As the leader in the corporate uniform market, Cintas knows what it takes to deliver the highest quality products and services as quickly as possible. Today, Cintas operates nearly 500 facilities, which includes five manufacturing operations and 11 distribution centers.
Cintas development and production operations are spread all across North America. A majority of the company’s pattern making, grading and nesting is done in Cincinnati and Chicago. The files are then sent to one of their production facilities in Mexico or Honduras.
Communicating across the supply chain.
With their supply chain split across several different facilities around the world, Cintas knew they needed to be able to seamlessly send files from one location to another rather quickly. Several years ago, Cintas began integrating Gerber Technology’s integrated solutions to fully connect their workflow from CAD to cut room, which allowed them to easily communicate between the different facilities.
Today, Cintas leverages Gerber’s complete end-to-end solution which includes product lifecycle management software, YuniquePLM®, design and pattern making solution, AccuMark®, automated nesting solution, AccuNest™, spread and cut planning software, AccuPlan™, and several automated cutting solutions.
Connecting the entire supply chain.
In 2017, Cintas became the first Gerber customer to adopt the cloud version of YuniquePLM. The speed of the cloud was very important to their entire business to ensure they were getting real-time data to seamlessly connect their partners across every division, globally. Since integrating YuniquePLM, Cintas has streamlined communication and gained valuable insight into their operations.
Maximizing savings and prioritizing precision.
As a uniform company, Cintas works with many different industries and sizes, and marker making is an extremely important part of their process. Cintas was relying solely on manual nesting. They were looking for software that could meet and exceed their high utilization standards and found AccuNest would do it.
Since implementing AccuNest, Cintas is able to see and compare manual nests to those generated by AccuNest to easily decide which styles work best manually nested and which are best with automation.
“Almost 2 years ago we ran tests to determine where to use AccuNest to gain the most fabric savings,” said Liza Durbin of Cintas. “We ran 200-300+ markers manually and in AccuNest. By knowing the correct styles to run through AccuNest, and the ones that were better made manually, we saved over 30 yards per week in overall marker length. Depending on style, fabric and ply height, we’re easily able to save over 2,000 yards per week in total.”
After developing markers, Cintas is able to easily prepare the files and send them off to their respective cutting centers. The company utilizes Gerber’s AccuPlan to streamline their planning process which has helped them save at least a day of lead time.
Once markers and cut plans are generated, Cintas can quickly send all information to the GERBERcutter®, which empowers them to cut quickly with absolute precision.
Making the leap to 3D.
Technical Design partners of Design Collective® by Cintas initially began as BETA users for Gerber’s AccuMark 3D, testing the software by creating virtual samples, and soon realized how beneficial 3D would be to the company’s product development, production timeline and associated costs. In July of 2020, Design Collective® by Cintas’ partners joined Gerber’s 3D Success Program and began working with 3D experts to purchase additional licenses to enhance the company’s pattern making capabilities.
“I recognize this is where the industry is going and we don’t want to be left behind or play catch up,” said Jeanne Ottenweller, Production Pattern Design Manager. “We spend a lot of money on physical samples and working with fit models, so we’re looking to shrink those budgets.”
Cintas works with a wide range of sizes and often gets requests for unique sizes. With AccuMark 3D, the company can clearly visualize the style and fit of the garment on the exact size they need.
Cintas hopes that by integrating 3D into their supply chain, they’ll be able to cut down on sample making expenses, reduce production and fit issues, and create great visuals that can be used for marketing and sales purposes.
Handling COVID demands.
When the COVID pandemic hit, Cintas transitioned to working remotely. The company’s design and production teams were able to access Gerber’s solutions from their homes allowing them to still remain productive. Cintas was also able to seamlessly transition to producing personal protective equipment (PPE) to help keep their community safe.
Cintas is looking into Gerber’s User Based Licensing. With many employees working remotely throughout the pandemic, Cintas realized this could be a good option. User Based Licensing will allow users to access the software easier through a secure email address.