Strategy, implementation, design
Magento platform real-time connected with Microsoft Dynamics AX.
The plastics company Vink VTS sources and delivers a wide range of plastic materials from the best suppliers in the world. The company is part of Vink Holding, a federation of more than 100 independent businesses in 16 European countries, established in 1954. In 2016 Vink Holding made the strategic decision to standardize their European e-commerce operations on the Magento Commerce platform. At the same moment, Vink VTS decided that their online operation needed re-working. Both Vink Holding and Vink VTS e-commerce aligned on the idea of an ambitious pilot project, including integration with their EU-standard ERP solution. Youwe helped Vink VTS with building their new Magento 2 platform and connected their ERP with the Magento AX Connector.
Vink VTS was moving from a tailor-made solution, which had become costly and ineffective. They needed to upgrade their e-commerce operations to become more agile. Their business model is unique: Vink Holding is a highly decentralized organization, with scores of independent subsidiaries and business units operating throughout Europe and beyond. So, their new platform would need to be compatible with multi-domains and multi-stores. It would also need to manage the complex price structures of each individual company.
Magento 2 shops
Internal sales calls received
Together with Youwe, Vink VTS became the first company within Vink Holdings to move directly to Magento Commerce 2. Youwe crafted a custom solution that augmented the core Magento platform with Youwe’s unique B2B and ERP integration suites. The Vink Holding head office runs a central Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution for the entire organization. All other decisions are made locally due to different buyer personas and cultures.
The Vink VTS shop was just the beginning. After the successful start in the Netherlands, Youwe helped Vink with creating other shops for different regions and brands. To realize this the original Vink VTS Magento Commerce 2 shop has been transformed into a multi-shop solution. The same storefront is used for all Vink companies throughout Europe with their own products, prices, and branding. These are all different entrepreneurs using the same B2B commerce solution. If you look at the individual brand and shops they don’t look the same as most of them have a completely different look and feel and frontend, but they all use the same backend and have the same functionalities. Due to the permissions settings per shop, each country/brand can just see their own shop. However, Vink Holding is able to see each and every shop in the backend and the data of each shop. With this solution, Vink is able to enter new markets with low costs and a short time to market. This makes the Magento multi-shop solution a great tool for cross-border growth. With this solution, all shops are also directly connected to the Vink ERP.
The shops that have been successfully built are:
To fit the Vink organization, the new Magento Commerce solution was designed to be run from a central repository by the Vink corporate team but also used and overwritten by local subsidiaries working with local partners. “The brilliant thing was that although a local Magento partner can overwrite any single component or feature, it has not been overwritten due to its success,” said Arthur van Koetsveld, European Head of e-commerce for Vink Holding. “This made the choice for Magento very easy.” And Youwe also implemented a Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution for the entire organization. The Magento AX Connector is an off-the-shelf standard Dynamics AX e-commerce connector for Magento, which contains more than 22 well-documented and configurable interfaces required for an effective B2B e-commerce platform. All Vink shops get their information such as stock, shipping costs, etc. directly via Dynamics AX, except the payment information is dealt with via a payment integration of Adyen.
Besides all the B2B shops, Youwe also created a totally new business-to-consumer platform. This also means that Vink is going through a digital transformation and is not purely focused on the B2B market. In this process, Youwe is the guide in the digital jungle and helps Vink with changing their work processes and entering new markets.
The original Vink VTS platform went live in 2017 after a development period of eight months. For the first time since the company started, Vink VTS was able to take a digital order by e-commerce alone. After a period of seven months, the new platform was generating 20% of the company’s total sales. Magento Commerce 2 allows Vink VTS to show real-time information on dynamic pages in under two seconds. With their B2B operations easily accessible online, Vink VTS reduced the load of calls to their internal sales team, while improving online sales and stock inventory turnover.
During the worldwide pandemic, the project really took off. Vink was able to produce plastic sheets for stores and restaurants during the first months of the pandemic and this was the kick-off, of the cross border project and since March 2020, a lot more shops have been created and this is also where Adyen came in and the business changed to a fully B2B2C e-commerce platform.
Youwe helped realize all shops for Vink, but that’s not all. We will also help Vink with upgrading to the latest version of Magento, implementing Alumio, and opening even more shops worldwide for countries such as Lithuania, Estonia, Great Britain, Switzerland, France, and The United States.
Also, Youwe and Vink have an ongoing process of updating the current platforms. Every three weeks, new functionalities are being released such as a guest checkout, custom-made plastic sheets where visitors can create their sheet from scratch instead of choosing something from the default product range, and more.
Arthur van Koetsveld, European Head of e-commerce by Vink VTS