Hardy Schmitz - when electronics meets publishing

Hardy Schmitz in Rheine, Germany: Where corporate publishing happens

 

Publishing is now part and parcel of daily life for companies that would never dream of calling themselves ‘publishers’. There can be few better examples of that than the Hardy Schmitz Group.

Hardy Schmitz is a specialist electrical engineering supplier for a range of high-tech and heavy industries. A unique product range enables Hardy Schmitz to supply the components, logistics, and ebusiness services its customers demand. That doesn't sound like a conventional customer for editorial calendar software, and yet Hardy Schmitz' consistent customer orientation and wide-ranging products means it has a powerful need to communicate effectively.

Which has seen it become an enthusiastic Desk-Net client. Peter Blok of Team eBusiness at Hardy Schmitz, responsible for web-content and communication, explains why using Desk-Net now takes its place in the group’s toolkit.

 

We´re publishing a wide range of content and information on a number of platforms both within the company and on the web. Several times a week we post information onto different internal platforms; a regular routine for which we use Desk-Net.

 

Any kind of regular updating benefits from calendaring software, and information doesn’t have to be celebrity interviews or front-page leads to benefit from treated as an editorial process. “Our publishing is about the services or products we have, it can be news on special offers, a focus on sales, or updates about products within our range and the companies producing them.

In the end it’s all about placing information in the right place for the different people and their workplaces that make up the audience.”

That information goes far beyond simple text and illustrations; another reason why a more sophisticated tool is required for planning and delivery. “Yes indeed we go beyond sharing product information to include details of our channels and partners.

That means not only pictures and articles but videos as part of the communication mix. So the end result is a process of storytelling around the products our customers can buy; showing not only the hard details like product and price but also the broader issues of what they’re for and how they could best be used for the customer’s benefit.”

 

Multiple platforms - one editorial calendar 

Hardy Schmitz' publishing output is not only multimedia but multiplatform - a sophistication that brings its own demands for an editorial calendar to avoid missed deadlines or duplication.

“In addition to our own web page and WEBShop we are publishing to social media including Facebook, Kununu, Youtube, and Xing and communication portals like Wer liefert was (the leading online B2B marketplace in Germany, Austria and Switzerland).

Within our company we communicate using Desk-Net to place different information elements that feature in the creation of new sites, plus all the content, sales offers, and product information both on and offline.

As well as websites we also use it for things like flyers, handouts and so on - whatever is the appropriate tool to reach our customers and distributors.”

 

Corporate content planning in practice

“If, for example, we’re planning on publishing a web page with a view to introducing a new product then it starts with the person doing the planning who invites all the required team members to the project, assigns their tasks, and sets the completion dates. Tasks could range from ‘preparing pictures’ to ‘article writing’ or questioning if it needs video.

In the end the web developer builds the page when all the elements require in the plan are duly deposited in Desk-Net editorial calendar. At that point the project is done with everyone on the way fully informed about their role, and what was involved.”

 

Desk-Net manages the process, but who manages Desk-Net?

“That depends on the project and the department. Initially there are departmental heads who appoint projects but everybody who works with Desk-Net is able to create a project or task and make changes.

We retain one person who is responsible for the administration of the system so that workflow and usability can be guaranteed but retain transparency so that everybody using Desk-Net can see the tasks their department has planned."

 

Human resources working in common is always the biggest challenge.

 

"You have to insist on one point of communication so everyone knows where the information is in the system and get over the idea that it really doesn’t have to be bad just because it’s new.”

 

Why Desk-Net?

“After a range of different tests on several systems Desk-Net was the one with the most elements we needed.” The growing range of integration options has also helped smooth the path; “the communication with Outlook in particular was a bonus” and almost organically the usage spread.

“We started with two people, which quickly became six, then eight, and then ten including helpers from outside our company. Soon our whole team got to use and work with it to their personal advantage."

"Usage itself differs widely from person to person; from once a week to three times a day depending on the kind of information or the role of that person in the process.”

If it sounds like a smooth growth curve it should be said that Hardy Schmitz didn’t initially see itself as a likely Desk-Net adopter - after all, editorial calendaring and an electrical supplier didn’t immediately sound like a natural match.

 

Over time, however, the tool made its own case. “I have to say that at first when we were testing tools we saw no need of Desk-Net and consigned it to the archive but eventually our work output arrived at the point where we needed a tool and there it was so by that point there was no hesitation anymore.”

Curious how Desk-Net works for other companies that have to deal with multiplatform planning? Find more success stories here.