accompanied by a cultural change, which can only be achieved if it is supported by all employees.
For further information on the award, see http://digitalchampionsaward.wiwo.de/.
SUCCESSFUL FIRST YEAR FOR TAKKT INVESTMENT COMPANY
TAKKT investment company (TBG) has been active since mid-2016 and was able to already close on its fourth investment in innovative start-ups in May. The latest addition to the portfolio is called Authentic Vision. The company was founded in 2012 and developed an anti-fraud fingerprint for products. The holographic fingerprint is applied to the product via a label and can be read by consumers with the help of a smartphone. In the first half of 2016, TBG subscribed to a convertible bond issued by crowdfox, an innovative marketplace which is offering millions of products to consumers, and via Crowdfox Business also to companies. Crowdfox‘ sophisticated, data-dynamic system assists the vendors in calculating their prices, so that Crowdfox can always offer advantageous prices to its customers. In 2016 TAKKT already took non-controlling interests in printmate and Adnymics. Printmate specializes in the digital printing of professional mail packaging individually designed for the client. Adnymics offers an innovative system to print intelligent personalized brochures predominantly for e-commerce companies that they put in their packages.
AUGMENTED REALITY MAKES CAD SPATIAL PLANNING MORE TANGIBLE
At the LogiMAT trade fair, KAISER+KRAFT made CAD spatial planning more tangible and realistic through the use of virtual reality technology. With the presented showcase, customers had the opportunity to move through virtual rooms using virtual reality glasses. This gave customers the chance to see an authentic 3D-animated simulation of the spatial planning of offices and warehouses that the expert consultants and planners had created for them before placing an order. This brings a whole new level of quality to planning and consulting. The project impressively demonstrated how internal employees can very quickly implement pioneering application scenarios using modern technology. The feedback from customers was very positive and informative. Building on this, the possible applications of augmented reality will be analyzed over the coming months. In contrast to virtual reality, where the viewer steps into an entirely computer-generated world, in augmented reality the real world is filled with virtual objects, for example, an empty room can be virtually fitted out with furniture. Augmented reality enables better interaction between customers and consultants when it comes to planning different spaces. The prototypes can be used to establish which application scenarios gain the highest acceptance with the customer and create the greatest added value.
NEW WORKPLACE DESIGN AT NBF
In 2016, National Business Furniture (NBF) has moved its headquarters from Milwaukee into the former Plant Equipment Group office in West Allis, Wisconsin. The building has been fully renovated and adapted to the requirements of a modern workplace. NBF took the move as an opportunity to change the face of its corporate headquarters by incorporating modern design elements with the intention that it will encourage employee engagement, improve work-life balance and boost productivity. Before the move, employees had been scattered between two buildings and three floors of one of the buildings. Now all of the Milwaukee employees are working in the same location. Getting the showroom, call center and headquarters employees all together is a positive change.
The new NBF office has been outfitted with high end workstations in a variety of configurations to support collaboration in certain departments and provide privacy in others. NBF now has many conference rooms and casual seating areas with state-of-the-art technology for more efficient meetings and collaborative work styles. There are also plans to build a photo studio complete with a 360 degree turntable to make the products come to life on the NBF website. Plus, there are now large storage areas for all the bulky furniture that arrives almost daily for evaluations, photo shoots and quality inspections. Another big change – a beautiful new café has been added to the building to provide employees with a relaxing area to sit and chat with co-workers. Having a large and modern break area with access to the outdoors is a huge improvement over the tiny kitchen that the previous office had to offer. NBF has even added a fireplace and lounge seating to make the workplace feel more like home.
In addition to creating a positive work environment for employees, the new office also has a lot to offer NBF customers. NBF will have the largest office furniture showroom in Wisconsin, and with easy freeway access and plenty of parking, customers can easily visit the office and see the vast product range. A design center was also added for designers, sales teams and customers to collaborate on large furniture projects.
NEW SERVICE: PRÜFPLANER POWERED BY KAISER+KRAFT
What drives our customers and where can we generate further value in the future? This question has been asked by the KAISER+KRAFT team as well as Haniel’s digital unit Schacht One. A joint project was then launched last year to identify and validate digital services. In doing so, the design-thinking method was used and many interviews with middle-market customers in the field of warehousing were conducted to find out what really moves these customers. Many have to deal with legal inspections such as rack inspections and have to coordinate a large number of external service providers. In this context, the surveyed customers have the need to reduce time and effort, as well as to professionalize their inspection management. The solution is an online cockpit for the administration of statutory inspections: Prüfplaner powered by KAISER+KRAFT.
After successful validation of the idea with a first prototype, Prüfplaner was developed in close collaboration with 15 pilot customers and will be available from the end of March 2017. The first version of Prüfplaner focuses on a self-service solution and allows the customer to easily manage their inspection obilgations. In addition, the tool identifies the necessary test intervals based on legal regulations and standards on the basis of the created products in the tool. Prüfplaner is offered as a cloud solution and is thus available anytime and anywhere regardless of the device used. You can find out more at 4www.pruefplaner.de.
