Reference report -
Frottana Textil GmbH & CO. KG


From historical IT generations to modern IT structures

Thanks to the MÖVE brand, the Saxon company frottana Textil GmbH & Co. KG gained a worldwide reputation with its high-quality terry products, which are manufactured and finished in Großschönau. The company was founded in the 1960s by numerous private companies, from which the "VEB frottana Großschönau" and finally frottana GmbH emerged in 1990. Today's company was established in 1992 in the course of privatization and is considered one of the most modern textile companies.

"Since 1999, the entire production with state-of-the-art weaving and finishing technology has been located in Großschönau," explains IT manager Lothar Schmidt, who at the time was confronted with numerous historically grown IT architectures due to many company takeovers and mergers. "frottana has always relied on modern technologies in all areas and it was therefore foreseeable that we would change the IT landscape."

For historical reasons, the company was still working with the now defunct ERP system "ALX Komet" from Siemens, which was taken over by Baan in 1997. It was responsible for data processing in the areas of sales, purchasing, financial accounting and human resources. When this solution was discontinued at the end of 2002 and the then production solution "ITF" for the weaving mill also reached its limits, the company was practically forced to look for alternatives.

Gentle pressure for new solutions

"Of course you can continue to use software even if it is no longer supported by the manufacturer," says Lothar Schmidt, who is also Head of Organization and Human Resources in addition to his role as Head of IT. "However, for compliance reasons, we had to find another solution quickly, especially for HR". It was therefore not the primary goal to find a single system for all areas, but rather several "ideal" solutions that could be integrated according to the respective requirements. Nevertheless, frottana also looked at several complete providers such as SAP or Baan. However, after initial discussions, the decision was made to address the ERP issue separately from the solutions for financial accounting and human resources.

The decision for the HR solution was made in favor of Navision, which also offered itself as a complete solution for the ERP tasks. frottana, however, decided against it. The textile-weighted ERP requirement profile with IT concept that had emerged in the meantime could not be satisfactorily fulfilled by Navision and so frottana obtained offers from several providers.

"Some providers seemed dubious to us because they promised us illusory implementation times of just a few days," reports Lothar Schmidt. After the first project meetings, it was clear to him that the real effort would lie in explaining the processing steps. "Our production starts with warp production and you also need to understand how a weaving mill weave works. As software providers do not normally have such specialized knowledge, a lot of explanations or briefings are essential. I've heard of companies hiring special employees for this or assigning them full-time," reports Lothar Schmidt. "I had to avoid this effort for frottana in any case".

Industry expertise is decisive

In contrast to other providers, update texware was not only able to score points with an industry-specific solution, but also with personal expertise. Convincing reasons for frottana to opt for the complete ERP solution at the first attempt. texware/CS to decide.

"We were also impressed by update texware's implementation," continues Lothar Schmidt. "In some cases, it was update's project engineers who provided valuable advice on problem areas that we had not considered".

From 2004 texware/CS the IT solution for purchasing, merchandise management, scheduling, sales and, from 2005, also for all production areas from the preliminary work to weaving, finishing and sewing. The conversion of the areas was carried out step by step, with the integration of production being the last to take place - the previous ITF solution simply continued to run in the meantime. The production data acquisition system introduced subsequently texware/Monitoring for recording machine data and utilization was successfully converted to the new web technology last year.

In the course of the changeover to texware/CS The implementation of a new solution for financial accounting also took place - an area that texware/CS In close consultation with update texware, frottana searched for a provider and opted for the financial accounting package of the ProALPHA ERP solution. This solution works like texware/CS was also based on the Progress database system, allowing relatively simple integration into the overall solution.

Planning security and greater transparency

"We now have a much better overview of the entire production process and have been able to evaluate individual work steps and include them in the calculation ever since," summarizes Lothar Schmidt. "For example, if we receive a customer request for the production of a specific variant, we can predict exactly how long the finished production would take at any given time and how much work is to be expected. This was previously only possible with a great deal of effort and allows us to plan better and make optimum use of all resources.

The goal was comprehensive transparency and traceability of processes at all levels - frottana hoped to gain several advantages as a result: In addition to an increase in productivity, there would also be an improvement in customer relations thanks to better offers or more precise delivery promises, as well as greater efficiency in purchasing and all scheduling processes. This goal was achieved and Lothar Schmidt is not losing sight of it: "Constant changes are unavoidable, but together with update texware, I am calmly facing new challenges. update texware is not only a software provider for us, but also a reliable and competent partner who is a pleasure to work with."

Regular user meeting ensures dialog

Lothar Schmidt is a regular participant at update texware's annual user meeting and thus benefits from first-hand news regarding new updates and functional enhancements. "These are consistently positive experiences, because you meet colleagues from the industry and hear about their problems and their suggestions for improvements," states Lothar Schmidt. update texware takes these suggestions very seriously and implements some of them in future releases. "Before texware/CS I was always very careful when installing new updates - sometimes it took several days for everything to run smoothly again," says Lothar Schmidt. With texware/CS this has gone rather smoothly so far. "And even if there were a problem due to our special adaptations, for example, it would usually be solved within a day by a specially assigned update texware consultant."

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Lothar Schmidt Former Head of Organization, IT and Human Resources, frottana Textil GmbH & Co. KG, Großschönau

"Together with update texware, we have realized a solution that exceeds our original expectations. A reliable and competent partner who is a pleasure to work with."