Ship in 1/3 the Time Through Process Improvement
EmbTrak helped a major apparel decorator reduce order to ship time by 2/3 without increasing labor or equipment.
The Process Control Department at a large decorated apparel operation found that embroidered apparel orders generated an average of 35 documents per order and required an average of 15 to 20 days from the time a purchase order was received until the goods were shipped. Management was surprised by these figures. Sales reps were frustrated. Operations people were stressed.
Like all Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, the company's ERP lacked the capability to handle decorated apparel orders with their extensive design file and thread color data. This forced CSRs, preparation departments and production departments to rely on a complex of paper documents, emails and spreadsheets to manage orders. And viewing or proofing a stitch file required them to open standalone digitizing software.
Senior management realized that the company could not achieve long term financial goals without major improvements to the order fulfillment process.
The Vice-President of Operations engaged EmbTrak to implement the EmbTrak decorated products fulfillment system, which was already in use by many of the company’s competitors. EmbTrak and the company’s in-house Process Control staff met with the operations staff to define the current process and determine the business requirements in order for the organization to achieve competitive turn time, quality standards and cost levels. Best practices based on EmbTrak’s experience at other major apparel decorators were implemented throughout fulfillment departments. EmbTrak worked with individual managers and users to discuss changes and encourage adoption. EmbTrak software was installed and also interfaced with the ERP so that orders were seamlessly passed from one system to another. Undecorated orders were entered into the ERP as before, but now orders wer passed to EmbTrak for where the CSR could add decoration details. EmbTrak then handled the rest of the fulfillment process up to the point of release for shipment.
Because EmbTrak software integrates the viewing of actual stitch files in the order screens and even creation of colored proofs, the need for copying and pasting images from outside software was eliminated. Logo file selection, thread color selection, color proofing, and creation of highly detailed work orders could all be done in the EmbTrak system. EmbTrak’s configurable work flow engine allowed orders to be routed individually based on order characteristics. This eliminated the need to manually advance paper forms or send emails about status. Order tracking and status could be determined instantly by any EmbTrak user.
Although customization is not normally part of an EmbTrak engagement, in this case EmbTrak was asked to develop a custom status interface with the ERP so all ERP users could have visibility into decoration order status. EmbTrak also co-developed an advanced Data Warehouse in order to provide highly accurate analytical data to management about decoration order fulfillment.
The Process Control Department determined that one year after the EmbTrak implementation the average order time over a 6 month comparison period had fallen to 6.05 days. This was an improvement of approximately 66% over the average order turn time prior to the EmbTrak implementation.
EmbTrak has continued to be the primary vehicle for process improvement. As the company’s EmbTrak Project Coordinator said, “EmbTrak has transformed our decoration process. We could not be competitive without it.”