Birmingham, UK -- ANTA, China's largest manufacturer of sports footwear for the domestic market, has selected Delcam Crispin footwear design and manufacturing software for its future product development needs, the UK software developer announced 12 Nov. The software will replace a mixture of design, costing and manufacturing systems installed at the company's various design and manufacturing centres across China.
Birmingham, UK-based Delcam points out that, although China is best known as a manufacturing base for international footwear brands, it also has a large footwear sector supplying the country's own population. Here ANTA is the leading supplier, with a multi-million dollar turnover and more than 5000 retail outlets in China. ANTA's business is split between sports footwear and clothing, and it aims to become one of the top ten international sportswear brands in terms of revenue, Delcam said.
To further this ambition, ANTA set up a "Sports Science Laboratory" in China in 2005, with advanced testing and evaluation systems for design of products for both professional athletes and the general public. The group found that a critical limitation was the time taken to convert new designs into finished products.
Designs were created on 2D systems at centres in Xiaman, Beijing and Guangzhou and pattern making was done using local systems at ANTA's manufacturing centre in Fujian and at more than ten sub-contractors in different parts of China.
Clearly, "ANTA required a united and effective development platform to consolidate its resources nationwide," Delcam said. The group needed to replace incompatible software programs, and overcome a wide geographic spread of design and manufacturing. A new system would also have to communication better between the different departments, shorten the development cycle and speed the introduction of new styles to the market.
In 2006, Delcam supplied ANTA with a foot scanner, to help it develop customised shoes for the players it sponsored in the China Basketball Association. During discussions, ANTA realised the technical challenges it faced, "especially the large gap at that time between Chinese manufacturing practice and international standards," Delcam commented.
After the UK company bought Crispin to form what it claims is the world's leading supplier of software for the footwear industry, ANTA realised the benefits of dealing with the market leader. ANTA could cover all its requirements for 3D design, 2D engineering, grading, cost accounting, mould-making and cutting, from a single source.
Another important benefit was that Delcam China could provide local training and support at ANTA's main sites and Delcam China's established relationships with many universities and colleges in China could guarantee the company a continuous supply of apprentices experienced in using the software.