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Cutplan Parts Nesting & Cut Order Planning Software
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CutPlan Clients
More than 60 of the world’s top manufacturers have made CUTPLAN the leader in cut order planning. The reason is simple – CUTPLAN utilizes highly advanced algorithms to automatically balance material, cutting prep, and cutting time and costs to optimize their entire cutting operation.

Calvin Klein Daniel Hechter Paris Bobby Jones
Burberry Evan-Picone Blair
Claiborne Coppley Kenneth Cole New York
Daniel Hechter Geoffrey Beene Hardwick Clothes
Tallia Gieves & Hawkes Oliver
Talliauomo Evening Wear Oakloom Tallia Sartoria
Bill Kaiserman Izod Club
Hart Schaffner Marx Joseph Abboud Krizia
Lands End L.L. Bean
Perry Ellis Portfolio Perry Ellis Formal Wear Nautica
Nicklaus Oscar de la Renta Perry Ellis
Pierre Cardin Ted Bakers London
Superior Uniform Empire Sope Creek
Southwick Slates Zino
Lacrosse Riverside Warren Sewell
Tommy Hilfiger Titleist Palm Beach
Royal Shirt Barrie Pace LTD Sansabelt
Pringle Society Brand, LTD Riserva
 

Featured Client Case Studies:

 
Hardwick Clothes Cites Flexibility as Key to Long Term Success
Hart Schaffner Marx Tailors Technology for Cutting Room Optimization
Superior Uniform Embraces Sourcing and Technology to Deliver Value
 
Hardwick Clothes Cites Flexibility as Key to Long Term Success
 
CUTPLAN Reduces Costs & Streamlines Cutting ProcessCUTPLAN Reduces Costs and Streamlines Critical Cutting Process
In an industry that has seen a wholesale shift of production to low-cost regions of the world, Hardwick Clothes remains as one of the few 100% domestic apparel manufacturers. The oldest tailored clothing company in the United States (since 1880), privately-held Hardwick performs all cutting, sewing, and distribution operations at its original Cleveland, Tennessee location. Today, the company employs 350 people and produces up to 4000 coats (suit and sport coats) and 3500 pants (slacks and skirts) per week for Orvis, Casual Male, Honig’s, and other private label retailers.


“We had to become very flexible to compete globally”, stated Melvin Davis, Hardwick’s General Manager. “This means doing whatever it takes to provide a level of service and responsiveness that our competitors cannot match.”

In support of its commitment to domestic manufacturing, Hardwick has embraced flexibility throughout its operation as a means of providing a premium level of value and service that keep its customers coming back for more. Case in point, Hardwick offers in-stock, same day shipping for 90% of its customer orders. Comprising 179 unique product styles, 256 colors, and a wide range of fabrics and sizes, the broad range of SKU’s requires the company to hold more than 100,000 units in inventory to meet this level of service. This extensive product mix also translates into an average order size of only 2.5 units.

The small order size naturally creates significant challenges in the cutting process, where fabric is typically spread and cut at heights of only 3 to 5 ply. Hardwick has invested significant time and money in automating and streamlining this process, including investments in four Gerber automated cutting and three EuroPro semi-automatic spreaders which have helped to speed the process and reduce labor costs. Only 14 people are now required to perform all fabric spreading and cutting operations for the company.

With fabric costs averaging $10 per yard (some as much as $75/yard), Hardwick began using CUTPLAN from AMS in 1989 to optimize material utilization and balance their spreading and cutting costs. Once orders are grouped by like colors, trim, and components, the software calculates a precise spread plan that is used to produce each order using the least amount of fabric, the highest cutting height, and the least amount of bundles and marker sectioning.

CUTPLAN also automates the creation of marker orders, searching its database to determine which existing markers can be reused and ordering new markers only when necessary. With well over 150 markers required each week, Hardwick saves considerable time and cost as CUTPLAN routinely fills 75% of this need from existing markers that require no or only minor modifications. Most information needed to operate CUTPLAN is automatically collected through interfaces with other computer systems such as the Gerber AccuMark CAD system in use at Hardwick. This eliminates reentry of data and eliminates related errors. 

After more than 15 years in use, the results are unmistakable. CUTPLAN consistently saves Hardwick an average of 3% in overall fabric costs. CUTPLAN has also enabled the company to reduce its marker making staff by three full time employees through improved reuse of existing markers and elimination of manual date input. And Hardwick also benefits from a time and flexibility perspective. Manual cut planning is time-consuming and lacks the thoroughness that the CUTPLAN software solution brings to the process. The benefits are especially remarkable in Hardwick’s low-ply, multi-color, odd numbers environment where manually finding efficient combinations is highly challenging due to time, information, and processing constraints.

“We have always felt that the custom configuration approach that AMS uses with CUTPLAN gives us the best results possible”, noted Davis. “We have tested other cut planning software packages over the years, but we always find that they simply cannot come close to the results we get with CUTPLAN. AMS continues to provide us with the specific capabilities and custom configuration we need to best optimize our cutting process and enhance our flexibility.”
 
