Meet our customer hero
A small business with a vital mission
Medical Industrie GmBH & Co. KG is a small firm with a big mandate: supplying the medical products that help keep German workers safe. Its customers are some of the biggest names in German industry and government. And its sales team literally saves lives: among the 20,000 orders the company processes each year are AEDs (automated external defibrillators) to treat sudden cardiac arrests, masks to stop the spread of viruses, and hundreds of items to treat serious injuries, burns, and lacerations.
With so many products changing hands—and so much at stake—the company’s bottom line is highly dependent on efficiency. Today, that means the ability to quickly process orders, from the point of sale through delivery and payment. For years, as its customers abandoned paper and turned to e-procurement platforms, management sought a way to do this in an automated fashion: the manual entering of product, sales, and invoice data into portals was eating up valuable time and money and preventing staff from focusing on growing the business. When the coronavirus hit in 2020—and gloves, masks, and disinfectants began flying off the warehouse shelves—they realized it was time to act.
“The pandemic soaked up every resource available,” says Tobias Epstein, a member of the management team who handles IT matters for the company. “It made automation a top priority—and helped us realize that we needed an integration tool to connect data from our ERP directly with our customers’ platforms.”
The company’s choice, webMethods.io from Software AG, stood out for several reasons. To start, it offered one of the best hybrid integration solutions in the business. While Medical Industrie’s own digital sales platform, Shopware, and most of its customers’ purchasing portals were cloud-based, its long-trusted ERP remained housed on a server at its Düsseldorf-area headquarters. webMethods’ ability to connect this blend of on-premises and cloud-based systems with its hybrid Integration Platform-as-a-Service, or iPaaS, was thus indispensable.
webMethods’ Microservices Runtime, a lightweight container that can deliver integrations as microservices, helped make the platform fast and easy to use: its agile connectors can be developed once and re-used for multiple integrations, with little to no coding required. For a small company without a lot of in-house IT expertise, these out-of-the-box capabilities were essential. So, too, was Software AG’s flexible pricing model, which unlike many competitors’ is based on actual transactions.
“Paying for only what we use will allow us to easily scale as we continue on our automation journey,” Epstein says. “That was a major selling point.”
Medical Industrie would discover more value in Software AG when the time arrived to launch its new solution into action. The company entrusted Software AG’s Professional Services to get things started: the two-person team began by designing, developing, testing, and deploying an on-premises connector for the ERP. They next turned their attention to the e-procurement system of a large government customer, completing cloud-based integrations that will automate the processing of its 2,000 annual orders. Finally, they developed workflows to integrate Medical Industrie’s ERP with Shopware, thereby enabling the instant sharing of order information. Not only did this team do top-notch work; according to Epstein, its members also passed on expertise that will enable the company to complete such tasks itself moving forward.
“They recognized we weren’t integration experts, and they made sure we came away with a deeper understanding of how it all works,” he says.
With these initial integrations set to go live in early 2023, Epstein and his team are already thinking ahead: once all integrations are in place, Medical Industrie expects it will be able to automate 80% of order processing. The subsequent impact on productivity, says Epstein, will be “massive:” staff currently bogged down with filling out order information by hand will see that drudgery reduced by up to 95%—freeing them to focus on more productive tasks. Being connected to its customers’ portals, moreover, will also help cement those essential B2B relationships: companies and public sector institutions alike, after all, are less likely to switch to a competitor if their existing supplier is already plugged into their procurement system.
Ultimately, Medical Industrie’s Software AG partnership is part of a broader shift in strategy. Throughout its 33-year history, Epstein says, the company has been defined by “conservative, organic growth.” In the coming years, management is looking for that growth to accelerate—thanks in no small part to the efficiencies that come with digitalization. The connectivity offered by webMethods has already given the company a critical boost. And the best is still to come.