Plandent provides dental care professionals with the latest technology. The company wanted to modernise its webshop. Digia’s expertise ensured that the new webshop, which serves four countries, also works seamlessly with Plandent’s Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system.
Our webshop ended up just as we wanted it to be. And within the time limits and budget that we agreed. We felt really good throughout the project.
“To put it bluntly, our webshop was outdated,” says Plandent’s Development Manager Ville Lahikainen.
“It may have been possible to overhaul our old webshop to implement the changes we wanted, but that would’ve been difficult and expensive. And we still wouldn’t have ended up with a modern webshop.”
The webshop was modernised in 2014 as a joint project between Plandent’s companies in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Estonia. Sweden and Norway started using the new webshop immediately after it went online, and Estonia followed suit in early 2015.
In Finland, the old webshop was kept open for a few months alongside the new one, but customers rapidly adopted the new shop: in December, 90 per cent of sales were already made through the new webshop.
It’s no wonder that Lahikainen shows off the fresh new webshop with a smile on his face.
“Customers are used to attractive, user-friendly consumer webshops that make it easy to search for, browse and buy products. And, of course, we wanted to freshen up the style. The old store looked like something from the Nineties,” says Lahikainen.
The basic idea behind the modernisation project was that the webshop had to be capable of providing the same level of expert service as a salesperson. Earlier, customers would fax their orders or call up a salesperson and list product codes over the phone. Now, the company wanted to process routine orders online.
To make this possible, the online service has to be faster and more convenient for customers than calling a familiar salesperson. User-friendliness and intuitive features are thus essential. As an example, Lahikainen mentions product searches featuring images.
“The webshop has about 35,000 different items. Many of the product names are similar. Displaying pictures with the search results considerably reduces feelings of uncertainty that would otherwise make the customer reach for their phone and talk to a salesperson to verify that they’ve chosen the right product,” says Lahikainen.
“Now that routine orders are processed online, salespeople can devote their valuable time to real customer service and managing new customers.”
The webshop and other channels comprise an end-to-end solution that is guided through the ERP. As data is communicated from one system to another in real time, the webshop always has up-to-date information on items in stock, delivery times and prices.
“This is vital, because customers expect to receive up-to-date information, good service and rapid deliveries,” Lahikainen emphasises.
In other words, the new webshop had to work seamlessly with Plandent’s Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system. As Plandent’s AX supplier, Digia was able to offer an AX-compliant webshop through its subcontractor, the Dutch company Sana.
The price information, for instance, can now be modified and managed more easily.
“We constantly have promotional campaigns. The old webshop could not cope with special pricing. The customer could complete most of the order online, but then had to call a salesperson to redeem their campaign benefits,” says Lahikainen.
“During the entire project, Digia and Sana’s technical implementer ISM always kept us well informed about which of our wishes were realistic and what alternative means could be used. And thanks to its expertise in AX ERP, Digia knew how to take into consideration which plans would suit the ERP and what changes might be required.”
The webshop was implemented as a scrum project. This approach enabled all of Plandent’s business countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway and Estonia – to participate equally.
“This was my first scrum project and I enjoyed this approach. Both implemented and upcoming changes were reviewed weekly. If anything was unclear, we held a quick meeting online right away. No difficult or unclear issues were put on the back burner,” says Lahikainen.
Lahikainen also thanks all the project parties for their flexibility in problem-solving situations. For instance, small problems were encountered when feeding the massive amount of product data into the webshop – 120,000 articles in all.
“Digia and ISM focused on tackling the problem and devoted plenty of resources to ensuring that the slowdown would be fixed quickly,” says Lahikainen.
Transparent monitoring ensured precise scheduling. Each ongoing work phase could be examined continuously in terms of scheduling and the used hours tracked in relation to the budget. “Flagging thresholds” were set even for slight overruns, so that any deviations could be addressed quickly.
“Thanks to accurate monitoring, there were no surprises,” says Lahikainen.
And how did the webshop turn out?
“Our webshop ended up just as we wanted it to be. And within the time limits and budget that we agreed. We felt really good throughout the project,” says Lahikainen.