Highlights:
Hardwick is oldest tailored clothing company in the US
Employs 350; produces 4000 coats and 3500 pants per week
Offers in-stock, same day shipping for 90% of orders
179 product styles, 256 colors, and wide range of fabrics/sizes
Average order size only 2.5 units
Began using CUTPLAN in 1989
CUTPLAN fills 75% of marker requirements from inventory
Consistently saves an average of 3% in overall fabric costs
 
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Hart Schaffner Marx Tailors Technology for Cutting Room Optimization
 

Case Study 2: Large Pant and Sportswear FirmCUTPLAN Manages Fabric Utilization
Since 1887, Hart Schaffner Marx has signified leadership and excellence. Today, it remains a strong apparel brand and the volume-leader in America’s tailored clothing business. Hart Schaeffer Marx is the flagship brand of Hartmarx Corporation’s (NYSE:HMX) HMX Tailored business, a diversified collection of ‘bridge/better’ brands that accounted for almost one-half of the corporation’s $598 million in sales in 2005.

To sustain its ability to provide its customers with the greatest degree of flexibility, value and quality, Hart Schaffner Marx draws on the expertise of its six company-owned domestic manufacturing facilities. These plants produce up to 10,000 suits and 15,000 pants each week. Sewing plants are supported by three dedicated cutting facilities in Cape Girardeau, MO, Des Plaines, IL, and Buffalo, NY.

In the early 70’s, Hart Schaffner Marx custom-designed its mainframe computer system to convert sales numbers into cutting orders and plans. Back then, the primary focus of the system was on minimizing labor costs - specifically the manual cutting operation which represented the biggest restraint in the process. Over the years, Hart Schaffner Marx has fully automated the cutting task by installing more than 15 Gerber computerized fabric cutting machines throughout its facilities. “Our mainframe did a good job except for saving goods”, stated David Huffman, Senior Analyst - Manufacturing Administration and 30-year employee of Hart Schaffner Marx. “Because it operated off of target (planned) maker lengths instead of actual markers, it sacrificed fabric in favor of optimizing cutting time and costs.”

Like most fashion manufacturers, Hart Schaffner Marx shifted its cost savings focus as fabric replaced labor as the largest cost component of their products. With fabric costs averaging well over $10 per yard, the company implemented the CUTPLAN software from AMS, Inc. in 1991 with the goal of optimizing the entire cutting process – from order creation to cut goods. With orders typically comprising 60 pieces and a maximum of 25 ply height of 1 or 2 fabric types, managing the complexity of a high-style / small-order cutting operation was also a significant driver for the new software.

“From the start, we saw significant savings in fabric and reduction in work-in-process levels with CUTPLAN”, added Huffman. “It provided us with better sectioning plans, more control over picking sizes, and other key benefits that the mainframe could not offer. The fabric savings came in part because CUTPLAN uses actual marker lengths for planning instead of the old target lengths. Our mainframe could only send ‘close’ to the right amount of fabric to the cutting room. And because the mainframe planning was not accurate enough, we used to have to put 2-3000 extra units in process each day just to make sure that we had enough to keep things running efficiently. With CUTPLAN, no errors are left to happen; whatever we put in that day is going to come out.”

To further streamline the cut planning process, Hart Schaffner Marx had their PC-based CUTPLAN integrated with their existing mainframe system. This made it possible to share piece goods inventory information between the systems, enabling even greater fabric savings through CUTPLAN’s fabric allocation software module. Now, in addition to cut planning, FABPLAN creates a picking order for fabric down to the specific piece and case where it is located so that it can be sent to the cutting room. Together, the integrated planning and allocation software modules provide the cutting room with everything they need to pick fabric, spread and cut – all within a matter of hours from receipt of the order.

The fabric allocation piece was strategic at Hart Schaffner Marx due to the restraints that the original mainframe planning placed on the process. For example, 3 or 4 ‘fill-in’ fabric pieces were sent with each order in order to compensate for lack of accuracy in their old methods. And when pieces were not long enough, the remnant pieces would have to be returned and a new longer piece cut and sent to the cutting room. This resulted in wasted time, extra handling, higher WIP levels, and excessive and difficult-to-manage fabric remnants. According to Huffman, “Fill-in’s used to be one of our biggest problems; now it is our smallest. By helping us precisely match fabric lengths to marker lengths, CUTPLAN actually prevents remnants.”

“With all of these improvements, we know CUTPLAN is generating savings for Hart Schaffner Marx. We believe that our overall fabric savings has exceeded the 2%-3% benchmark that is commonly referenced with CUTPLAN. We have also reduced cutting work-in-process by a minimum of 3 days and removed 2-3 days of marker making time from the process.

“We continue to work closely with AMS to customize our CUTPLAN solution to our specific needs. For example, we have recently added more simulation capabilities. They are very responsive to our needs, often getting us what we need in the same day.”

