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Gerber’s Software Upgrades Combat Rising Freight, Material Costs

By Sourcing Journal

With raw material and shipping costs continuing to rise in the face of increasing ocean freight shipping fees and congestion at major ports, Gerber Technology is enhancing some of its solutions to balance out the costs in what it says is an effort to help manufacturers “improve margins, optimize production and reduce expenses.”

As part of this initiative, Gerber has announced new releases within its AccuMark Product Family and launched the V13 update to its CutWorks software.

The AccuMark Product Family, which includes the AccuMark pattern design software, the AccuPlan cut planning software and the AccuNest automated nesting software, includes a new release that focuses heavily on adding more integration and automation for a streamlined, computer-aided design (CAD) to cut room workflow. The system can connect with an ERP system or other tools brands use in the product design process.

Right before the pandemic took hold in the U.S., Gerber Technology added 2D-to-3D integration capabilities to AccuMark to help designers create production-ready clothing more quickly.

Gerber added more functionalities to the platform later in the year, partnering with Alvanon in November so that users can access its library of more than 6,000 3D virtual bodies—each representing a specific brand’s fit standards. The company also launched a full end-to-end solution for mass production, the Atria digital cutting room, leveraging Industry 4.0 and Internet of things (IoT) technologies to integrate with the entire AccuMark Product Family suite.

But with so many aftereffects of the pandemic still lingering, Gerber is doubling down on how it can cut down time and money spent in the design process. The latest update caters to manufacturers that want to both accelerate time to market and also improve quality, reduce errors and provide better control over their final product. Gerber says that AccuPlan and AccuNest combine to boost productivity by as much as 80 percent and save 1.5 percent in average fabric costs.

“I sent Gerber 30 of the best laid markers that we created manually, not expecting AccuNest to beat the efficiency,” said Roger Leonhardt, CAD director of Bassett Furniture. “To my surprise, AccuNest beat our layouts every time! We saved about a half yard on average. Most railroad fabric nests are breaking 93-95 percent yield.”

CutWorks, Gerber’s modular development, piece nesting and tool-path programming software, is designed to be customizable based on individual business needs, accepting pattern data in a variety of formats.

The new V13 release of the software focuses heavily on improving nesting engines, maximizing precision with enhancements to ManualNest and offering more visibility into the supply chain.

Gerber says that the new CutWorks release will allow companies to easily design to cost faster and without error. Alongside the release, Gerber says it will will continue to update and optimize nesting algorithms and make them accessible to all customers on contract. The company also is offering enhanced training to ensure all operators are able to get up to speed with the systems quickly.

“Right now, manufacturers, especially those in industrial markets, are struggling to combat the rise in prices, which means they’re either having to decrease their margins or increase the price of their final product,” said Ron Ellis, senior product manager of Gerber Technology. “With the latest enhancements to AccuMark and CutWorks, manufacturers will be able to design to cost and optimize their processes. They’ll also be able to achieve additional fabric savings to further reduce costs while improving the quality so they can maintain their current margins without increasing prices for their end customers.”

In a statement, Gerber cited a March 8 Washington Post article that said ocean freight shipping fees from Asia to the U.S. have quadrupled in some cases, from about $1,500 per container to $6,000, according to Mark Yeager, CEO of Redwood Logistics.

The manufacturing software provider also pointed to price increases cited in The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM’s) January manufacturing report, noting that raw materials are also expected to increase 2.9 percent through 2021.

Gerber has many major clients in the apparel space that could stand to benefit from the new releases and the potential cost savings that could come with them, including Inditex, Ralph Lauren, VF Corp., Adidas, Hanesbrands, Gap Inc. and Canada Goose.

The new releases come in the wake of Gerber’s recent $362 million acquisition by CAD and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) cutting systems company Lectra in February. Together, the two companies now have a large installed base of product development software and automated cutting solutions in operation, with Gerber’s specialty in fashion offering an advantage for France-based Lectra’s U.S. expansion.

This article was published in Sourcing Journal April 15, 2021. Gerber Technology also issued a press release announcing its software upgrades here.

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