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Taking Advantage Of Technology

Mohawk continues to invest heavily in technology and achieves benefits in almost every aspect of its business.

Jennifer Dennard

A shopper at a retail flooring store selects a Mohawk carpet thats a cut order from a regional warehouse. The salesperson takes the order, and it is entered electronically into Mohaw's communications system, almost ensuring that it will be delivered within 72 hours. The next day, the customer decides she wants to increase her order to include another room. Is it too late for a change? It isn't with Mohawk's state-of-the-art communications network. In this case, the system could signal the warehouse almost up until the time the order is actually cut and make the change, keeping the customer happy and the order profitable.

Mohawk Industries is an avid user of technology, particularly as it provides new abilities to enhance efficiency, improve customer service and adapt to changing customer demands. And one of the shining stars is the intricate, redundant voice and data network that keeps Mohawk factories, distribution and dealers in constant communication. This year, prompted by business growth, a growing bandwidth demand of systems functionality and the need to create a cost-effective platform to grow on, Mohawk has made a major upgrade to its data network. The upgrade has created a multi-protocol label switching network that is recognized for its efficiency and effectiveness. Taking advantage of lower cost/higher-bandwidth technology, Mohawk has worked with AT&T to build a highly available data storage, retrieval and management system that updates almost constantly, giving Mohawk employees critical information that lets them do their jobs as effectively as possible.

That may mean on-time delivery of an order despite a last-minute change. Or it may mean making an adjustment in production that saves thousands of dollars.

mohawktech

Mohawk's website, www.mohawk-flooring.com, provides consumers with information about its products.

B2B Strategy

The system is not necessarily a pure business-to-business (B2B) network, but it flows from the dealer all the way back to production and raw material supply. Tied in with custom applications and systems developed around distribution including local fleet management, over-the-road fleet management, warehouse management, plant automation, planning, scheduling and Web-based support tools, Mohawk's network is designed to provide accurate representation of delivery dates while providing manufacturing with the information needed to optimize plant operation, allocation of orders and production efficiency.

Leveraging The Internet

Through a dedicated website, www.mohawknet.com, dealers can place orders electronically. With Mohawk's Real Time Visibility software, the dealer can know within minutes when an order will reach his store, plus get e-mail and fax notifications of deliveries. The customer can view the steps in the order process up to the point the truck makes the delivery.

New Technology Adoption

The key to improved customer service is responsiveness. Mohawk has been very aggressive in the use of radio frequency technologies in its facilities, along with bar coding to optimize inventory. As dealers get more access to the Internet and become more accustomed to using it, the system gains efficiency. Internet tools provide dealers with easier and more personalized access to order and account information, making it easier for them to manage their day-to-day needs.

For larger customers, Mohawk also has implemented radio frequency identification (RFID) systems that mesh with how major retailers manage their flow of goods. And while Mohawk constantly explores making plant innovations to improve production efficiency and processes, many of which are proprietary the test of new ideas is how they integrate into the overall system to enhance its effectiveness. Shop floor systems, sales and operation planning processes, distribution and delivery are all interconnected, saving Mohawk millions of dollars each year and making it possible for dealers to work small miracles like a last-minute change in a customer order.
July/August 2006



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