Jowat Creates Seamless, Just-in-Time Operations with SAP Digital Manufacturing


Jowat Group is one of the world’s top adhesive manufacturers for industrial use. Tradition and experience from 100 years of corporate development and experience allow it to act as a leading company in technology and innovation in numerous markets and application areas.

Jowat SE’s annual production amounts to 100,000 tons of industrial adhesives. Production is complex and requires high volumes of specialized chemicals and a tremendous amount of power. With raw materials and energy costs skyrocketing, premium manufacturer Jowat looked to get a tighter grip on its inventory management and production processes.  

To ensure maximum efficiency, Jowat requires enough raw materials to fulfill orders while minimizing waste and inventory costs. Moreover, the company needs smooth workflows, as any delay in order placement, production, or the delivery of raw materials can have huge cost implications for the company. As a result, Jowat works hard to ensure that its 24/7 manufacturing processes always run like clockwork.

With demand for industrial adhesives surging, the company was eager to ensure that its production processes could scale to meet increasing order numbers and still deliver optimum efficiency.

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Targeting Seamless Digital Workflows

Originally established in 1919, Jowat is no stranger to innovation. Leaders at Jowat identified that the next stage of the company’s evolution would require a radical digital transformation of its production and inventory management processes. 

“Our factory workers relied heavily on paper-based processes,” explained Dirk-Alexander Segger, Detmold plant manager at Jowat. “For instance, when employees had finished mixing and decanting adhesives, they handwrote notes to track the volume and type of raw materials that they used during the process. Shortly after decanting, workers would then input the information from their notes into our inventory management and manufacturing execution systems, adding to their workload and increasing the risk of errors.” 

Tracking materials usage manually created time delays, potential for human errors, and discrepancies between the stock numbers recorded in Jowat’s inventory system and the actual volume of raw materials available on the factory floor. Moreover, with information stored across multiple systems and in different formats, plant managers had no clarity to identify process bottlenecks or potential enhancements.  

Annette Podleschny-Borchardt, project lead at Jowat, commented: “To enhance efficiency, improve transparency, and prepare for growth, we decided it was time to go entirely paperless. Building digital processes would give us a more detailed, up-to-date picture of our stock position, which would help drive smarter raw materials purchasing decisions and production improvements.” 

“We aimed to take a more proactive approach to our manufacturing processes. Developing robust, reliable, end-to-end digital workflows was the perfect way to achieve this goal,” explained Christine Künne, head of IT and Business Process Services at Jowat SE. 

Embracing Digital Transformation

To find the best solution to support its digital transformation initiative, Jowat invited multiple technology vendors to outline the strengths of their solutions. To keep customization low, Jowat targeted a solution that it could easily adapt to meet the highly specialized nature of just-in-time chemicals manufacturing.  

After reviewing 15 different solutions, Jowat selected SAP Digital Manufacturing. In addition to providing a solid foundation for digitalization, SAP Digital Manufacturing can also integrate seamlessly with Jowat’s existing SAP solutions, including SAP S/4HANA, SAP Extended Warehouse Management, and SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). 

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“We were immediately interested in SAP Digital Manufacturing because it is a cloud-native solution,” commented Segger. “Previously, we used on-premise solutions that required us to carry out extensive and disruptive updates. With SAP Digital Manufacturing, we get instant access to the latest features thanks to the quarterly release schedule.” 

Jowat also valued SAP’s proactive engagement with the chemicals manufacturing industry. “We really appreciate that SAP is eager to co-innovate with industry leaders like Jowat to develop next-generation manufacturing solutions,” said Podleschny-Borchardt. “Through the SAP Customer Engagement Initiative, we can help expert developers at SAP build smart factory solutions that meet the needs of our sector down to the finest detail.” 

Sticking with the Experts 

To ensure a smooth implementation of SAP Digital Manufacturing, Jowat relied on support from SAP Services and Support.

“Whenever we hit a stumbling block, the experts helped us work through the issues. For instance, we wanted to develop a dedicated production operation dashboard, which would give plant managers fast access to key production metrics. As this was uncharted territory, it naturally took a lot of time and energy to work through and SAP was behind us every step of the way,” said Segger.

Currently, Jowat is completing the first phase of the SAP Digital Manufacturing implementation at its Detmold factory before expanding the solution across all plants. Künne explained: “With a phased implementation, we can ensure that the processes we build at our Detmold plant are tried and tested to deliver maximum efficiency. This will give us the best chance of success when we roll out these processes across all our facilities.” 

“Consultants from SAP Services and Support brought not only their expertise to the project, but also the willingness to listen to the needs and the challenges of our industry. Because of this, we were able to collaborate extremely effectively,” added Podleschny-Borchardt.

Driving Efficient Manufacturing with High-Quality Data 

With SAP Digital Manufacturing, Jowat left error-prone, manual processes behind and now benefits from seamless digital workflows with end-to-end transparency. This helps increase quality and ease work for shop floor operators. The activity confirmation is automatically done in the SAP system, enabling real-time inventory insight. 

Consequently, Jowat gained the following benefits:

  • 100% digitalized manufacturing process
  • One source of truth for detailed production information
  • Time savings of three person days per week through automated raw material consumption updates allowing employees focus on higher value activities
  • 100% accurate inventory

“Today workers feed consumption information at the point of production. Previously, it would take one full-time employee three days a week to track raw materials consumption,” said Segger. “With SAP Digital Manufacturing, we have a real-time, accurate picture of our raw materials usage and needs. This is helping us optimize usage and reduce costs.” 

Podleschny-Borchardt added: “Production processes are so much faster now that we have built streamlined digital processes. Before, our paper-based ways of working could add up to five days to production timelines. With SAP Digital Manufacturing, we’ve shaved off this time, allowing us to produce and distribute products to our customers much faster, boosting satisfaction.” 

Planning Ahead for an AI-Driven Future 

With reliable, up-to-date information in SAP Digital Manufacturing, plant managers and leaders at Jowat can have full visibility across the entire manufacturing cycle. “SAP Digital Manufacturing has helped improve the traceability of our products and given us a much more detailed understanding of our manufacturing operations. Ultimately, that helps to enhance planning and provides new insights into potential process improvements,” said Künne.  

Jowat’s plans for SAP Digital Manufacturing go far beyond a global rollout. The company is already exploring the potential to scale and streamline manufacturing processes further with artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. 

“AI holds tremendous potential for us,” reflected Podleschny-Borchardt. “We’re excited to explore how it can help us to ensure consistently excellent quality across heavily customized product lines and how we can enhance production uptime with IoT-driven predictive maintenance. Having an AI-ready solution like SAP Digital Manufacturing at the heart of our operations makes taking these next steps in our innovation journey much easier.” 

Summarizing the overall benefits, Künne concluded: “With the implementation of SAP Digital Manufacturing through SAP Services and Support, we see ourselves on the way to becoming a transparent factory with a reduction in risks, errors, and process costs thanks to optimized processes.” 

Discover benefits other companies have gained, including improved quality with AI-assisted visual inspection. Be sure to listen to the webinar about how a renowned manufacturer revolutionizes manufacturing with Industry 4.0. Also, read this report from Oxford Economics about making supply chains more resilient and sustainable.

Karin Fent is senior director of Global Customer Success for Digital Supply Chain at SAP.

Top image courtesy of Jowat.

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