WebCenter is a crucial tool in the management of incoming job data at Coveris. It has enabled the CAD Services Team to feed the business with high-quality, consistent and measurable information.
Coveris is an established leader in the development and manufacture of multi-format packaging solutions. It partners with major retailers, manufacturers and brand owners to deliver high-performance label, film and board packaging formats to a range of sectors, primarily food and beverage but also pet food, medical, industrial and agricultural.
Operating across 25 production sites and serving more than 4,500 customers around the globe, the company places a strong focus on delivering a superior customer experience through novel innovation, operational reliability, consistency and product quality.
Coveris’ cartonboard division has three sites in Cambridgeshire, UK, one in Wisbech and two in St Neots and is supported by a dedicated, in-house CAD services team.
Prior to WebCenter too much of our time was being spent looking for the information or documents needed to run a job rather than getting on with the actual ‘doing’.
Steve Nicholls, CAD Services Manager, Coveris, UK
The CAD services team at Coveris Wisbech handles a significant number of incoming CAD and tooling requests for new carton designs every year from its sales team and account managers. At any time, dozens of individual pieces of information about customers, job requirements, materials, deadlines and costings come into the company to be processed and managed in a way that enables product sampling and manufacturing to occur quickly, efficiently and accurately.
“As we became busier and the number of requests coming into us increased, what was clear was that the system we were using offered very little organization and control capability,” said Steve Nicholls, Coveris CAD Services Manager. “Without an appropriate process, the amount of data we were handling was becoming too complex to manage. This resulted in information being stored in multiple places, it wasn’t being communicated correctly from one person to the next and there was no real insight or overview of activity that had gone before. Too much of our time was being spent looking for the information or documents needed to run a job rather than getting on with the actual ‘doing’.”
The team previously used Microsoft Office and a calendar created on a server to manage priorities including CAD and tooling requests. Requests would be printed off and posted on a wall, the team’s planning board, and CAD operators would then choose which to action and process based on date priorities.
“For the CAD services team, realistic timings and availability, in terms of raw materials and production, are critical,” added Steve. The expectations placed on the team are phenomenal. Our role is at the very beginning of pre-press. We take requests from the sales team and account mangers – the data gatherers – and we then say what is possible and when.
“If we get it wrong, delays in the process can put deadlines out of reach and it stores up problems further along the production process. The company’s fundamental objective is to get production right first time at every stage, from beginning to end.”
Thanks to WebCenter, we can manage our workload and ensure we are delivering right first time to our customers.
Steve Nicholls, CAD Services Manager, Coveris, UK
Coveris researched a number of system options before choosing Esko WebCenter as solution to help the CAD services team manage the increasing number of incoming requests. It was implemented on a trial basis before going live two months later. Initially, it was only used to process CAD requests but now integrates tooling requests and a number of bolt-ons have been added to enhance system performance.
“As soon as we tested WebCenter, we knew it was right for us. We realized we needed to change how we did things to ensure we got things right and there was an appetite across the business to create change. The fantastic thing about the software was that it integrated seamlessly into our business. Our company mindset is to do things better for the customer each and every time and WebCenter enables us to achieve that,” said Steve.
Esko WebCenter is a secure web-based packaging management and collaboration platform, capable of managing all aspects of preproduction specification and project lifecycle.
At Coveris, WebCenter connects the CAD teams based at its Wisbech, two St Neots and Leeds sites. It further integrates with the sampling and sales teams, allowing comprehensive customer data to be accessible at any point in time, from any location.
CAD and tooling requests are inputted into WebCenter by account managers or the sales team using dropdown menus and options. Information including the date required, accountable account manager, materials, customer codes, carton size, market sectors and project type – whether repeat, amend or new – is collated at the earliest point of contact with the customer. Coveris mandates that most of the data boxes must be completed for the request to be submitted, in order to ensure sufficient information is being attained by the sales function for the job to proceed.
Once captured in WebCenter, the data within the request is analyzed, checked and interpreted by the CAD services team to ensure the brief is clear and all information required has been provided. If a greenlight is given at this stage, the job goes into planning and the tooling requirements can be assessed and processed to ensure our production capabilities are fit for purpose.
“We do not use WebCenter to manage stock or jobs; for us, it is purely an information gathering and organizational tool,” added Steve. “Currently, WebCenter involvement ends with tooling integration and when the job goes into production, but the system ensures that all the data we need to process the initial request, smoothly and efficiently, is accurate. Most importantly, WebCenter ensures all the data is captured in a single place. People know where to look for the information they need, which saves valuable time for our teams.”
“We have full visibility of all incoming requests and can align them with our production capabilities and costs. These are our biggest challenges and WebCenter puts them front of mind from the outset.” The CAD services team has incorporated The European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) code for Folding Carton Design Styles into Esko WebCenter, which shows all production capabilities at any given moment; a great benefit for members of the sales team when visiting customers on site.
