The Art of Science
Pindar’s CMS installation took the complete year of 2001 and was an admittedly arduous process for all employees, says Kommeth. Much of the time was spent tagging each product with more than 600 appropriate attributes, and then figuring out how to structure them in the new system. The only product identifiers common to all departments were the SKUs.
In July 2002 — about six months after installation was complete — Ward’s launched its new Web site. While its previous site was purely informational, Ward’s new site functions as a sales tool, allowing the cataloger to take advantage of the burgeoning online sales channel.
Also as a result of its new e-commerce capabilities, Ward’s has noticed that its client base is expanding. While teachers still comprise the core customer base, random leads from search engines have brought in new groups of customers not involved in education. “Something we previously considered to be ancillary sales became a substantial part of our orders,” explains Kommeth.
Another result: Employees saved a lot of time by not having to continually update multiple databases. “It allowed us to do more work in the same or less time,” says Kommeth. In addition, the system allows designers to concentrate more on creative elements rather than product data. And Ward’s reduced the number of designers working on the catalogs from four to two full-time positions.
Kommeth notes one caveat: the significant time and financial investment Ward’s made on the CMS. But, he notes, “[Installing the system] was ideal and necessary for us in order to move on. It has definitely paid off.”