Reference report -
Anker Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co KG

Reference report - Anker Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co KG

Tradition at the highest IT level

ANKER carpets can be found in many banks, hotels and office buildings as well as in the Bundestag, the Federal Chancellery and numerous ministries. Even major airlines have special woven carpets developed by ANKER. Since it was founded more than 160 years ago, the Düren-based family business with around 265 employees has repeatedly set standards for sustainability in textile floor coverings produced in-house.

The long-established Düren-based company ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co KG has been relying on IT support for over 60 years. The company was one of the few German IBM customers back in 1954 and wanted to ensure its long-term success through automation in production and administrative areas. In addition, the company repeatedly gained a competitive edge through innovative products and its own processes, which it has been able to maintain to this day.

"Our classic PERLON RIPS was developed back in 1959 and is now the most successful textile flooring system in the world, with well over 20 million square meters laid," enthuses Kamillus Wojczyk, authorized signatory and head of IT at the company for 20 years. Such success is not possible without the targeted use of IT, which is why ANKER Teppichboden began automating production and administrative processes at an early stage. In the 1980s, an IBM AS/400 took over mainly administrative tasks via partially autonomous and self-developed applications for purchasing, warehousing and production.

Isolated processes due to too many media breaks

Although the AS/400 provided a remedy, there was no superordinate system that integrated all processes and departments consistently. There were too many media disruptions due to different isolated solutions, the processes accessed different data and information sometimes had to be synchronized manually. There was no transparency regarding parts lists or order status, inaccurate costing and hardly any sales support in terms of quotations or delivery status. Key business figures on order profitability or downtimes were not available in the desired clarity or not at all. However, the aim was not only to increase productivity in production, but above all to support the sales department and make all relevant order data accessible in order to adequately respond to customer inquiries.

Although ANKER now employed a team of programmers to maintain and expand the existing solutions, it soon became clear that networking the individual solutions into an integrated system would not work in the long term. ANKER Teppichboden wanted a solid overall solution that would really support all departments effectively and provide business data "on the side", so to speak, in order to form the best basis for business decisions.

Professional advice for optimal decision-making

"In 2004, we decided to look around for a suitable ERP solution as professionally as possible," confesses Kamillus Wojczyk. At the time, he led a project team that was tasked with compiling all internal requirements. In order to take all aspects into account, Wojczyk commissioned a vendor-neutral consultancy firm to support the company in selecting the most suitable business software.

An additional aspect at that time was the consideration of the future hardware architecture and the resulting cost factor. In order to find the optimum solution, it was considered replacing the AS/400 architecture or supplementing it in a meaningful way.

The numerous joint workshops with the consulting firm resulted in a 280-page specification with a detailed requirements profile for ANKER Teppichboden. A search in their provider database resulted in a list of 10 possible ERP providers. To narrow down the selection, a number of knock-out criteria were defined, which reduced the list to 5 possible ERP providers.

Personal contact is essential when selecting a provider

In order to be able to evaluate the selected providers as quickly as possible, the requirements profile was reduced to around 10 pages and discussed with each of the five providers personally in a meeting with the project team. "One software manufacturer disqualified itself in the very first meeting. Due to its personnel structure, it would not have been able to implement our requirements," says Wojczyk. "I therefore consider it essential to get to know them personally."

After this meeting, the remaining 4 providers submitted their offers, which differed only slightly in terms of price. "For me, update texware was already the favorite at this point, as I felt they provided the best advice and also understood our problems," admits Wojczyk. "Nevertheless, I insisted on objective coordination within the team in order to find the best solution for ANKER."

The choice was not easy and was narrowly decided on the solution texware/CSthe IT manager's favorite. "I was happy, because at update texware, IT expertise was uniquely paired with insider knowledge of textile production," reports Wojczyk. "You don't have to explain things at length, they just know their stuff."

Complete solution instead of more "islands"

The comprehensive contract was signed and the order placed in mid-2005. It was also a matter of implementing numerous adaptations. Including the new hardware, the investment amounted to an almost 7-digit sum. ANKER purchased the complete package from update texware: purchasing, warehouse management, production, sales and CRM are all handled by the ERP solution provider from Kulmbach. The carded yarn spinning mill belonging to ANKER was also integrated into the overall solution via VPN.

After just under a year texware/CS and has been running to the complete satisfaction of ANKER Teppichboden ever since. Thanks to adaptations and the integration of other departments, there is continuous cooperation with update texware. For example, the forklift control system developed by ANKER itself ensures that all warehouse movements from texware/CS and integrated into the system. The data exchange (EDI) with externally connected systems was greatly improved by the overall solution from update texware, and numerous "micro solutions" were also implemented on a customer-specific basis in close coordination with update texware. "Our team at update texware is always a real support, because they know all the details of our system and always deliver suitable added value for us," states Wojczyk. After all, they have known each other for some time.

Since then, ANKER has benefited from the high level of transparency that the system provides thanks to its integration into all production and administrative processes. "We know at all times where each order is, when it was started, when it will be delivered and what the contribution margin is," summarizes Wojczyk. "In the past, the best we could have done was estimate that."

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Kamillus Wojczyk Authorized signatory and IT manager at ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co KG, Düren

"update texware uniquely combines ERP solution quality with the highest level of expertise in textile production. This ultimately saved a considerable amount of time during planning and implementation."

Kamillus Wojczyk Authorized signatory and IT manager at ANKER Gebr. Schoeller GmbH + Co KG, Düren

"It's fun to work with a software supplier that also understands our core business and creates added value for us that others don't even recognize."