Problem: B-to-B safety products manufacturer Sperian Protection sought a more efficient way for its sales reps and customers to receive product images from the company.
Solution: The company implemented a digital asset management (DAM) software system.
Results: A sharp decrease in employee man hours spent on product image management. Product images and literature are instantly available to everyone in the company and its distributors. Eighty percent of all product photography is now done in-house.
To simplify the processes involved in downloading product images, Sperian Protection uses a digital asset management system (DAM).
As a result, the $1.1 billion multichannel B-to-B marketer of personal protective items — including safety eyewear, respirators and industrial gloves — doesn’t have to rely on drawers full of CDs to store the nearly 10,000 product images available globally. Rather, it uses ActiveMedia DAM software from ClearStory Systems.
DAM is a central repository for Sperian’s digital product shots and documentation, data sheets, positioning papers, and, ultimately, catalogs — all downloadable as PDFs.
Sperian’s Smithfield, R.I.-based Americas unit gained instant results. Before using the software, the company was losing roughly “half a week of man hours in productivity” burning CDs of product images — a huge inefficiency, says Brendan Opiekun, Sperian’s senior graphic designer.
Upon the software’s launch in early 2004, this figure was drastically reduced. DAM’s time-saving capabilities are its greatest strength, says Opiekun. In fact, Sperian Protection found DAM so valuable that it recently upgraded the version with a relaunch of its resource Web site in January.
“If you’re using an application that lets you quickly and appropriately search for your content, by which someone can find it faster, that’s certainly going to increase efficiency in producing new media or updating media,” says Bill Sheeran, director of product management and marketing at ClearStory. “It’ll also reduce the costs associated to reproduction.”
The upgraded searchability of product images stored in DAM helps customers navigate the Web site more efficiently, Opiekun says. Each image is coded with keywords. If distributors type in “eyewear,” for instance, they get a filtered results page with protective eyewear products to browse. Then they can download any image onto their desktops. “There’s nothing worse than having the image on the site and the distributor can’t find it,” Opiekun says.
Generally, the faster a catalog gets in the mailstream and delivered, the more successful that catalog will be. DAM does just that for Sperian Protection and its distributors, Sheeran says. Those distributors are then able to get their new products into the market before their competitors with less lead time, he adds.
While Sperian Protection typically produces one industrial safety group master catalog each year, the distributors who purchase from it create catalogs of their own.
Sperian also holds licensing contracts with Harley-Davidson and Stanley Tool. These groups also have their own catalogs, so there’s always a need for product image downloads, Opiekun says.
Recent analysis of Sperian’s DAM Web site supports his claim. Last April, the DAM site saw 12,500 product image downloads, a benchmark for the company.