“WebCenter is a conversation starter about what is possible. It makes us ask questions of ourselves in terms of our capabilities. We want to be one step ahead and WebCenter puts us there,” said Steve. “It’s easy and intuitive and almost any question relating to a request can be answered thanks to the information held within WebCenter, not only that, it can be quantified and evidenced.”
The CAD services team uses Esko WebCenter to plan production and assess the most efficient way to run any job. “After a request is received and we have judged the information received to be good, we use that data for further planning. For example, how are we going to run the job through the factory? Which site? Which press? Who is the best operator for the job? All this information is added to the customer request to ensure efficiency downstream,” continued Steve.
Requests for carton samples are processed through WebCenter too. The sampling team can see product information, quantity requirements, deadlines, customer contact details and postage costs in one location. The team can generate postal reports to see what has been posted, when and how much it has cost.
“WebCenter offers great insight into our prepress operations that will serve us well as we move forward. We can monitor and record CAD operator timings; who is free and when. We can estimate and record design time for the CAD operator and cutting times for samples. As we continue to analyze this data, we will be able to use it to assist with future job planning to further enhance efficiency and productivity,” Steve commented.
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The customer and job data we hold now is consistent and of a much higher quality than we have ever had before. This data feeds our ERP system and WebCenter enables us to supply our business with superior quality information.
Steve Nicholls, CAD Services Manager, Coveris, UK
For the CAD services team at Coveris Wisbech, the overriding benefit delivered by Esko WebCenter is the clean data it provides to them to process CAD and tooling requests efficiently and cost-effectively.
“The questions within the request form cannot be ignored – by using forced fields with key data requirements, the data has to be inputted for the request to be processed,” said Steve. “For this reason, the customer and job data we hold now is consistent and of a much higher quality than we have ever had before. This data feeds our ERP system and WebCenter enables us to supply our business with superior quality information.”
“There is complete visibility and traceability of any CAD or tooling request that has gone before. Any little amend or change to a design is recorded on WebCenter and dated. Should a customer want to revert back to a previous design or require another sample, all the information needed to run that job again is easy to find and process again.”
Esko WebCenter has also enabled the CAD services team to implement a rejection process at the very beginning of the pre-press process. “If a brief from an account manager is not clear, or materials are unavailable or the request doesn’t conform to our capabilities, because the data is presented clearly and in a standard format, the CAD team can flag these issues early and prevent problems or delays further down the line. This manages our customers’ expectations early in the process, as well as supports our drive to be as efficient as we can be in our operations,” Steve added.
Since its formation in 2013, Coveris has been driven to implement pioneering lean operations strategy. The Coveris Performance System (CPS) is focused on delivering operational excellence, lean manufacturing processes, continuous improvement and world-class standards. “WebCenter aligns with this perfectly and has enabled the CAD services team to implement best practice to achieve CPS objectives,” he continued.
“It has certainly streamlined our process and helped to reduce the ‘noise’ and the questions. Good quality, accessible information is on hand to multiple teams at any time. Almost any question can be answered quickly and correctly, meaning we can manage expectations better thanks to the data held on the system. We are more in control and more knowledgeable about our processes.”
Another benefit of WebCenter is that it has enhanced shared learning among the Coveris CAD services team. Job request history stored via WebCenter allows users to see the best way to run a particular job, learn about production issues – why they occurred and how they were solved – and it has opened doors to new opportunities by allowing the team to analyze production capabilities in greater depth.
By asking the right questions of its users, WebCenter also serves as a great training tool for new members of the Coveris sales and administration teams.
“Ultimately, as a business we are selling capacity. WebCenter has enabled us to create our capacity model; essentially, when and what we can and cannot produce efficiently. Thanks to WebCenter, we can manage our workload and ensure we are delivering right first time to our customers. The conversations in house, and with the customer, take place at an earlier stage and everything is signed off before the job runs. Tooling requirements are spotted early, and orders are placed as planning occurs. We are seven days ahead of where we used to be with a request prior to the implementation of WebCenter,” Steve said.
Esko WebCenter has also enabled closer collaboration between Coveris’ three cartonboard sites in Cambridgeshire. “We have sites 50 miles apart but with WebCenter, we are all experiencing the same demand and have access to the same standardized information. We can therefore load balance more effectively and production needs can be managed appropriately. No one site is overwhelmed, and a job can be run at the most efficient site for the task in hand with all the information required to do so, all available at the click of a button.”
“Moving forward, we will be looking to integrate WebCenter into the graphics team and New Product Development system. This will serve to extend the benefits we have seen further along the production process and ultimately, ensure customers receive a first-class service at every touch point with Coveris.”
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