No matter when, no matter where, ordering via the Internet is quick and convenient. What has been long established in the consumer goods industry is now also being used to supply individually configurable mechanical components for special-purpose machinery and assembly automation. With the Misumi Web Ordering System (WOS), the entire ordering process can be carried out at www.misumi-europe.com - from searching for a product, configuring and downloading the corresponding CAD data containing all of the important information at a glance, right through to creating the quotation and placing the order.
Since the beginning of 2009, users have been able to order a wide range of tried-and-tested components consisting of standard, bought-in and custom-made mechanical parts via the new WOS, 24/7.
A WOS product search can be carried out using the component description (eg linear shaft) or - for someone familiar with what is on offer - a particularly fast search can be carried out using the Misumi code (eg SFAL) or the part number. The system can also be used in conjunction with the extensive main catalogue Mechanical Standard Components for Factory Automation; the corresponding catalogue pages are provided for each component, and PDF downloads containing all technical and commercial information for documentation purposes are also available.
After selecting the required component, the user receives an overview of the key technical product features as well as the option to complete a CAD configuration. The tried-and-tested CAD configurator from Misumi is integrated into the WOS. In addition to the neutral data previously available, native data is now also provided for all current CAD programs.
New components, which are added each time the catalogue is reprinted, are also continuously added to the WOS online catalogue. Using different menu tabs, the component is displayed in 2D with all of the required dimensions and possible additional options, or as a 3D model. The data for the parameterised components can then be downloaded in the chosen format.
After selecting the required parameters, the part number for the item is automatically generated. This avoids the possibility of mixing up numbers or letters as well as other potential errors that could occur when sending handwritten or typed requests by fax or email. When submitting an existing item number, this is immediately checked by the system and possible errors are highlighted so that they can be corrected. This means the Misumi sales department and customers do not need to deal with any unnecessary delays resulting from queries or amendments. The Misumi item number can be linked to a customer-specific part number also provided in the parts list, which can, for example, make it easier to check incoming goods at a later date.
Users can also upload parts lists from different applications including Word, Excel, SAP or ASCII text files using the copy-and-paste function. Any errors found in the request are also displayed in the list of results. WOS promptly determines prices and delivery times for components; if the parameters of the component are changed at a later date, the system updates the details, accordingly. The order is then transferred to the virtual shopping basket and, at the same time, all of the product data is transferred to the WOS quotation and order module. By clicking on the request quotation button, the quotation is generated with a delivery date. The quotation is available as a PDF file for documentation purposes or for other internal use.
Misumi created the WOS with an extensive quotation and order history. This allows users to call up a quotation at a later date and check, before placing the order, whether any changes have been made to prices or delivery times. Unlike conventional ordering systems, this can also be done during an evening or at the weekend. Users are therefore free to work completely independently of the Misumi office hours.
Stefan Pulver, Sales and Marketing Director at Misumi, is aware that many firms also work weekend shifts in order to get orders out on time. He says: "If a design engineer or an employee preparing the job then possibly has to wait until Monday morning to get important information, the workflow and productivity is delayed." Pulver says that, up to now, this service was missing in similar systems from other providers: "It is still necessary to communicate by fax or email. WOS is the first online shop where an order can be fully completed."
The new service - in keeping with the overall concept of the Japanese specialist for mechanical components - accords the utmost importance to the factor of time: the WOS offers technicians and buyers an advantage by providing them with information in real time, no matter where they are and no matter when they need it.
Misumi's WOS is available immediately in both English and German. French, Italian and Czech versions are going to be online in the second quarter of 2009. A user manual is already available to download in PDF format in all five languages; it is also available free of charge in printed format from Misumi Customer Service - simply request it by emailing email@example.com and specify the required language.