NEW HUBERT WEBSHOP
To create an exciting customer experience is one of the goals of Hubert´s digital agenda. With online being an important sales channel, an outstanding web experience that reflects individual customer needs is key. Hence, Hubert Company needs a strong control of the various websites. While the previously used platform was a great out-of-the-box solution, it became apparent that the heavy customization had an impact on the ability to accurately make changes in quick and timely manner.
Hubert Company implemented a new platform and launched the new hubert.com web shop on it in February 2017. Hubert used agile project management methodology and was able to launch its platform even earlier than originally planned. This agile approach consists of short iterations (called sprints), lasting three weeks each and producing prototypes and demos each time. At the end of each sprint, the team gathered to discuss how to improve further (retrospective), and a so-called SCRUM master was used to minimize distractions on the team.
Customer feedback is another key driver of the success of Hubert’s platform. Hubert plays its strengths in the service department by giving the user options for contact via chat, email and phone. Recently an additional feedback tab has been implemented through which feedback is received on a daily basis. Once received feedback is categorized, so that high-priority items can be addressed within 1-24 hours depending on severity, while suggestions for improvement are prioritized accordingly.
Visit www.hubert.com to discover the new web shop.
DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ROTATIONAL PROGRAM
The 18-month international trainee program “Digital Entrepreneurship” is off to a great start. Applicants completed a Skype chat, an online test and an initial video interview. The best European candidates were then invited to a selection workshop in Stuttgart on December 15, 2016. The final selection was driven by a recently reworked detailed competency profile that evaluates mindset, personality, leadership and other abilities.
Three trainees will soon be starting at locations such as Certeo in Stuttgart, Schacht One in Essen and Ratioform in Munich, after which they will begin stints at start-ups and in the US. For the rotational program in the US, digitally-talented up-and-comers will be selected at the beginning of 2017.
All trainees will work in at least four different companies and areas of responsibility. They will also be trained in methodologies such as design thinking, lean start-up, agile working and prototyping. In addition to the fascinating insights they’ll be gathering at TAKKT companies, they’ll also have a chance to expand their horizons even further – for example, by exploring Silicon Valley or working at a start-up.
The initiative’s goal is to “infuse talent into existing TAKKT organizations who naturally think ‘digital,’ ‘what if,’ and ‘why not,’ – with the skills to make it happen.”
INVESTMENTS IN INNOVATIVE START-UPS
We think beyond our company’s borders, particularly when it comes to looking for innovative business models, unique products and visionary business founders. This is how we obtained a noncontrolling interest in the Berlin-based start-up printmate GmbH, for instance, in August 2016. printmate specializes in the digital printing of professional mail packaging individually designed for the client, and can offer customers attractive prices for batches as low as 100 units.
This business model corresponds precisely with our strategy to individually and flexibly fulfill customers’ needs – with the aid of digitalization.
MORE EFFECTIVE ADVICE AND SALES WITH THE CUSTOMER COCKPIT
With the aid of the customer cockpit, we will be able to communicate effectively with our customers via any channel and in real time in the future. For instance, when a customer is visiting our website and needs help, is unable to find information or does not proceed to checkout despite having products in the shopping cart. We can point out alternative products, recommend accessories or pass on valuable information from the manufacturer for optimal use or assembly. Expert contact persons can then answer any of their questions through various channels and offer individual solutions in order to increase the likelihood of a purchase.
This requires us to understand our customers, which is why we develop “customer journeys” and define personas. These are detailed descriptions of customer types, according to which we identify concrete requirements. This assessment provides us with insight into which points of contact we need to use, bringing us ever closer to our goal of providing an outstanding customer experience and allowing us to recognize when and through which channel customers should be provided with information relevant to them.
We offer our customers the transparency they desire at every stage. Our customers can see the delivery date even before placing an order. Emails with a click-to-call button and direct chat feature allow for simple, direct contact if desired. In the future, guarantee information will be simple to access at any time and with any device. Upon request, we can also inform customers about upcoming maintenance requirements.
Digitalization can be applied to a lot of processes to ensure a better customer experience. When placing an order, for example, the address is automatically checked for errors so that delivery delays can be avoided later on. At Ratioform, ratioPoints are automatically credited to the customer digitally when they place an order. Digital solutions for customer contact management and multichannel planning help to improve dialogue with the customer.
INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER APPROACH
For us, data plays a key role in improving the customer experience. Amid the flood of information that our customers receive on a daily basis, we want to serve them in a targeted way, based on their requirements and needs. For instance, our data analysis makes it possible to adapt newsletter content based on the specific customer type, their preferences and their search behavior. Changing customer requirements can be identified earlier on, ensuring our customers are always presented with a selection that is optimally tailored to their needs.
We are continuing to expand our expertise in the area of data analysis, which we bundle at a virtual competence center, so that successfully tested approaches can be made available to all of our companies.
COMMUNICATE IN REAL TIME
Qualified, expert advice is an important added value that we offer our customers, and distinguishes us significantly from purely transaction-oriented competitors. New digital services offer additional options for competitive differentiation, allowing us, for instance, to create the opportunity to contact customers precisely where they need assistance. If they are online, in the future we will be able to guide them through our selection directly to the right product via co-browsing, or interactively recommend and three-dimensionally visualize solutions with them.
With the virtual showroom, our National Business Furniture brand already makes it possible to experience products virtually, building a bridge between store-based retailing and the web shop.