CASE STUDY: Suzuki GB PLC streamlines branding online

Automobile, motorcycle and marine dealers are Suzuki GB PLCs customers, and their success is reliant on a complex supply chain .......

Suzuki is renowned worldwide for its automobiles, motorcycles and outboard engines. In the UK, the consumer does not buy directly from Suzuki GB PLC instead the company relies on dealerships, which sell on to the public.

Challenges: speed of change

In addition to the physical supply chain however, the dealerships and Suzuki GB PLC head office also rely on a lively communications network. To keep all parties updated, head office supplies dealerships with a variety of essential documentation, including technical manuals, price lists, product information, service bulletins, service checklists and more.

Bill Taylor, general manager, IT, at Suzuki GB PLC takes up the story: Our success is dependent on our dealer network. But such is the speed of change in the marketplace that we were producing new hard copy manuals just as soon as we had sent out the last batch. Apart from the time and investment costs of copywriting, printing and distribution, we also had to consider the effect this was having on our dealers, as the information they held would be quickly out of date.

The beauty of SDL Tridion is that it has enabled us to streamline our operations, without impacting out relationships with our customers.

Benefits: developing extranet

Taylor adds: Our solution was to use SDL Tridion to develop an extranet for dealer information. Going forward, the ultimate aim was to print nothing at HQ but instead enable the dealers to view and download the information as and when they needed it from the extranet.

Suzuki-branded material including technical manuals, price lists, product information, service bulletins, installation instructions, safety recall notices and service checklists can now be distributed to the right person, at the right time. Every time a dealer logs in, the landing page displays the six most recent items that have been added to the extranet. This is particularly important for safety recalls and changes to technical specifications.

For marketing materials, dealers can download and edit special offer advertisement templates, by just adding their own addresses and contact details. Its important to us that we maintain the flexibility of enabling our dealers to tailor the information to their clients. With SDL Tridion we get this flexibility twinned with control.

The extranet is a one-stop-shop an online portal for all sorts of relevant information, as it also hosts a number of external links to other Suzuki associated web sites, government agencies and other useful industry links. 

Proof: keeping control

To overcome any security issues, a user ID is set up with each division such as motorcycles off road; motorcycles on road as well as to a particular discipline within the dealership (such as sales). This way each user can only access the information that is relevant to them. A search mechanism presents content in dealer-specific categories.

The implementation of SDL Tridion has meant that Suzuki GB PLC can now make changes to copy quickly and efficiently while being consistent throughout. There is no duplication of effort as changes that are made once filter through to all relevant areas of the extranet, and of course the cost overhead (no more print and postage) has been dramatically reduced. Suzuki GB PLC estimates that to be around 250, 000 (363, 000 euros) per annum. From the dealers perspective, they can search for the information required and then print what they need, secure in the knowledge that it is not only relevant, but also always up to date the time lag that Suzuki GB PLC traditionally faced has been eliminated.

As a business, our aim is to maintain our leadership position and exceed customer expectations. The beauty of SDL Tridion is that it had enabled us to streamline our operations, without impacting our relationships with our customers. Because of that, we have improved communication, ensured a faster time to market, greater flexibility and immediate, tangible cost savings, concludes Taylor.

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