Valley Apparel: Automating order processing with AccuMark batch processing.
Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, VALLEY APPAREL is a family-owned and operated manufacturer of outerwear for military and law enforcement personnel. Since 2001, the company has been producing a full line of parkas, jackets and pants.
Valley Apparel spends as much as $75 per yard for material so the cost of errors can be significant. In the past, the company’s manual order entry process led to duplicate data entry mistakes. These data entry errors led them to have to recreate markers and, in some cases, re-cut material. There was simply not enough time in the day to enter all orders, process the jobs and create the necessary markers – without errors.
And, because the marker maker often had to enter the same data in multiple places, he found it difficult to handle production peaks. As an existing AccuMark® user, Valley Apparel turned to Gerber to find a way to automate their production process. AccuMark Batch Processing, which automates production by creating marker and cut files with minimal human intervention, was the solution.
“Discovering AccuMark Batch Processing was like finding gold. With some custom programming and the use of AccuMark’s Batch Processing, I’m saving at least 45 minutes to an hour on each production order,” said Matt Keough, pattern/marker maker at Valley Apparel.
AccuMark Batch Processing enables Valley Apparel to automate the process from AccuMark order entry through marker file creation. Customer service orders are translated into AccuMark orders. Since the process is virtually hands off, errors are significantly reduced and the process is streamlined.
Valley Apparel also takes advantage of powerful reporting capabilities using a CAD relational database. This enables them to share important statistical data across the company, even with non-AccuMark users. This data helps Valley Apparel predict future fabric orders, material utilization, yields and costs.
“AccuMark is extremely flexible,” noted Keough. “We developed our entire process without an IT department or dedicated servers. We realized that sophisticated systems requiring complex implementations were not necessary. Most of what we needed was already built into AccuMark.”
The company is currently exploring the use of AccuNest™ to automatically generate markers. This would extend hands-free order processing through the making of all markers.
The Client: Valley Apparel
Brief about client business: Valley Apparel is a Tennessee, USA-based manufacturer of parkas and flame-retardant outerwear used by law enforcement and U.S. military personnel.
The Challenge: In the past, Valley Apparel’s order entry process was largely manual. As order volumes increased, employees often struggled to keep pace, and errors in data entry resulted.
The Solution: Gerber’s AccuMark® software, with its powerful Batch Processing capability, automated nearly all processes – from order entry through marker file creation. Using a set of pre-defined tasks within AccuMark, Batch Processing is able to extract data from an order entry system and generate required marker files with minimal human intervention.
The Benefits: AccuMark’s Batch Processing capability enabled Valley Apparel’s production team to re-capture hours each day, improve material utilization and eliminate errors. Employees successfully transitioned from doing simple data entry to more value-added tasks that positively affect the company’s bottom line.
- With AccuMark Batch Processing, Valley Apparel’s production team saves 45 minutes to one hour (20-25 percent of their day) on each production order.
- The company has reduced material costs because markers are made correctly the first time. Re-cuts are not necessary.
- AccuMark’s integration with the company’s relational database allowed for expanded reporting capabilities, giving managers and executives enhanced visibility into their entire production process.
- The company has minimized manual data entry, freeing employees to focus on value-added tasks, including the making of more complex markers.
- Valley Apparel’s marker maker no longer needs to spend time manually creating AccuMark orders. Batch Processing automatically creates and processes orders.
- Batch Processing has enabled Valley Apparel to better manage multiple processes. As a result, they are able to increase their production without adding human resources.
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