Following a recent shift in its business model from a traditional manufacturing-based operation to production, sales and distribution, Hunter Rubber Company Limited the market leading manufacturer of quality Wellington boots has grown significantly, achieving 41 per cent year-on-year growth.
To support its international expansion, Hunter has successfully implemented the STYLEman ERP solution from Option Systems Limited the global specialist in software for the apparel and footwear industry. Working with STYLEman has helped Hunter to drive its international collaboration initiatives, while at the same time providing increased visibility of ongoing orders and inventory across its operations in 18 countries.
Key benefits from the STYLEman implementation include:
Improved customer service thanks to real-time visibility of orders and production of Hunters range of hand-made boots
Closer collaboration via the web with the companys newly-established US operation
Complete transparency of inventory levels including field sales operations across the 18 countries Hunter operates in
Better forecasting capabilities to support and drive projected 50 per cent growth for 2006
First choice in rugged footwear
Hunter Rubber Company Limited is the market leading manufacturer of quality Wellington boots, with a 60 per cent share of the 50 plus market. Based in Dumfries, Scotland, the company has been manufacturing Wellington boots in Scotland since 1856. The durability and comfort of the companys boots has made them the first choice in footwear to deal with unpredictable weather and rugged terrain.
Today, the boots are used to walk, hunt, fish, shoot, ride and are even an essential part of the Hong Kong Fire Brigades uniform. Each pair of Hunter boots is still made entirely by hand and Hunter develops a number of ranges, with innovative technology inside the boot and out, to cope with various types of weather.
Since re-focusing its operations and becoming a private company again in January 2004, Hunter has experienced strong growth in worldwide sales. The company reported year-on-year growth to the end of February 2005 of 41 per cent and is targeting 50 per cent growth for the coming year.
Delivering customer-focused support
When Hunter Rubber Company re-established itself as a private company, it quickly needed to establish its own business infrastructure and customer-focused processes to help it to secure orders within the UK and internationally. Previously Hunter had been owned for 148 years by a series of different public companies, which had left the company to operate solely as a manufacturing subsidiary.
As a result, Hunter needed to implement an enterprise resource planning ERP system that would enable it to improve its customer service, stock control and forecasting operations. The company had an incumbent application Movex but this wasnt appropriate for its emerging international business as it didnt deliver support for Hunters evolving sales and distribution activities. Hunter needed a software partner that could help it address the transition from a manufacturing focus to incorporate sales, while understanding its unique business needs as a quality footwear producer.
Maximising potential with STYLEman
After an extensive tender process, Hunter selected the STYLEman ERP system from Option Systems Limited (OSL). STYLEman is the leading ERP solution developed specifically for clothing and footwear companies and offers unparalleled industry functionality. STYLEman allows organisations worldwide to maximise the potential of their operations by simplifying processes, and effortlessly delivering the operational and management information they require.
OSLs depth of expertise was a key factor for Hunter when it selected STYLEman. OSL has already established partnerships with many of the leading organisations in the apparel and footwear industries, including Levi Strauss, Ben Sherman, Pepe Jeans, Mizuno, IC Companys and Hi-Tec Sports.
Mark Sater, Chairman, Hunter Rubber Company takes up the story:
OSLs wealth of technical and industrial knowledge was a distinct advantage when we decided which system to implement. I had already worked with OSL earlier in my career, and always found the company to be extremely effective when adapting its solutions to meet specific customer requirements.
OSLs product development strategy has also helped to ensure that the STYLEman solution is the most applicable for our industry. OSL has always struck me as an organisation that listens and learns from its customers as a result, we now have a user-friendly, company-specific solution instead of a blanket ERP system that doesnt address our unique business needs, added Mark Sater.
Achieving productivity benefits for Hunter
Since implementing the STYLEman ERP system, Hunter has made significant productivity gains in three key areas: customer service, stock control and forecasting.
Mark Sater comments: STYLEman enables staff across the enterprise to see an order at any given stage in the supply chain. Users can order, amend or cancel products 24 hour a day, change delivery data and schedule or amend production. Inevitably, communication with the customer about their specific orders is increasingly accurate and our customer satisfaction levels have improved dramatically.
The solution simplifies stock control by allocating a single reference number to each line of product. Consequently, sales people only need to remember one number for each product no matter what size the customer requires, streamlining the sales process.
For the first time, Hunter can now accurately forecast and plan to ensure we have the right product in the right place and at the right time. The ERP system provides us with in-depth analysis, highlighting the most popular products and clearly showing any peaks and troughs in product sales. This gives Hunter the ability to plan accurately for the future. It also lets us examine the performance of each item throughout the year and it provides detailed intelligence that makes a vast difference on the shop floor and assists Hunter in maintaining its competitive edge, Mark Sater added.
Platform for future growth
The STYLEman ERP solution provides an excellent platform for growth due to it being a highly scalable solution that can balance workloads across a range of systems, from a single-user application right through to support for hundreds of operators irrespective of location.
Additionally, STYLEman is designed to run with whatever mix of technologies are already in place within a company, therefore not restricting them to one particular technology. The flexibility of this solution will help support Hunters target of 50 per cent growth over the next year.
STYLEman is a proven solution backed by good people. OSLs unique approach in working together with Hunter to develop a solution which is an exact fit for our requirements will help us strengthen our business and hit our targets in the future, concluded Mark Sater.