How to better Adapt to Business Changes in a Growing Company

Joseph Rief - Production Scheduler, James Avery

James Avery’s Mission is to celebrate life through the beauty of design. A family-owned jewelry chain with over 70 stores for house-brand charm bracelets, rings and more in sterling silver and gold. James Avery designs and manufactures their jewelry at 5 manufacturing locations and employ over 20,000 people and makers of charms, rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, keychains and more.

James Avery sells direct to customers at over 70 retail, wholesale and internet stores. They use a vertically integrated business model, meaning teams are responsible for data from the purchase of raw material to finished products.

The Challenge

Prior to 2013, James Avery introduced roughly 300 items per year. Their  growth in sales (and product range) left them with over 87,000 distinct items to manage and went hand in hand with 38,000 Bill of Materials (up to 8 levels) and 13,000 Routings (with 140+ operations) for the manufacturing process. With the original product range, changes to Bills of Materials and Routings were performed manually or by using a keystroke emulation program. However, the increased product range meant that these old processes were no longer viable. For example, where a keystroke emulation program was used to perform data changes it was prone to making mistakes, it also tied up users’ computers for hours- and that was the preferred option! When the old process was 100% manual it took even longer and required a lot of navigation by the users through the various Oracle E-Business Suite forms.

Key Data Bottlenecks

Item Master: Primarily organization controlled attributes such as planner and min-max values. Bills of Materials: Swapping out obsolete components for new components. Changing supply sub-inventories. 

Routings: Updating common routings and replacing resources.

Like many organizations, James Avery runs a continuous improvement program, however, data entry can slow or stop the improvement process. The James Avery improvement program has the following steps: define the problem, develop a plan, implementation and then review how it is performing.

The biggest drivers behind James Avery’s changes were:

  • Company Growth
  • New manufacturing facilities
  • Competing responsibilities for functional users
  • Standardized Bill of Materials setup
  • Improve Bill of Material data accuracy

James Avery needed a solution that allowed their users to quickly, accurately and easily update Item, Bill of Materials and Routing Data. The Production Management required that this solution have full support to reduce reliance on their scarce IT resources. James Avery found the More4apps suite of products, which they downloaded and tested for free.

The More4apps Solution

James Avery tested the More4apps products and then passed these on to the end-users for additional testing. Once they were familiar with the tools they were purchased and rolled out to production. The introduction of the More4apps tools enabled James Avery to:

  • Save an estimated US $840,000 per year
  • Update Routings for over 20,000 finished products saving US $6,000
  • Over 5,000 Sub-Assemblies in 4 organizations increasing inventory accuracy by 30%
  • Update inventory categories for demand forecasting on 18,000 items

James Avery also introduced a Min-Max planning for 400 supply items. They changed supply sub-inventories for over 20,000 finished products.

The company also increased its ability to introduce new items from 300 to over 700 annually.

James Avery’s Results Prior to implementing More4apps it took James Avery an average of 6 hours to set-up finished products. Now, with the More4apps solutions embedded in their processes, the set-up has improved by 600%.

The uptake of the Wizards by my team has been amazing. They are simple to use and we are using them on a daily basis. Issues such as updating the WIP supply type on Bills of Materials are handled in minutes rather than hours. Ultimately updating item categories is now a simple process, data improvements are that great, that other improvement programs such as Cycle Counting have been introduced to our 70 retail stores

-Joseph Reif, Production Scheduler, James Avery

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