In this interview we get to know Arif Atkinson, one of the key people behind shop.hexagonmi.com.
1. What is your name and position within Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division?
My name is Arif Atkinson, and my position is eCommerce Manager for EMEA.
2. How did you get into this line of work?
Before joining Hexagon I helped develop ecommerce platforms in the technology sector, with Xerox and Brother. I see ecommerce as part of the digital transformation journey and these platforms were key projects. It’s all about making sure the ecommerce solutions fit that particular business to deliver better customer service and productivity. Ecommerce represents a significant revenue stream for Brother and Xerox across Europe. The initiatives meant big changes both in our technology and the business culture.
I joined Hexagon in October 2018 and I’m really enjoying it – great people, great environment. It’s a good challenge too – with a digital sales channel it’s like being a parent: it needs looking after and there’s a lot of change!
3. What does your day-to-day look like at Hexagon?
Well, my internal customer is 15 commercial offices. I work with the different functions within them – be it sales, the back office, or marketing – so they feel confident and informed about the online shop and implement the required changes. As you can imagine, no two days are the same! We have regular face-to-face meetings for training and to get feedback on where things are strong and where we can improve.
Another big part of my role is meeting and speaking with customers, learning about what they want in terms of ordering from Hexagon and how our platform fits their needs. Naturally, the customer has a big impact on our road map. While there’s a big focus on current day-to-day tasks, there’s also a focus on thinking three to six months ahead to ensure that we can be responsive in the future.
4. What is currently available on shop.hexagonmi.com and what is upcoming?
Originally the online shop offered 450 products and supported four languages across a range of accessories and spare parts for CMMs, laser trackers, and portable measuring arms. Customers can order styli, sensor chargers and racks, stylus extensions, tracker reflectors, touch trigger probes, and so much more.
Now we have introduced three more languages and a whole new range of products, including Swift-Fix modular part-holding systems and more Absolute Arm accessories. Later this year we will add more accessories including m&h products and start to advertise training and services via shop.hexagonmi.com
5. Why is using shop.hexagonmi.com beneficial for customers?
The online shop is all about ensuring customers can get the right products, at the right price, at the right time.
The speed of delivery is an obvious benefit, with two working days average delivery across Europe. And customers are able to track their order via a unique UPS number, giving them complete control.
Our product line experts put a great deal of thought into product descriptions, specifications and images to help the customer easily select the product they need. The ordering process is very simple and convenient, allowing the customer to order when they want, i.e. 24/7.
A major future trend in business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce is giving the customer the kind of self-service options they need to manage their day-to-day business. Our online shop has all the capabilities to evolve and meet our future customer requirements.
Ultimately, the shop is all about access, speed, and availability.
6. What do you do for fun outside of Hexagon?
Walking, cooking, gardening, supporting Manchester United! I do a lot really – always trying to make the most of my free time. Hopefully I will have even more free time soon; currently I’m supporting my daughter with university applications. One of my biggest duties outside of Hexagon is Dad-Taxi!
7. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I love a challenge, which perhaps explains why on top of my work at Hexagon I’m a school governor! I’ve been working with a school in my local community for over five years, trying to help the school turn itself around and improve results. My role involves meeting every fortnight with the board, balancing budgets, discussing strategies for improvement, those sorts of things. It can be very challenging but incredibly rewarding. I really recommend community-based volunteering to anyone who can give the time.