The Steiff customer club currently has 55,000 members. This not only places heavy demands on the administration and makes efficient support of members a complex task, it also poses considerable IT challenges. Two years ago, Margarete Steiff GmbH decided to replace its existing stand-alone IT solutions with integrated corporate software. “The company had decided on SAP R/3, but it still needed a SAP-based solution for more efficient management of the business processes involved in providing support for Steiff Club members,” says Inge Zinnecker, Manager of the Steiff Club. The right solution for the job was provided by GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS, a SAP Business Partner based in Limburg. With its qualified mySAP All-in-One solution MFplus, the company is specifically geared to meeting the needs of customer clubs and charitable organizations. “We were in contact with Steiff right from the initial phase of the R/3 project and were therefore able to convince the company of the advantages of MFplus in a very short time,” says Dieter Wenz, Sales Manager at GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS.
Integration is key
Particularly important to managers at Steiff was an integrated member administration system made possible by the link to SAP/FI and the creation of a comprehensive software, service and information platform. The company was looking for an SMB-compatible CRM solution specifically geared to the customer administration sector. “The business processes involved in providing support for members of a customer club have become extremely complex,” explains Inge Zinnecker, “because member organization, member management, receipts, marketing campaigns and customer mailshots involve numerous stages which need to be automated as far as possible.”
MFplus enables employees of organizations in different service sectors, functions and hierarchies to access all relevant data in a shared information system and to do so with ease. For this purpose, the mySAP All-in-One solution from GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS provides all existing data in a standardized database. It is also open for seamless integration of future work areas and functions.
Mapping the marketing cycle
As well as seamless integration into the existing SAP R/3 system, the GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS industry solution had another important point in its favor. It efficiently maps a complete marketing cycle extending from the master data and marketing and response data, right through to analysis. Employees of the Steiff Club assign features to individual persons, e.g. ‘collects soft toys’. The persons are then classified on the basis of these features, i.e. ‘all soft toy collectors’, and assigned to different segments. Members are then sent the appropriate mailshots depending on their classification. Steiff is also thinking of the future: “When it comes to contact management, the integration of modern communication channels such as e-mail or SMS should take into account the wishes and needs of new target member groups,” explains GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS Sales Manager Dieter Wenz.
“An important building block for this is a record of the history of the membership with all information regarding campaigns by the Steiff Club and the reactions of the members”, Wenz explains. “What’s more,” he adds, “the data must be kept up-to-date at all times and must support analysis in order to provide useful information for initiating targeted marketing campaigns and “ensuring members receive individual support”. The GSOAG employees also adapted MFplus so that the Steiff Club would in future be able to send mail and documents using the qualified mySAP All-in-One solution. This will make future mailing campaigns much more straightforward than before, thereby saving time and money.
The solution was also linked to the Financial Accounting (FI), Controlling (CO), Sales (SD) and Materials Management modules integrated in the SAP R/3 system, which has the advantage that all orders from club members – from the initial order placement right through to delivery and invoicing – now run via the SAP system. These processes are fully traceable via MFplus and therefore highly transparent.
Introduction made easy
The IT managers of Margarete Steiff GmbH and the GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS employees then worked hand-in-hand on the introduction of MFplus. “Even before the actual signing of the contract, there was already a lively exchange going on in various workshops between everyone involved in the project,” says GSOAG Sales Manager Dieter Wenz. The Steiff customer club planned the project to take a total of five months. “Once we had analyzed and assessed the internal workflows and business processes at Steiff, we could start on the implementation,” explains Marcel Plum, GSOAG Project Manager responsible for the implementation of MFplus as the customer club solution at Steiff. He outlines the scope of the installation as follows: “The system is designed for around 10 users and was loaded onto the existing SAP server on which the SAP R/3 standard was also installed.”
In addition to the standard system, Steiff also wanted an interface to the SD module and sent-mail report, which required additional programming by GSOAG SYSTEMHAUS. “But this was no problem to do,” says Project Manager Marcel Plum. GSOAG then ran both individual and integrative tests right up until the system went live, also using this time to train the Steiff employees. “This meant we were able to complete the integration of MFplus just in time and on budget by July 30 this year,” Marcel Plum adds proudly.
Dieter Wenz lists the advantages of the innovative MFplus technology for the Steiff club. Integration into the SAP module environment has increased the transparency of the workflows and data. Even routine business processes have now become faster than before, he says. “In short, this means the solution is integrable, future-focused, cost-effective and a secure investment,” Wenz concludes. Further expansion phases are therefore already in the pipeline for the project. According to Steiff Club Manager Inge Zinnecker, the Steiff customer club also wants to introduce self service for members in the medium term. This will further free up the customer support operatives to concentrate on their own core tasks. MFplus has given the Steiff Club an IT solution that fits the Steiff motto – only the best is good enough for kids, friends and collectors of Steiff toys.