Associated Weavers: Carpet Manufacturer Modernizes With SAP Solution
- Modernize the planning process to meet changing industry demands.
- New processes, a new SAP production planning solution and a custom client-specific problem-solving tool.
- Ability to tightly control inventory,
- reduce delivery time by 50 percent and increase flexibility in manufacturing processes.
Fashion trends today increasingly influence tastes in carpet color and design, and demand continues to rise for greater variety. Mass production is also giving way to custom products, and retailers now expect manufacturers to maintain larger inventories, rather than carry stock themselves. To keep pace with these changes, Associated Weavers, a top manufacturer in the global carpet market, needed to modernize its processes.
Associated Weavers uses a complex planning process, partly due to its design printers’ high set-up cost. When the company prints a specific carpet design, for example, it needs to be certain it will not need to print it again any time soon. Also, when the company uses colored yarns for nonprinted designs, the entire creel (or spool) of yarn must be used because removing partially used creels from the machines is extremely expensive.
Associated Weavers, which annually produces 40 million square meters (m²) of carpet, has to plan from the bottom up, starting with such potential bottlenecks as insufficient material or capacity for making a particular carpet.
Since a classic MRP system was not up to the challenge of eliminating such bottlenecks, Associated Weavers decided to work with us to implement an SAP Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO) Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling (PPDS) system.
The company needed the system to ensure that when they planned to produce a product, it would be ready by its delivery date, the planned amount of finished product corresponded with the underlying level of work in process, and that small shortages would not lead to additional planning.
Today, Associated Weavers can finalize production planning in one week. This enables the company to deliver a product within two weeks of an order if the necessary raw materials are available. The new planning system also helps the manufacturer significantly improve its inventory management and reduce stock by 10 to 20 percent.
Another plus? The new system allows Associated Weavers to rapidly modify its planning when clients suddenly place new orders, without endangering other confirmed orders. This has become increasingly important, as custom work has grown from a fraction of Associated Weavers’ orders to 30 to 40 percent today. In addition, clients are virtually unwilling to tolerate any variance in the length of the rolls of finished product. That means that these orders have to be entered into the planning system with the necessary priority.
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