 
Highlights:
Hart Schaffner Marx is the volume-leader in America’s tailored clothing business
Hartmarx generated $598 million in sales in 2005
Six domestic plants produce up to 10,000 suits and 15,000 pants each week
Implemented CUTPLAN in 1991
PC-based CUTPLAN integrated with mainframe system
FABPLAN creates fabric pick order down to the specific piece and case
By precisely matching fabric to marker lengths, CUTPLAN prevents remnants
Fabric savings exceeding the 2%-3% benchmark, reduced cutting WIP by 3 days
 
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Superior Uniform Embraces Sourcing and Technology to Deliver Value
 

Case Study 3: Large Uniform FirmCUTPLAN Saves Fabric and Time, Automates In-House and Supplier Fabric Processing
Just as in the consumer fashion market, commercial uniform buyers are demanding greater value: increased product variety, better quality, and competitive prices. As one of the largest US uniform marketers, Superior Uniform Group, Inc. (AMEX: SGC) has established aggressive global sourcing and technology initiatives to insure its ability to deliver on these and other customers needs.

Founded in 1920, Superior Uniform manufactures and markets a wide range of uniforms, image apparel and accessories through its Signature marketing brands – Fashion Seal®, Fashion Seal Healthcare™, Martin’s®, Worklon®, Sope Creek® and UniVogue™. The Seminole, Florida-based company posted 2005 sales of $133 million while servicing the healthcare, hospitality, food services, retail, public service, entertainment, commercial, transportation, cleanroom, corporate identity and resortwear markets.

While maintaining one domestic manufacturing plant in Eudora, Arkansas, Superior imports the majority of its products from independent contractors in El Salvador and Honduras with whom they have enjoyed a 20 year business relationship. More recently, the company has begun importing some products from Asia. Superior believes that employing manufacturing techniques that are not limited by geographical location allows it to offer a wide range of affordable, high quality products as well as enabling the flexibility needed to offer important lead-time options to its customers.

Embracing the philosophy of progressive thinking, Superior places a major emphasis on cutting edge technology in their business. By example, the company has in recent years implemented a SAP business system, an advanced warehouse and distribution system, and sophisticated inventory management tools. As the business changed and manufacturing shifted to offshore suppliers, one important technology solution adopted over 15 years ago remains central to Superior’s ability to maintain control over a key time and cost factor in their business.

With fabric consumption of approximately $40 million per year, Superior continues to rely on AMS’ CUTPLAN software solution to maintain tight control over their strategically important raw material costs and associated process times. “We began using CUTPLAN in 1991”, noted Jeff Endick, Manager of Manufacturing Services at Superior. “Even though most of the cutting is now outsourced to a centralized cutting department in El Salvador, we continue to provide the same marking and cut planning services to them as we do for our domestic operation. This allows us to maintain important controls and provides our supplier with complete instructions on how to optimize fabric utilization and process time.”

The plant work orders that Superior provides includes the required markers as produced on the Microdynamics CAD system, electronic cut data to drive their Gerber CNC cutters, and a precise spreading and cutting plan generated in CUTPLAN. These instructions are essential to achieving the most efficient balance of fabric utilization as well as saving time and money in the spreading and cutting operation. In fact, CUTPLAN saves both Superior and its suppliers time and money, which ultimately results in a more competitive product to the end customer.

“What first attracted us to CUTPLAN was its ability to manage a library of existing marker information”, added Endick. “In the old days, we used keypunch cards as a way of manually storing marker information. We literally sorted through the stacks of cards to determine which markers could be reused rather than creating new ones. With more than 30,000 markers in stock, it was a time consuming and challenging task at best.”

Today, the cut planning challenge is even greater given the wider range of products, increasingly smaller order sizes that range from 48 to 7200 pieces, and the multitude of available fabrics. All this variety creates for significant challenges in executing efficiently in the cutting room, especially in determining which orders can be combined for better flow and efficiency. Not only has CUTPLAN provided the needed visibility into available markers, it has helped Superior save big on fabric consumption, reduce overhead, and streamline their entire fabric processing process.

According to Endick, “With CUTPLAN and the improved methods that we have developed around it, we have increased our standard marker efficiency from 82.1% to 87.4% - a savings of 5.3% in overall fabric costs. Because it is customized to our specific needs, CUTPLAN also saves us time in both in-house planning and in-plant spreading and cutting operations. In-house alone, we have been able to reduce data entry and clerical staff by 2 to 3 people because of the automation that CUTPLAN has brought us. This comes through the integration that CUTPLAN has with our Microdynamics CAD system which eliminates the need for manual data entry in cut planning. Of the 800 markers Superior sends out to cutting rooms each week, 600 are newly created by a staff of only 1.25 marker makers. The automated material utilization reporting in CUTPLAN also allows us to see where we are going and to push even harder.”

 
Highlights:
Superior Uniform posted sales of $133 million in 2005
Aggressive global sourcing and technology initiatives
Imports products from El Salvador and Honduras
Fabric consumption of $40 million per year
Began using CUTPLAN in 1991
CUTPLAN saves both Superior and its suppliers time and money
Achieved savings of 5.3% in overall fabric costs
Reduced data entry and clerical staff by 2 to 3 people
 
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AMS Inc.
850 NE Spanish River Boulevard Suite 360
Boca Raton, Florida 33431 USA
Phone: (01) 561-400-8780
Fax : (01) 561-892-0972
E-mail: info@cutplan.com
 
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