Caron International

Caron International

Caron International is a major manufacturer of acrylic yarns, based in Washington, North Carolina. It produces a wide variety of yarns and craft kits. Some of these yarns are sold under brand names such as Sayelle, Wintuk, Simply Soft as well as certain Private Label brands such as Kmart Kolormatch. Additional product lines include National Yarn Crafts, Natura and WonderArt kits.

Caron International's systems were previously entirely mainframe technology, comprising both in-house manufacturing and financials plus customer service functions tailored to its business. A forecasting module was built-in, but spreadsheets were used for many parts of the business that were not set up on the main-frame. The lack of integration between mainframe forecasting functions and ad-hoc spreadsheet analysis resulted in a great deal of manual intervention. In all, several thousand items needed to be forecasted on a 13-period cycle, in order to drive Manufacturing planning.

In 1996 a decision was made to start replacing the mainframe systems with new Client/Server technology. Caron chose Point.Man Customer Service and Financial applications modules from Pivotpoint, Inc., run on HP hardware and an Oracle database.TimeTrends® from ALT−C Systems Inc. was the forecasting system of choice to integrate with Point.Man. TimeTrends was installed as a turnkey project by ALT−C Systems.

The set-up involved capturing product history from the mainframe, although further system updates are now performed directly from the Client/Server system. Data is extracted by querying the Oracle Sales tables in Point.Man using Microsoft® Access, which is then updated into TimeTrends for batch reforecasting. Crystal Reports Professional from Seagate Software is now used to generate customized reports.

The output of TimeTrends is used to help plan required stock levels, order points and raw materials requirements. Benefits experienced from the implementation of TimeTrends have been primarily to automate the forecasting for all SKUs, and to eliminate nearly all manual keying of data.

Forecast review is enhanced by the graphical features and the extensive modeling and what-if capabilities of TimeTrends . Forecast models can be modified to take into account promotional events and seasonal profiles. TimeTrends data can now easily be exported or shared over the network with other PC applications such as Lotus 1-2-3® running under Windows® . Reporting can be customized at the user level. The forecast can also be used to identify capacity constraints, through the use of attributes such as dye color codes, size codes, and more which are tied to each forecasted item.

"With TimeTrends, we were able to generate a forecast for all of our individual products, something that was not possible before using spreadsheets and other tools." Kevin Junger, Marketing

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TimeTrends® is a product of ALT-C Systems Inc

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