Case Study: Analox Sensor Technology
Analox Sensor Technology, based in Yorkshire, UK, specialise in the design, development and manufacture of a range of fixed and portable gas detection equipment.
They produce a number of price lists for their distributors, and creating those publications is a complex process. As Simon Lunt, Director of Sales and Marketing at Analox, explains:
"The majority of our products are made to order. We also sell our standard gas detection equipment through a network of global distributors. Our discount structures vary and we deal in a variety of different currencies. Several of our products have a large array of options with very long part numbers and complex descriptions. All of these things, combined with a few other specific rules meant that our price list system became unruly, difficult to navigate, very labour intensive and aesthetically average at best."
Simon and his team needed to have a multi-user system which would enable them to easily:
Update product and part details
Manage the products and parts that each distributor offers
Manage the complex discounting system
Update prices quickly from a spreadsheet
Quickly publish custom price lists for each distributor, with
Multiple currencies automatically calculated
Only products and parts selected for that distributor included
Discounts applied according to a complex formula
The CatBase Solution
The solution consists of:
CatBase Data Chameleon Edition
Xtags plugin for Adobe InDesign: this plugin enables advanced tagging features for files imported into an Indesign layout, such as automatic image placement and the management of tables
Custom CatBase modules to manage the distributor product matching and discount calculations.
The Distributor, Product Groups, and Parts data is updated in CatBase.
The Products and Discounts are selected for each Distributor in the custom Distributor Discounts module:
Notice that different Products may have different Discounts.
When they are ready to publish a Price List, they use the Publish a Price List custom module:
When the Publish Now button is clicked, CatBase calculates the discount for each Part, and the USD and Euro prices based on the specified exchange rate. It then publishes the price list using the selected Publishing Project.
A complication of this is that if the same Part is used in more than one Product, and those Products have different discount rates selected, the Part must be shown at the same price throughout that distributor's price list. When CatBase calculates the discount prices, it takes this into account and applies the highest discount rate to those Parts.
Here's an example Product page from the finished price list:
"The CatBase system has meant we’ve addressed all of these issues which will at least halve the amount of time we’ll spend on admin in the coming years. We needed a few bits of custom script to cope with our very specific demands but these are now in place and working well."
And Analox's distributors are happy with the result:
"We’ve even had feedback from a distributor on how much better the new price lists are."
"An accurate, reliable, repeatable price list system where any amendments are carried through will save us a lot of time and will assist our distributors in their work with our customers. A very worthwhile medium to long term investment."
As Helen Caswell, Administrative Support Asssistant at Analox, summarizes:
"CatBase has proved to be a very powerful system. It can manipulate multiple sets of data quickly and easily, and change elements like discounts, exchange rates and across-the-board price increases at the press of a button. This has resulted in us producing accurate, well-presented price lists, which in the long-term will save us a significant amount of time and effort."