Tag manufacturing ecommerce

Tag manufacturing ecommerce

Technical Publishing 101: Part Supersession & ECOs, Oh My!

June 3, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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The life of a technical publisher at a manufacturing company presents some difficult challenges. Your job is to produce useful and engaging content for employees and customers. Content that puts the company’s products in the best light, and reflects the importance of customer support to your organization.

And when you finally go to print, or publish your latest project online, you feel a great sense of satisfaction…until you look at the final product and realize that, before even one user views the results of your hard work, there are numerous errors and inaccuracies hidden inside the text.

This is what happens to authors and editors of parts catalogs every single day. Illustrations that don’t match the as-built product. Machines that have a custom configuration of parts and assemblies, but are shipped with a “base model” parts manual. Part numbers constantly being updated, and so on.

Unhappy-Tech-PubCreating an accurate parts catalog for complex equipment is harder than most people realize. Image files, bills of materials, and other source documents arrive from multiple designers and engineers. Engineering change orders (ECOs) are issued during prototyping, testing and production, leading to superseded part numbers and modified descriptions. To add even more confusion, version control may not be universally consistent across departments and document management systems.

It’s up to the publishing staff to pull it all together and ship the documentation, as close to perfect as possible. But it’s never perfect under these conditions—nobody can keep up with all the changes, and desktop publishing platforms require a high level of effort to edit a single part number or illustration.

Often, no one outside the publications department seems to care about these difficulties.

But customers care. Machine operators and technicians care, desperate to fix the machines that their livelihoods depend upon. The dealers who want to prove themselves indispensable to their biggest accounts. And the owners of the machines certainly care, since they view downtime as a vampire-like monster siphoning away profits.

How do you bring order to this madness? Is the idea of a 100% accurate parts catalog a fantasy?

It’s not a fantasy, and it’s achievable with proven, widely available technology. Imagine being able to quickly import part illustrations, BOMs and other product data, right into your authoring tool. With automated linking and hot-pointing of drawings and part descriptions that save hours of formatting labor.

Happy-Tech-Pub

And, imagine not having to copy and reformat text within your desktop publishing system. Or revise the part number for a part shared between 20 models in 20 separate parts book documents. What if you could edit one text field in your authoring tool and know that you instantly corrected the documentation for hundreds of machines—and thousands of customers—all around the world?

If you could do that, people would start noticing. From the VP of customer service to the guy sitting behind the parts counter, they’re going to notice easier part sales and happier equipment owners. And you’ll deliver that brand new, insanely accurate parts catalog with a huge smile on your face.

This is the power of authoring and publishing with a relational database. It’s the future of technical publishing, and it’s here now. If you’d like to see how easy it is to start building world-class support documents with Documoto, check out our Quick Start Publishing package that offers fast, affordable implementation!

5 Ways Documoto Beats Retail for Online Sales

May 13, 2016 Tags: , , , ,
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Digabit’s customers make heavy equipment and complex machinery, and the Documoto SaaS helps them get product information online in the form of parts catalogs and other technical support documentation. After identifying the parts they need, dealers and other end users can order parts directly from the OEM using Documoto’s integrated shopping cart.

Why should manufacturing companies use a purpose-built solution like Documoto to display and sell parts, rather than more commonly known platforms like Amazon or similar retail-oriented sales platforms?

1. Responsive Design

Dealers, service technicians and customers are increasingly using mobile devices to do everything online, from looking up and ordering parts to viewing repair procedure videos. Over 50% of Internet traffic now originates on mobile, and the trend is likely to continue. An online storefront for manufacturers must not only adapt to smaller screens, it must display interactive illustrations and the complicated relationships between parts and machines. Documoto’s user interface is built on HTML5 and designed to provide a superior user experience whether on desktop or tablet.

2. Permissions

When users visit and order from retail websites, a consumer is a consumer is a consumer. There may be automated personalization of product offerings or the like, but fundamentally all users are treated the same. Manufacturers, on the other hand, have more complicated distribution networks that require access and permission controls that determine what content a visitor can see, what pricing structure to display, and so on. In this regard, eCommerce sites built for consumers are basically “one-size-fits-all.” Documoto has powerful administrative controls that let manufacturers define user groups and organizations, and limit information access according to user role.

3. Search

Imagine you have built hundreds of different models of machines over the last several decades. Each machine has several thousand parts, some unique and some shared between models. Large manufactures literally must manage millions of both obsolete and currently produced parts. It’s easy to see the importance of a powerful search tool like SOLR, the leading open source search engine that is built into Documoto. B2B buyers may need to search by model number, serial number, keyword, or part number in order to find that one specific component, and retail sites just can’t do it.

4. Detailed, Accurate Product Content

Retail sites designed around B2C needs are limited in the types of images and information they can display. In general, they cannot properly show complex illustrations and accompanying parts lists, or associate and display a wide variety of non-native document types. Documoto lets manufacturers show essential product data along with parts information. Images, 3D animations, repair videos, essentially anything that a customer or service tech might need to complete their desired tasks. Giving buyers highly detailed product data greatly reduces ordering errors and makes them want to come back again. And the ability to create direct integrations between Documoto and CAD or ERP offers the capability for real-time updates when part numbers, prices or other data is updated by the manufacturer.

5. Alternate Payment Options

The majority of manufacturers still don’t sell directly to consumers or end users, but have dealers, distributors or other affiliates who are responsible for service and parts delivery. Many of these B2B relationships still require purchase orders, requests for quotes, or other custom-tailored ordering and invoicing processes. For consumer sites, flexible payment options mean credit cards, online check drafts and perhaps PayPal. There’s no need to look for an RFQ or P.O. radio button, because it isn’t there. Documoto allows manufacturers to customize shopping cart payment options based on their existing business processes, minimizing disruption and maximizing efficiency.

If you’re a manufacturer who needs to upgrade your online presence, sell more parts, and keep customers coming back for more, check out the Documoto suite of tools today. If you want to see Digabit’s industry-leading solution in action, request a no-obligation demo for the full story.

Documoto Update Gives Manufacturers Insight Into eCommerce Orders

December 7, 2015 Tags: , , , ,
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The Documoto platform has proven its ability to save users time and money during the parts lookup and ordering process. Now it’s even more powerful, with the addition of new features that help Digabit clients provide better customer service and increase aftermarket sales. Documoto’s latest update expands its user-friendly functionality with improved eCommerce order management.

The new Order Management interface is highly customizable for administrators, giving them the ability to format order confirmations and emails, as well as define order status, shipping and payment options.

New HTML5 interface for manufacturing eCommerce software Documoto

Order Management Highlights for End Users:

• Users can view and search previous order history
Status notifications let buyers know where their order is in the fulfillment process
Duplicate past orders to save time on frequently ordered items

Highlights for Administrators:

Flexible administrative tools help tailor the fulfillment process to your desired workflow
• Edit and manage parts, prices and order statuses from within Order Management, or integrate with ERP to automate data exchange and enable real-time updates
• Shopping cart information can be transmitted from Documoto to ERP, or vice versa, so sales data is synchronized and stored in one location

The Order Management module’s new HTML5 interface is extremely easy to navigate for dealers and other users, so transitioning to a new sales process should be almost seamless! If you’d like an overview of the new features, check out this webinar preview presented by Digabit’s Product Manager, Eric Lanier. Click this link for the full text of Documoto 2015.4 release notes.

For more information about Order Management or to set up a demo, contact Digabit sales.