Fabric Company Keeps to Its Knitting with Cleo
November 10, 2021 Alex Woodie
Camira Fabrics Ltd. has historically run its core operations on the IBM i platform. But when the UK company started expanding through acquisition, it suddenly found itself running a number of specialized ERP systems. Rather than embarking upon risky migrations, the company took an integration-based approach using tools from Cleo.
Based in Mirfield, a city in Northern England, Camira Fabrics has been making fabrics for nearly 200 years. The company today designs and manufacture upholstery and panel textiles for a range of uses, including education, healthcare, hospitality, busses, RVs, and trains.
The company, which manufactures 8 million meters of fabric per year to customers in 80 countries, has automated its business processes with a customized ERP system running on an IBM i server, according to a case study on Cleo’s website.
That system did well for the company, until it started expanding through acquisition, according to Rick Loughrey, Camira’s head of BI and IT development. The company wanted to manage EDI through a single product, instead of using multiple point products.
“Internally, across our group of companies we have multiple finely tuned ERP systems, but they can’t effectively communicate with each other,” Loughrey says in the Cleo case study. “Consolidating or replacing them is not a viable option due to cost and disruption, so we went searching for a way to integrate them without abandoning our iSeries.”
That search eventually led to Cleo, a Rockford, Illinois-based developer of integration software. Cleo has been a longtime developer of B2B software for IBM i, including software that automates EDI transactions favored by large manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
However, after having discussions with Cleo, Loughrey learned that Cleo’s platform could do more than process EDI transactions.
“We were seeking to improve visibility across our end-to-end processes,” he said, “but also needed a solution flexible enough to accommodate future improvements while enabling us to deliver an optimum customer experience today.
Loughrey says Camira chose Cleo Integration Cloud because he saw how it could become a “one-stop-shop” for integration and open up the IBM i server to third-party solutions and e-commerce projects.
For example, Camira has plans to use Cleo to help generate UPS and FedEx shipping labels for its American factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The process is currently manual, and automation could help boost Camira’s business.
“It may sound like a simple, routine thing, but automating integrations to UPS and FedEx will help us reduce errors and lower our costs, while delivering faster shipping confirmations for our customers,” Loughrey says in the case study. “It will also give us better data by which to monitor those carriers’ performance.”