The road to manufacturing excellence: follow the Drylock journey

Baby diapers, feminine hygiene and incontinence products are not the products you’d immediately link to innovation. A chat with Drylock Technologies will make you change your mind. The first compostable diaper, the first paper diaper packaging, the first CO2 neutral company in its sector, and the most extensive S/4HANA-based IT infrastructure: Drylock Technologies is an outright pioneer. One of the keys to their success? Manufacturing excellence (and SAP, of course)!

Drylock Supply Chain S4

When Drylock founder Bart Van Malderen set up the business in 2011, he dreamt of revolutionizing the personal hygiene market. Sometimes dreams come true. Within one year, Dryclock launched the thinnest, best-performance diaper on the market. The result: meteoric growth (x10 revenue in 10 years), sales in 33 markets, and 7 manufacturing plants across the globe.

SAP as the cornerstone for a digital transformation

The downside of the rapid growth was a scattered IT landscape with different ERP applications, each connecting to multiple local systems and databases. The silos led to limited visibility, urging Drylock to harmonize and standardize the core processes and streamline operations. SAP S/4HANA powered this transformation.

Drylock joined forces with Flexso to guide them through their digital transformation journey. Based on input from all the different Drylock sites, we designed a blueprint together that would ensure both a smooth rollout and easy adoption of SAP S/4HANA at every Drylock facility. As hesitation and doubt are not the way at Drylock, they went for an extensive SAP S/4 implementation that they kicked off in Belgium.

The challenge: keeping up with customer demands and growing volatility

After the S/4 implementation, Drylock felt the need to optimize their supply chain processes. “Like many companies, we had encountered considerable disruption during the pandemic and in the post-pandemic years,” explains Kristof Wylin, Group ERP Director Supply chain / Operations at Drylock. “In addition to supply chaos, raw materials shortages, and unexpected spikes in demand, we see how our customers become increasingly demanding too. As a private label brand, we work for big retailers, who expect exceptional product quality and speedy deliveries at sharp prices. On top of that, the pace of innovation keeps accelerating.”

Drylock supply chain production

3 keys to manufacturing excellence

To remain in the premier league and ensure the manufacturing excellence their customers expect, Drylock decided to invest in solutions that enable more flexible planning, forecast accuracy, and a resilient supply chain that can deal with disruption. Together with the SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) module, which Drylock had already adopted in the SAP S/4HANA go-live, they embraced SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) Demand Management Forecasting as well as SAP IBP Supply Planning. Here’s how these help streamline and optimize supply chain processes:

Manage movements in the warehouse and shopfloor, and improve traceability

Drylock implemented the SAP EWM module in its SAP S/4 core, immediately integrating its automated high-bay warehouse and shopfloor. Using SAP EWM, radio-frequency scanning, and computer-to-computer exchange of business documents, they can trace every movement in their internal warehouses – from raw materials to shipment – as well as in the manufacturing flows.

“We can now efficiently control all inbound and outbound processes. More than that, the combination of SAP S/4HANA and SAP EWM has helped us improve the traceability that customers have come to expect.”

Kristof Wylin - Group ERP Director Supply chain / Operations at Drylock

Forecast and plan demand effectively and accurately

As Drylock kept growing and the market became more challenging, they outgrew Microsoft Excel for demand planning. Today, SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) Demand Management Forecasting helps them create accurate demand plans, simulate scenarios, and generate forecasts based on historical data and statistics.

An extra that was really appreciated by the planners: Excel is still around. Thanks to SAP IBP’s Excel add-in, they get real-time access to SAP IBP directly in their familiar Excel spreadsheets.

Save supply chain operating costs and boost delivery accuracy

Thirdly, Drylock also lifted supply chain planning to new levels with SAP IBP Supply Planning. “Supply chain operating costs have soared over the past years,” Kristof explains. “From raw materials, logistics and inventory through to obsolescence costs due to rapid innovation cycles: there were many reasons to raise efficiency, in order to cut down on expenses and optimize asset utilization. SAP IBP supply chain uses data on raw materials, capacity availability, secondary resources, lead times, and inventory levels from SAP S/4 to generate feasible supply plans. As well as saving costs, this helps us improve delivery accuracy, which our customers greatly appreciate.

A busy future ahead

While things are running much smoother than in the past, Drylock believes there is always room for improvement. Together with Flexso, they are now exploring the possibilities of the cloud-based SAP Business Technology Platform, to build new applications, such as a shipment app or customer portal. In addition, they plan to introduce SAP IBP inventory planning, integrate S&OP raw material planning in SAP IBP, and perform more sophisticated forecasts. Now that they’ve successfully completed the SAP S/4 upgrade, Fiori is on the roadmap too.

When asked about ROI, Kristof admits that that’s difficult to define. “Yet the management often confirms that, without SAP, we could never have as many insights and operate so efficiently. So, our journey ahead is clear: we look forward to how SAP will help us innovate, grow, and continue our sustainability journey in the near future.”

Ready to reach for manufacturing excellence yourself?

A digital supply chain provides a real-time view of all the links in your chain, processes and costs. This gives you the resilience to make rapid changes. Discover how your supply chain can become a differentiator.

Written by

Gunther H

Günther Heirman