Apparel Magazine: Setlog and WWA Take Supply Chain Seminar on the Road

Apart from explaining the many advantages of the system and a demonstration of the application by Ralf Duester, president of Setlog, and Guido Brackelsberg, vice president of Setlog, Walter Wilhelm gave an overview of the present situation of the apparel market and the requirements this entails.

March 4, 2011

Posted On: 3/4/2011

Setlog and WWA Take Supply Chain Seminar on the Road

Feb. 10, 2011 saw the start of the seminar roadshow “Accelerate Your Supply Chain“ to which Setlog Corp. and Walter Wilhelm Associates invited retailers and brands from the apparel industry. Setlog introduced Europe’s leading SCM and order management system which is used by more than 6,000 users in over 50 countries.

Apart from explaining the many advantages of the system and a demonstration of the application by Ralf Duester, president of Setlog, and Guido Brackelsberg, vice president of Setlog, Walter Wilhelm gave an overview of the present situation of the apparel market and the requirements this entails. Jens Kollmeier, vice president supply chain management at Katag, Europe‘s biggest apparel buying cooperative, joined the seminar. Kollmeier explained the benefits of this software, which has been in use at Katag for nearly three years.

Setlog’s SCM and order management system has also been available in the U.S. since last year and for that purpose an office was set up in New York. Furthermore, Setlog and the leading management consultancy in the textile industry headed by Walter Wilhelm, formed a strategic partnership.

Walter Wilhelm supports Setlog with sales and has taken on further tasks during the implementation phase of the software. The OSCA (Online Supply Chain Accelerator) application is the first system to which all important partners of a retailer or brand are connected in order to control and manage the complete supply chain better and be more cost effective.

During his speech Wilhelm outlined the high importance of a well established IT landscape. In his opinion a collaborative SCM-system should be the kernel on the sourcing side. Processes in the apparel industry have become a lot more complex, compared to a few years ago and globalization has advanced enormously. Due to this, there are thousands of information bits daily, which must be processed and analysed fast.

ERP and PDM systems cannot cope with this workflow-process as well as the communication with suppliers, laboratories, technicians or logistic providers, resulting in a “black hole.” This means that the supply chain is disconnected in many places. An end-to-end solution for a transparent supply chain is of utmost importance, as the current PLM systems do not fulfill this task. It becomes ever more important as the order cycles are shortened, the number of collections has increased sharply and the customers’ expectations are on a very high level.

The problem has been exacerbated by the high price increases of raw materials, volatile logistic charges and dwindling capacities in China. “We need to keep an overview on things in order to react fast and flexibly," outlines Wilhelm as the objective. “This will virtually be impossible without an SCM system. The software sets standards. It offers all functions, is easy to install and operate. Setlog’s ten years of experience in the European market make this possible," explains Wilhelm.

In his presentation Duester explained which processes have to be taken into account and how the system can be adapted quickly and efficiently to individual customer requirements. The customer can choose from up to 50 available modules. In the course of going online, customers as well as the users at suppliers, agencies, logistic companies, testing institutes and retail stores will be trained and instructed. Immediately after that the button is pressed so that the complete sourcing process can be controlled centrally from this platform.

A user specific dashboard indicates at once what has to be done; an early warning system informs about critical situations or problems with deadlines and offers suggestions on how to overcome the problem. Dialog, analysis and document management functions complete the system. Thus, nearly all Excel sheets become obsolete and the e-mail traffic can be reduced by up to 80 percent, according to Duester.

The external supply chain partners will also benefit from the same added value leading to a high acceptance of the application with all parties involved. The consequence is an immense acceleration of processes and up to 50 percent of processing and logistic costs can be saved at the same time. “Given the competitive landscape, nobody can afford to waste time and money. Our system offers the benefit of a quick return on investment, which is 12 months at the most. Especially in the present economic situation, you will find no other system be it ERP, PLM or PDM, which offers a faster and more attractive ROI," Duester says.

Jens Kollmeier, who was significantly involved in implementing the SCM system at Katag, explained how it works. As Europe’s biggest apparel-buying cooperative Katag manufactures about 12 brands with 6-12 collections each for its 1,500 members and generates a turnover in excess of $1 billion. Altogether 25 million garments are produced with more than 200 suppliers around the globe. Before introducing the Setlog-systems, hundreds of Excel sheets were maintained and exchanged in order to control processes as far as possible. There was no comprehensive overview for the various departments or the collections. Standards, unambiguous workflow or a central exchange of data, were not defined.

“To stay on top of the supply chain, it cost us a lot of nerves and time, which nobody can afford," says Kollmeier as the situation at the time. After an extensive market analysis the decision was taken in favour of the European market leader Setlog, about three years ago. In the meantime 90 percent of all suppliers and logistic providers were integrated into the system. “The transparency achieved is enormous. Now we can anticipate and influence processes in a structured manner," says Kollmeier. Delivery deadlines and the quality of products have improved significantly. “But above all we have been able to save costs and satisfy our customers much better.”

According to Kollmeier, the SCM application has become the most important instrument next to the ERP-system. Katag not only checks the supply planning and transport processes but also manages the paperless PO issuance, the L/C management and quality control. With detailed analysis tools the Katag employees call up reports several times per day from the system, giving them a complete overview of the actual situation. The know-how, speed, implementation and after-sales services of Setlog have been praised by Kollmeier. “We could not have wished for a better partner," says Kollmeier.

Finally Brackelsberg and Duester presented the software in the form of a demo version. They gave an overview of the range of functions and stressed the system's intuitive simplicity.

The U.S. was the next logical move for Setlog, as the problems in the European market are comparable. “Many interesting discussions, which we had during the past few weeks and also the seminar today, have shown that there is a great interest in such an across-the-net SCM solution”, is Wilhelm’s positive response. Setlog and Walter Wilhelm will hold further seminars in San Francisco, New York and Florida.

The original article can be found in Apparel Magazine and online: