Situation

Our client was a custom clothing manufacturer that makes short run specialty garments for major clothing brand retailers and government organizations.  one of the last independent patio stone and interlocking brick production company. The company is a 100% Canadian owned and operated company in business since the 1980’s with a small US manufacturing facility complimenting the main Ontario factory.

Requirements

Schroeder & Schroeder was commissioned to help the company select a short list of business software vendors that could help them modernize their existing IT infrastructure by:

  • Improving communications within the company
  • Capture operations data off the shop floor
  • Connect the on-line order system into the factory operations
  • Eliminate non-value add activities of managing external sales representatives

Challenges

The main challenges faced on this project included:

  • Existing software consisted of an entry level accounting system and a custom coded website ordering system
  • Manual operations across all business processes and through the factory
  • No standardized business processes focusing on client service
  • Command and control style operations limiting the growth capability of the company
  • Poor communications and no integration of Canadian factory operations with US factory operations
  • Company expansion through acquisition bringing new business and staff with different processes and culture

Actions

After analyzing the project requirements our consultants addressed the challenges presented and performed the following actions to deliver results to the client:

  1. Conducted a Business Practice Analysis – used Lean methods including Value Stream Mapping, Ishikawa Diagramming, and 5S Analysis, to identify challenges. A business process map and process type documentation was created for the company operations. A requirements analysis was completed and vetted with the company staff
  2. RFP Generation and Release – A software market survey was completed and a long list of vendors identified. A Request for Proposal (RFP) document complete with the company requirements was created, vetted with the Client and released to the long list of vendors.  All communications with the vendors were managed by the Schroeder team.
  3. Proposal Review – The proposals submitted by the long list of vendors was reviewed by the Schroeder team for completeness and accuracy and an overall summary of responses leading to a recommended short list of vendors was created
  4. Results Presentation – The final results of the RFP process and the recommendations of the Schroeder team were delivered to the Client

Results

Highlights of the results obtained in execution of our approach were:

  • A simplified company wide business process map.
  • A listing of processes and current state operating methods.
  • A spreadsheet of current process operating methods complete with a customer verified priority for process automation including 364 unique requirements
  • A 12 page RFP word document
  • A 12 vendor long list of potential suppliers of a complete business software package.
  • Receipt of 3 proposals from vendors in response to the RFP. It was found that many vendors in the apparel industry are not capable of supporting the Clients custom manufacturing business model.  There are better suited to large brand repetitive manufacturing using outsourced off shore manufacturing which requires distribution support only.
  • Recommendation to focus on one vendor that is specialized in the Clients operations and an has helped automated their competitor’s business
  • Development of a go-forward plan to complete a features and functions presentation of two vendors including the recommended vendor to prove the capability of the recommended vendor.

Upon conclusion of the project, all key success factors had been achieved, and the client was highly satisfied with both the project deliverables and the value added by Schroeder & Schroeder Inc.