Irrigation Equipment Supplier Floods Catalog with Images, Detailed Descriptions
Catalog Builder® software is key to success of supply catalog

(2006 March 01) -- Montana-based Midland Implement supplies a vast array of equipment to agricultural, irrigation, landscaping, and golf course maintenance markets. The company’s Irrigation Division alone represents over 250 manufacturers and stocks over 50,000 items, from pump and well accessories to golf, residential and commercial turf irrigation products.

Challenge

With so many items, even the company’s most loyal customers didn’t know everything Midland Implement could supply. Periodically Midland would create a product listing using Microsoft Excel, but that was a painful and ineffective process according to Briant Duray, the person in charge of organizing catalog data for the Irrigation Division. As he described it, the result was a lot like the telephone white pages: just a lot of black copy, and unless you knew exactly what you were looking for, forget it.

“We needed a way to organize and really show off all the different products we carry,” explained Duray. And he wanted to achieve it in-house. They had tried outsourcing before, “but by the time we got all the information together and passed it along to the outsourcer, we’d put in so much of our time already. We just figured there had to be a better way.” So Duray set out to find it.

Solution

He had very specific criteria for a solution. First, it had to provide Midland Implement with end-to-end control of the catalog production process. Second, it had to be able to pull the data directly from Midland Implement’s mainframe. He refused to consider anything that would require the maintenance of a separate catalog database. They’d had enough of that inefficient process with their old Excel-based catalogs. And finally, it had to allow for images, logos, or other product icons to be displayed with the product information.

The one system Duray found that would truly automate catalog creation using data directly from their mainframe was Catalog Builder®. Catalog Builder® is a catalog design and management software system from Minnesota-based Computer Pundits Corporation. It can be used to generate print catalogs, Adobe PDF files, and interactive CD-ROM and e-commerce catalogs.

Whether a business has 500 products or over a million, using Catalog Builder® is an intuitive step-by-step process. There’s no programming required, and users can choose to do as much or as little design customization as they wish. The extensive but user-friendly layout options integrated into Catalog Builder can completely automate the design process, while the addition of the Catalog Builder® Module for Adobe® InDesign allows for advanced customization.

Midland Implement chose to take advantage of Catalog Builder®’s built-in layout options to design the look and feel of their catalog. They augmented the data in their mainframe with expanded product descriptions and pictures, set up their product categories, and then, pulling from their mainframe data, produced their first categorized, full-color catalog with pictures and detailed product descriptions. They provided it to their customers both as a hard-copy print catalog and as a searchable PDF file on CD-ROM.

Benefits

That was two years ago. Since then Midland Implement has realized many benefits of their Catalog Builder® investment. “The biggest advantage to us has been that we only have to maintain one database—on our mainframe—and Catalog Builder makes it easy to generate new catalogs or fresh PDF files whenever we need them,” explained Duray.

The output is so much more user-friendly and appealing than their old spreadsheet catalogs that now customers actually request extra copies, and use them. In addition, the catalog PDF files have provided a new level of convenience, especially to contractors. They can load the PDF file on their laptops and look up information while on the road. They can even print out specific product pages to leave behind with their customers.

Duray says another advantage of Catalog Builder® is its flexibility. For example, plans are currently underway to break the catalog down into even more specific categories to further enhance usability. According to Computer Pundits president, Prashubh Batham, “Catalog Builder® is designed to be flexible to allow for the continual evolution of our customers’ catalogs to address their business needs now and in the future.”

Computer Pundits Corporation is revolutionizing the business to business cataloging industry and saving companies around the world thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars over traditional catalog production methods.

For more information about Catalog Builder or Computer Pundits Corporation, call 952-854-2422 or visit http://www.catalogbuilder.com/.