The STIGA Group, with its head office in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy is a European leader in the production and distribution of garden maintenance products. STIGA sells over one million products every year and employs over 1700 people.
With manufacturing facilities in Italy, Slovakia and China, STIGA products are actively distributed and serviced through 12 owned subsidiaries and a host of representative offices, boasting a presence in over 70 nations worldwide.
STIGA's new head office located in Castelfranco Veneto was inaugurated in 2018. More than 800 people work at Stiga's headquarters.
Embracing the future
Following the completion of a group-wide ERP upgrade, STIGA turned its attention to delivering a cloud based B2B Portal to its international dealers and service centres to provide them with online spare parts lookup and purchasing functionality, technical information, warranty management, e-commerce and a host of custom business applications. This ambitious project, based on eVision solutions and at the centre of STIGA’s dealer growth strategy, is known as STIGA CONNECT.
STIGA CONNECT has enabled STIGA to supply its sales and service network with a unified interface through which all the applications, information, systems, and functionality required to operate successfully with them is provided. A one-stop-shop solution to replace a plethora of pre-existing proprietary standalone B2B applications and websites. The result has been a significant overall reduction in complexity for customers and STIGA alike, and a substantial increase in efficiency and customer service levels.
Following a gradual, nation by nation introduction, market acceptance of STIGA CONNECT has surpassed all expectations with over 10,000 servicing dealers and distributors relying on the platform daily for all main STIGA related activities. With adoption rates continuing to rise, over 80% of all service parts purchases and warranty claims were being transacted through the portal within just 2 years.
It all started with the interactive technical catalogue
At the heart of STIGA’s B2B Portal lies the interactive technical catalogue. Not to be confused with a simple spare parts catalogue, it contains approximately 260,000 exploded parts views, 6,000 technical documents and countless additional digital resources, providing a wealth of information and unparalleled aftermarket support for over 30,000 STIGA products and accessories.
The catalogue is intuitively structured and extremely simple to browse. Within a single cohesive environment, everything required to successfully sell and service all STIGA products is contained and is easily accessed; just as it should be.
The catalogue is created, maintained, and published centrally at STIGA headquarters in Castelfranco Veneto, using eVision’s mediaCAT® Foundation authoring software. STIGA maintains full creative control of the catalogue and all digital resources and data are securely stored on the corporate network.
Catalogue content originates from numerous company applications, repositories, and databases. These are connected to, and synchronised with, mediaCAT® Foundation, so as new products are introduced and source data is changed, the catalogue too is automatically updated.
A single catalogue for all markets
ThThere is only one version of STIGA’s interactive catalogue, and it contains all group owned brands and products. Data exports from mediaCAT® Foundation to the portal are incremental and extremely fast so, despite the catalogue’s considerable size, updated versions may be published daily with no disruption to service.
Once published, the catalogue is uploaded to the portal and is universally shared by all dealers in all countries. Each subsidiary portal “appears” to have its own version of the catalogue, however, for all intents and purposes, these are just aliases.
Maintaining a single technical catalogue, as opposed to a series of dedicated catalogues for each brand or nation, is far less complex and saves STIGA significant time. This might suggest a less than ideal customer browsing experience with all content openly available to all users. On the contrary, thanks to the portal’s profiling options, users are only given access to the brands, products, prices, documents, and content granted by their log-in profile, language, and country of business. Customers, therefore, enjoy a highly tailored navigation experience despite the catalogue being shared.
A common, yet bespoke solution for each market
Although STIGA CONNECT is a pan-European project, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Each subsidiary interacts with its own dedicated instance of the B2B portal which, in turn, is seamlessly integrated with the subsidiary’s proprietary back-end business systems.
Whilst the interactive catalogue and portal provide the same user experience and functionality across all markets, local processes, and business practices, unique to each subsidiary, are not affected. No two European markets are the same and STIGA CONNECT adapts effortlessly to accommodate variances. This market-first approach has had a considerable positive effect on the speed of customer adoption.
In addition to a host of native aftermarket applications and custom programmes unique to STIGA, the portal also provides subsidiaries with additional modules to autonomously monitor online customer activity, create promotions, introduce new products, manage warranty claims, create customer events… and so much more.
A continuously evolving platform
The STIGA CONNECT portal is a dynamic and flexible environment that continues to evolve, providing innovative bespoke solutions to STIGA’s business needs.
Following the introduction of new features in 2020, dealers now register products submitted for warranty repair by scanning the machine’s series numbers and snapshotting damaged components directly with their mobile phones. A digital claim form is created automatically on the portal where it may be completed in due course.
Credit card payment options have also been introduced, providing dealers who are ineligible for open account status with portal access to purchase spare parts, albeit through an external accredited credit card payment platform.
The initiative is designed to safeguard end-user interests by ensuring even non-affiliated service centres have access to parts and are able to repair STIGA products.
State of the art
STIGA CONNECT is now the only remaining B2B service linking STIGA to its European subsidiaries and dealer networks. Dealers do not just rely on the portal for their spare parts and aftermarket needs but also to purchase products, track orders, access promotions, generate purchase reports, search, and download invoices, check their accounts and so much more.
STIGA CONNECT is always open for business and is available anywhere, on any browser, on all operating systems and on any device. In just a few short years since being introduced, it has already proven to be a resounding success with subsidiaries, dealers and service centres alike. And with imminent plans to introduce additional industry-leading enhancements and integrations, STIGA CONNECT has a promising future indeed.
STIGA CONNECT has proven its value and continues to evolve as new functionality and services are being consistently added.
In the words of Riccardo Radice, STIGA’s IT project leader:
"eVision has a reactive and highly flexible organisation. Despite numerous challenges and considerable inherent project complexities, their service support, propensity for solution finding and competency levels have been amongst the highest I’ve witnessed. STIGA CONNECT has been a resounding success with all STIGA stakeholders
Final reflections and some precious advice
Whilst the accomplishments and countless benefits achieved with STIGA CONNECT are universally recognised, before embarking on a project of this magnitude it is important to recognise that the road to success will be paved with challenges.
STIGA’s Customer Experience & Spare Parts Director, Sune Sørensen, who has been supervising STIGA CONNECT since its inception, has overcome many such challenges and from personal experience has a few words of advice to share:
- Involve key stakeholders from the beginning and ensure they are fully committed to the project.
- Create shared, mutual goals across the organisation.
- Enlist top management and key influencers as internal sponsors. Their support is key.
- Show continuous improvement.
- Establish clear milestones and, when reached, broadcast them within the organisation.
- Give visibility to the project, on all levels.
- Involve a few key customers and create success stories as early as possible.
- Be prepared for some internal friction. Given its strategic importance, the project will touch many company divisions and roles, and people have a natural tendency to resist change.
Stiga production facilities in Italy
Stiga’s Italian production sites in Castelfranco and Campigo produce high-end garden tractors, implement carriers and front mowers. The plants cover 62,000 sqm collectively.
For more information on STIGA please click on the following links:
> Stiga’s corporate website
> Stiga’s commercial website
> Stiga on Linkedin
For a download and print version of the STIGA case study click below: