Reference Report - ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co. KG
Tradition on highest IT-Level
ANKER carpets can be found in many banks, hotels and office buildings as well as in the German Bundestag, in the Federal Chancellery and in numerous ministries. Even large airlines engage ANKER to develop specific woven carpets. Ever since its foundation more than 160 years ago, the family company from Dueren in Germany with its approximately 330 employees has been setting standards for sustainibility of textile carpets from own production.
For more than 60 years, the Dueren-based traditional company ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co. KG has been relying on the support of Information Technology. Already back in 1954, the company was among the few German IBM-customers and wanted to guarantee its long-term success by automation of its production and administration processes. Moreover the company repeatedly obtained and maintained until today a competitive edge by innovative products and self developed processes.
„Our classic PERLON RIPS was developed back in 1959 and with far more than 20 million sq. m. laid, it is the most successful textile floor cover system worldwide“ enthuses Kamillus Wojczyk, General Manager and for 20 years also CIO of the company. Without systematic IT-deployment, such a success would not be possible. Therefore ANKER carpets started early to automate production and administration processes. Then in the eighties, an IBM AS/400 took over mainly administrative tasks for partially autonomus and in-house developed applications for purchasing, warehousing and production.
Isolated processes caused by too many media disruptions
The AS/400 provided some remedy, nevertheless a superordinate system was missing that would consistently integrate all processes through all departments. Various isolated solutions caused too many media disruptions, processes used different data and information from different sources had in parts to be matched manually. There was no transparency on bills of material or status of orders, calculations were inaccurate and there was hardly sales support with regard to quotations or delivery status. Key Performance Indicators for the profitability of orders or idle time were either not precise enough or did not exist at all. However, not only was the productivity of the manufacturing process to be increased but also the support for the sales department to be improved. All relevant order data were to be made accessible in order to provide adequate reply to customer requests.
Although in the meantime ANKER employed a team of software developers who took care of the maintenance and enhancements of the existing solutions, it soon became evident that linking the standalone applications would not lead to a sustainable integrated system. ANKER was looking for a firm, comprehensive solution that would serve all departments effectively and virtually deliver business data along the way to provide the best basis for corporate decisions.
Professional advice for optimal decision making
„In 2004 we decided to search for an adequate ERP-solution as professionally as possible“, as Kamillus Wojczyk declares. At the time he was leading a project team that was supposed to collect all internal requirements. In order to take all aspects into account Wojczyk engaged Trovarit AG, a vendor neutral consulting company from Aachen. Trovarit sees itself as a market analyst and specialist for the selection of business software and offers various tools and databases to support companies to find the most adequate enterprise software.
In addition it was an important aspect to consider the future hardware architecture and the resulting costs. In order to have the chance to select the best solution it was taken into consideration to either replace the AS/400 architecture or to complement it in a reasonable way.
In numerous workshops with Trovarit a specification comprising 280 pages was prepared, that contained a detailed requirements profile for ANKER. A research in the Trovarit provider database resulted in a list of 10 potential ERP providers. In order to restrict that range, a list of knockout criteria was prepared by which the list was reduced to 5 potential ERP providers.
Personal contact indispensable in provider selection process
In order to evaluate the selected providers as quickly as possible the requirements profile was reduced to about 10 pages and discussed with each provider personally in a meeting with the project team. „One software provider already disqualified himself in the first meeting. Due to his personnel structure, he would not have been able to fulfill our requirements“ Wojczyk states. „Therefore it is indispensable to me, to get to know each other personally“.
After these meetings, the four providers remaining, handed in their quotations. These, however, differed only marginally in price. „At that time update texware was already my favourite, since I felt, they consulted us and understood our problems best“ Wojczyk admits.
„Nevertheless, I insisted on an objective team vote to find out the best solution for ANKER“. The choice was not easy and ended with a tight lead for the solution texware/CS, the CIOs favourite. „I was delighted, since update texware combined IT competence with insider knowledge of textile production in a unique way“, Wojczyk reports. „You do not have to give long explanations, they just know their business“.
Complete solution instead of more „Islands“
In the middle of 2005 the comprehensive contract was signed and the order placed with update texware. Another goal was to implement numerous adaptions. Including the new hardware the investment amounted almost to a 7-digit sum. ANKER purchased the complete update texware package: Purchase, Distribution, Production, Sales, and even CRM are managed by the solution of the ERP provider from Kulmbach. Even the woolen yarn spinning mill as a branch of ANKER has been integrated via VPN.
Less than a year later, texware/CS went live and has been running to ANKERs‘ full satisfaction ever since. There has been a continuous cooperation with update texware through adaptions and integration of further departments. All warehouse movements, for example, are registered in texware/CS through the ANKER inhouse-developed stacker control system, and integrated in the program. In total, the exchange of data with external systems (EDI) has been significantly improved by the complete solution of update texware. Moreover numerous customer specific small-scale solutions have been implemented in close coordination with update texware. „Our update texware team has always been a great support, since they know all the details of our system and always deliver appropriate additional benefit“ states Wojczyk. After all, both sides have known each other for quite a while.
ANKER has always profitted by the high transparency the solution provides through the integration of all production and manufacturing processes. „We know the status of an order at any time, when it was started, when it will be dispatched and the marginal return it will contribute“, Wojczyk sums up. „In earlier times we could at best have guessed.“
„It is great to work with a software provider who knows our core business, and creates additional benefits that others not even recognize.“
„update texware combines in a unique way quality of ERP-solutions with remarkable expert knowledge of textile manufacturing. That provided an enormous saving of time in planning and realization.“
General Manager and CIO at ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH & Co. KG, Düren
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