Partnership with ThomasNet transforms valve and fittings company’s detailed product content and CAD assets into powerful business advantages.
DK-Lok® USA knows something about attention to detail. The Alabama-based company supplies the oil and energy industries with valves and fittings that adhere to a strict 1/1000 inch (0.025 millimeters) tolerance control. These products ensure the safe handling of potentially dangerous materials in some of the world’s harshest, most demanding environments including offshore oil platforms, petrochemical processing facilities, and nuclear power plants.
However, with such a small margin of error comes a large amount of risk. If distributors or end users cannot make use of precise measurements or detailed schematics, then a misalignment of a thousandth of an inch might as well be thousands of miles. DK-Lok’s team of engineers are confident in their ability to produce the right fitting for the right application—no matter how precise the need is. But what good is the right fitting if it never makes it into the hands of the customer?
Now the twenty-person company has brought the same level of detail and precision thinking to its online content strategy in order to improve product information sharing with distributors and to accelerate sales by enhancing its service offering to its OEM engineer customers.
DK-Lok’s product information for over 6000 items was literally located all over the place in catalogs, product literature, spec sheets—even Excel spreadsheets. This lack of content organization across such a vast inventory made it very difficult to respond quickly to distributors and customers with the deep level of product details necessary to convert interest to sales.
Equally frustrating was the company’s antiquated approach to providing OEM engineers with 2D/3D CAD models and drawings. Customers were still calling DK-Lok and requesting them over the phone. A DK-Lok engineer then had to create the drawing, often from scratch, which could take hours to complete and deliver.
SEARCH TO SPECIFY
DK-Lok partnered with ThomasNet’s team of engineers and web designers immediately got to work locating and aggregating highly detailed product data and information for all 6000 DK-Lok valves and fittings. They then formatted the content and loaded it into Thomas’s Navigator Platform—an exclusive technology that enables the centralization and distribution of deep dive product data and 2D/3D CAD assets into any format be it an online catalog, distributor catalogs, and ERP systems—you name it. In addition to the product details, all available 2D and 3D CAD product models and drawings were collected, converted into electronic formats and loaded into Navigator as well.
Unique to the Navigator Platform, and critical to ensuring the customer gets the level of detail they need to make a decision, is its compatibility with any software program. OEM engineers can access, view, and download the content and 2D/3D CAD models and drawings, regardless of the type of software installed on their own computers.
By downloading detailed product specs and CAD drawings, engineers not only ensure the valve or fitting will be an “airtight fit,” they automatically include the DK-Lok part number in schematics that eventually get sent to procurement. Once on the schematic, procurement agents are not likely to question it and simply go ahead and order the part.
If your product gets specified, your part number goes into the system. Then the end-user will seek out one of our local distributors to supply it. This is how Thomas delivers a true “search to specify” online experience.
GREATER DISTRIBUTOR SUPPORT AND SALES EFFICIENCY
The first application of DK-Lok’s new content strategy was the delivery of an online catalog and fingertip access to the 2D/3D CAD models and drawings.
Next up is the syndication of the same deep, rich product data and CAD assets across the websites, online catalogs and ERP systems of the 24 independent distributors that represent and sell DK-Lok products.
Each distributor has a different way of providing information. Because all the DK-Lok content is already in the Navigator Platform, Thomas is able to migrate it into any format they may have.
Not only will this eliminate misinformation between the parties, it will also bring additional efficiency to the marketing and sales process by allowing the customer to self-serve their product information needs directly from the distributor; who can then quickly and seamlessly fulfill their order.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Cumlander is the executive vice president of DK-Lok USA, Inc. To learn more about DK-Lok, visit www.dklokusa.com. For more information about Thomas Industrial Network, visit www.thomasnet.com.
MODERN PUMPING TODAY, March 2013
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern Pumping Today Magazine!