Success Story: Axalta Coating Systems

B2B e-commerce portal powered by APIs streamline processes and generates new sales

  • Headquarters

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Deploy a B2B e-commerce portal for Axalta’s refinishing business to respond to customer demand for online ordering services; standardize and automate the company’s business processes; enhance the company’s competitive position to drive growth

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Process optimization by standardizing and automating the order-entry process 
    • Increased opportunities for targeted marketing, cross-selling, sale of services and new sales channels
    • Strong data security and monitoring, API management, and central visibility over all integrations
    • Competitive differentiation by enabling Axalta to respond to customer demand for new services

For coating solutions that last longer, Axalta’s got it covered

Axalta is a leading global company focused exclusively on coatings and on providing customers with solutions that are innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinishing applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, the company’s coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable coated materials to last longer. With 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, Axalta has more than 100,000 customers in over 130 countries. Its 12,800 employees work every day to better serve its customers, providing the finest coatings, application systems and technology.

B2B e-commerce portal opens the door to digital transformation

As a major manufacturer, Axalta has an efficient EDI system based on Axway TSIM for its largest customers. In parallel, Axalta wanted to provide an easy-to-use online ordering facility for its small and medium-sized customers, including the many body shops throughout Europe that repair and refinish cars.

To this end, Axalta decided to deploy an e-commerce portal for its refinishing business. The new online shop would enable Axalta to:

  • Respond to customer demand for new ordering options and online self-service
  • Improve process efficiency and reduce costs through automation and standardization
  • Increase sales through digital marketing campaigns
  • Enhance its competitive position and drive growth

“We chose Axway API Gateway because we are very satisfied with Axway technology. We have a good partnership with Axway, and we are satisfied with their speed and support.”

Marion Roethgen, Leader eTransactions EMEA
Axalta Coating Systems Germany GmbH

 

The project requirements were for a modern e-commerce platform designed for the sales and marketing of products and services for all refinishing brands in EMEA markets. The solution had to:

  • Verify the identity of customers and act as gatekeeper
  • Enable customer self-service
  • Be fully integrated into Axalta’s IT environment
  • Provide monitoring and end-to-end visibility of data flows
  • Provide security to protect Axalta’s systems from incursions over the internet
  • Be tailored to the needs of Axalta’s distributors and end-customers

Automation and end-to-end visibility: a powerful combination

As a long-term customer of Axway, Axalta deploys Axway TSIM for its EDI needs, serving its high-volume distributors and OEMs. In recent years, Axalta migrated to an Axway cloud solution based on Axway TSIM, which now serves Axalta customers worldwide. In this environment, Axway TSIM integrates, controls, monitors and transforms EDI files for the company’s back-end systems. 

When selecting partners for the new B2B e-commerce portal, Axalta reviewed a number of options. “In the end, we chose Axway API Gateway because we are very satisfied with Axway technology,” explained Marion Roethgen, Leader eTransactions EMEA, Axalta Coating Systems Germany GmbH. “We have a good partnership with Axway, and we are satisfied with their speed and support.”

Axway API Gateway provides API management and end-to-end visibility of data flows for Axalta’s online store. In a fully automated process, the API Gateway sends data to Axway TSIM for transformation; the data is then sent to Axalta’s back-end systems for processing — all without any manual intervention. The e-commerce solution was rolled out in pilot form in February 2015, with bulk rollout to follow.

 

Easy online order-entry for verified users

The initial role of the Axalta e-commerce portal is to provide online order entry for its professional customers. This involves the following functions, all enabled by APIs managed via the Axway API Gateway: 

  • Verify the customer. In Europe, the paint and coatings industry is regulated for safety reasons, so only qualified professionals may purchase these products. Axway API Gateway receives the customer’s credentials and forwards them to the back-end system for verification. Only validated customers are given access to the site.
  • Browse the catalog. The customer can search for products in the online catalog, view product detail, and place items in the shopping basket.
  • Simulate the order. Before placing the order, the customer can request a simulation to obtain price and availability information.
  • Create the order. The customer can then place the order, which incorporates the personalized price and availability information returned by Axway API Gateway.

While enabling these functions, Axway API Gateway also protects the back-end by performing thorough checks and analysis of content, and accelerates response times by caching API calls, thereby enhancing the customer experience.

Customers access their order wish list on the move

As part of the initial rollout, the solution provides access to the order-entry process from a mobile device. Using the camera of an Android phone, customers can scan the bar code of items to be reordered, add them to their wish list and assign quantities. They can also search the online catalog using the app.

The wish list can be created offline, if needed. Customers can complete the process later when internet access is available, and transfer the wish list to their shopping basket. Multiple wish lists can be created for different areas of activity, and quantities set for each item. An entire wish list can be moved to the shopping basket with a single keystroke.

“For us, the Axway solution is all about meeting customer expectations for new, modern online ordering possibilities. It will help us improve process efficiency, reduce costs and stay ahead of the competition.”

Marion Roethgen, Leader eTransactions EMEA
Axalta Coating Systems Germany GmbH

 

An enhanced online store with customer-service capabilities

Following full-scale deployment of the order-entry solution, and leveraging the fast implementation of new APIs, Axalta plans to roll out a series of additional capabilities to enhance and improve the site. 

“Our customers don’t just see this as an online store, but as a customer-service portal,” explained Roethgen. “It will enable customers to have a fine-grained picture of their costs and their order history, with information sorted according to the criteria important to them.”

A competitive advantage and new sales opportunities

As the platform continues its full-scale rollout, the key benefits of the Axway solution have already become clear:

  • Process optimization. By standardizing and automating the order-entry process, the Axway solution streamlines new order input and processing, while eliminating the manual entry of orders.
  • New business opportunities. The Axway solution provides new opportunities for customized marketing, cross-selling, sale of services that are currently given away, and completely new sales channels, such as online brands sold only over the web — all while providing 24/7 access to customers.
  • Strong data security and monitoring. Axway API Gateway governs the flow of data, providing API management, acting as gatekeeper for access over the internet, and providing central visibility over all integrations, together with the Axway TSIM platform.
  • Competitive differentiation. In the traditional paint and coating business, Axalta is taking a major stride ahead to position itself clearly as the company that responds to customer demand for new services.

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