Cosentino Finds a Solid Foundation for Digital Transformation
A family granite-mining business goes global through digital transformation
Founded more than 40 years ago in Cantoria, Almeria, Spain, the family-owned Cosentino Group got its start mining the hills for marble and granite and selling the unfinished slabs to stonemasons in southern Europe. It has since made myriad strides to digital innovation.
The family business began to grow when the demand for high-end kitchens and baths went global—and along with market growth came consumer engagement. People wanted the option to visit stores where they could envision their ideal homes, view surface options, and engage directly with suppliers. They wanted fast product availability and virtual reality showrooms. For Cosentino, this meant complete business reinvention. Fortunately, it had made a series of decisions that proved visionary and would aid in its pivot from a raw marble slab wholesaler to a direct-to-consumer channel.
Mining a luxury brand
In just 40 years, and while remaining family-owned, Cosentino transformed from a local marble quarry with 17 employees to an international digitally driven provider known for fine surfaces and operational excellence. Keeping collaboration at the heart of its growth, Consentino used TIBCO's solid integration platform to seamlessly connect its enterprise of nearly 5,000 employees on five continents. "We think holistically about our business today," says Gemma Hernández, CIO. "We have a global vision. We closed with $1 billion USD last year—but we are first a family-owned business."
Going global with the help of automation
Even the most prepared businesses find growth challenging. As the brand grew in popularity and sales expanded beyond southern Europe, longer delivery times resulted. In response, Cosentino set up regional distribution centers around the world, which continue to evolve as the business transforms. "Right now, our main obstacle is transforming into a true global company without losing our holistic point of view," stated Hernández.
Today, with a presence in 32 countries and distribution throughout more than 80, there are shipping and transportation challenges. "We have a complex problem in that we are a small company that must think about logistics, shipping, storage facilities, and delivering farther and faster to keep the customer happy," Hernández explained.
Expansion required hiring employees throughout the world, which required complying with unique and often complex regulations. "Different markets have different particularities, so automation with the help of TIBCO was the only way to be sustainable," said Hernández. "We want to adhere to local regulations, but we want to keep it as simple as possible, and we want to maintain our culture, worldwide."
Managing with one unified platform
With expansion also came the need to scale operations and update business processes. The focus turned to building a unified platform of data sources, systems, and applications that would allow data sharing and seamless execution. The company began a search for an integration solution that could rise to the occasion.
Integrating global IT systems is challenging, as is accounting for different geographies and quarries that contain different types of stone and other raw materials that need unique mining equipment. "We want to keep our system simple, remove any excess data that doesn't add value. Otherwise, we will be managing our data at a rate that is not going to be sustainable," Hernández said.
Another issue was overuse of phone and email. "One of our objectives is to be more productive and avoid non value-add activity," Hernández said. "When you are sending and receiving emails all day, you end up with a lot of emails and an inability to prioritize your work."
The integration solution connected enterprise systems used for communication. "We integrated our internal messaging system and now only use email for urgent purposes," explained Jonathan Saul Torres Diaz of Consentino IT architecture. "It's not just reducing the use of email but that we are now appropriately using the correct communication channels."
Bridging gaps with the Cloud
Today the entire company has an integrated, global architecture. "TIBCO is the glue that keeps our services together. Different technologies can all be orchestrated from one place. The company feels that technology is the best strategy, so we are willing to invest in the best," said Hernández.
TIBCO was not the first integration provider Cosentino worked with, but the company decided to make the switch because TIBCO is a single-platform, cloud-based solution. "For technical staff, the integration is really good, easy to implement, and 100 percent secure," Hernández said. "For key business users, modeling business processes is really easy to learn." The clear way that processes are laid out so users can see how they work and the impact that changes will have on a process, as well as the ability to define rules to support automated decisions, were also key points.
Because Cosentino is in a small rural valley, it was difficult to find the right people with the right integration knowledge. However, TIBCO's cloud-based solution handles the maintenance and support for the entire platform, so IT does not have to be concerned with infrastructure, maintenance, and software upgrades.
"Most of our enterprise was oriented around an on-premises, legacy, transaction-based style, so one of the main pillars in our digital transformation was moving to the cloud. We needed to be able to integrate with other systems through a platform capable of providing the flexibility and agility to create new developments," Diaz said. "We now have proper process discovery, and we don't have to be attached to our legacy system. We can move forward with the cloud and start embracing new technologies."
Exposing APIs for improving KPIs
Digital technologies are vital to Cosentino's growth, but the company was lacking the tools necessary to be more agile, create new products, and effectively communicate with partners. The business wasn't just working B2B with stonemasons anymore, it was engaging with architects, designers, builders, and other influencers. Selling products through these companies was a strenuous manual process because Cosentino didn't have the right tools to securely and seamlessly create those connections.
To keep its new partners happy, Cosentino adopted a modern strategy. It developed Consentino City Centers to show its products to designers and architects in major cities around the world and created an app that shows a virtual reality view of the product in the intended space. It also redesigned the demand chain to allow a more systematic capture of interest and better connect consumers, designers, stonemasons, prescriptors and fabricators.
After implementing these changes, Cosentino KPIs revealed just how beneficial a connected business was. "In terms of KPIs, the difference is huge. Before, developing one capability could take three to six months. Nowadays, we have a weekly delivery into production systems. We are reducing IT time-to-market from 12 to 24 weeks to one," exclaimed Diaz.
Similarly, Cosentino’s customers see an improved experience. "The customer is starting to believe in our agility, and they are becoming evangelists. It's not us saying we've reached our goal, it's our customers saying that."
Ensuring that their stonemason and fabricator customers are pleased with their experience is the most important indicator of the company's success. In recent months, customer satisfaction has increased by more than 30 percent. In addition, reduced costs and increased productivity are both results of the new platform. Further, the company recently crossed the enviable threshold of $1 billion in revenue.
Company-wide communication has vastly improved since integrating an internal messaging system. The onboarding process is now completely digitized. Communication with customers is streamlined, as well. “Customers used to have to wait two or three days to find out if a product was in stock, its cost, or when it could be delivered. Now, in a matter of less than a minute, we can give the customer that information," Diaz said.
Solving for trust, stability, function, and fit
Having one solid and trusted provider for the entirety of its technology needs was key for Cosentino. "It is a great advantage to have only one trusted source for all of our capabilities and support," Diaz said, "because you have to reach a level where you can be responsible for your own technology."
Cosentino sought a platform that was easy to implement and manage. Business owners liked the clear way processes were laid out, showing the method and impact of a process change. In addition, the ability to define rules supporting automated decisions to reduce human involvement was also a huge selling point.
"We feel that TIBCO DNA is similar to Cosentino DNA. In every single decision we make, we consider the functional outcome, but we also consider the people behind these decisions. We feel really comfortable with the TIBCO culture, which is why we selected them."