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Grupo Malwee begins its Industry 4.0 journey with Google Cloud supported by TIVIT

About Grupo Malwee

Grupo Malwee is one of Brazil’s leading fashion companies and the owner of famous brands in the country’s market. It stands out as a pioneer and leader in sustainability, having incorporated innovative technologies and processes.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Brazil

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About TIVIT

TIVIT is a Brazilian multinational technology company with 20 years’ experience and operations in 10 Latin American countries.

After navigating a challenging year, the company plans to apply artificial intelligence to the manufacturing process to improve production.

Results

  • 90% of the company’s technology infrastructure, including critical systems, runs in Google Cloud
  • 17% cut in infrastructure costs
  • SAP environment backup reduced from nine to three and a half hours
  • 700 employees migrated to remote working in just three days
  • Business continuity and data security during a year of pandemic

Compute times improved by up to 200%

Brazil’s textile industry is the world’s fifth largest, according to the country’s Textile and Garment Industry Association (Abit). Brazil also ranks second globally in denim production and third in knitted fabric. In such a large market, innovation is crucial to stay competitive among a large number of relevant players. For Grupo Malwee, one of Brazil’s leading fashion companies, sustainability and technology are essential drivers on its path to innovation.

For more than five decades, the Jaraguá do Sul-based company has invested in efforts to protect the environment and support the local community, from the opening of Parque Malwee (one of the largest environmental protection areas in its native state of Santa Catarina, with 1.5 million square meters) to the use of solutions to minimize its manufacturing’s environmental impact, aware of the fact that textiles are one of the biggest pollutants and water-consuming industries. No wonder, then, that Grupo Malwee ranks among the 20 most socio-environmentally transparent fashion brands in the world, according to Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index (FTI).

Concerning technology, the company seeks to maintain an infrastructure to support business needs and optimize operations. In 2019, supported by TIVIT throughout the process, the IT team improved its performance significantly by migrating 90% of the company’s technology infrastructure to Google Cloud, including critical systems such as SAP. This decision proved strategic to face the challenges that would come in 2020.

Clean cloud, valuable partnership

Like many of its competitors, Grupo Malwee had its own data centers before migrating to the cloud. In 2018, the team realized a change was needed. Two data centers had to be fully updated, requiring an investment of millions of reais.

“That would have given us the support we needed. But we knew that if we went down that route, we would lock CapEx in for five more years and it would depreciate. And we would be limited to a technology we already had access to, with nothing new, and we’d have to do magic to get what we wanted,” explains Luciano Baramarchi, Grupo Malwee’s IT manager.

After months studying, taking part in events, and talking with the company’s administrative board, the team decided to migrate to the public cloud, which offered more flexibility and solutions with disruptive potential for the business. Google Cloud’s proposal stood out because of its sustainability, since 100% of Google’s energy consumption comes from renewable energy. Recently, Google also committed to remove all carbon emissions from its energy supply by 2030 and to run on clean energy 24/7 in every region.

But the decisive criteria were the proximity of Google Cloud’s experts, from the very first contact, and the referral of an essential partner for the journey: TIVIT. The migration was planned and executed with support from both companies. TIVIT is also currently in charge of managing the environment.

“The attention Google paid to our challenge and the engagement of Google Cloud and TIVIT’s teams were crucial. Those were two major factors in our choice and the project’s success.”

Luciano Baramarchi, IT Manager, Grupo Malwee

A new standard for infrastructure

The migration took place from late December 2019 to early January 2020, when the company staff went on vacation. The team ran a series of tests in type-approval environments to ensure no issues emerged when the factory went back into operation, on January 13th.

Everything went smoothly. A few services, including the SAP environments, now run in Compute Engine, a Google Cloud solution offering high-performance virtual machines. More recent apps that were built under the microservice model were sent to Google Kubernetes Engine, a managed environment for containerized applications.

Other systems, such as factory control, tax and payroll systems, will remain on the internal data centers or migrate to SaaS. “This approach of looking at each environment to understand their traits, with enough flexibility to leave them in a hybrid environment, is vital,” says André Frederico, TIVIT’S CEO and Head of Cloud Solutions.

Thanks to the migration, the team can now create new resources in minutes, scale the environment as needed and replicate data in different regions of Brazil and the world, something that previously, with the local data centers, was very hard or impossible. Their former infrastructure also required purchasing servers based on a five-year contract projection. Today, they can tweak the amount of resources as needed, optimizing costs. The migration alone has allowed the company to save 17% in infrastructure costs.

Workers approve of the systems’ improved performance, which has led to an increase in productivity. Compute times improved by up to 200%, thus reducing report processing, from hours to minutes. Process time improvements were also seen in the SAP environment: backup was shortened from nine to three and a half hours; global material requirement planning decreased from 90 to 40 minutes; and production query times were reduced from ten to two/three minutes.

“The migration has elevated Grupo Malwee to a new standard for technological infrastructure. The cloud environment delivers flexibility and speed in making infrastructure available for new projects and enables cost management to allow for quick decision making and budget predictability.”

André Frederico, CEO and Head of Cloud Solutions, TIVIT

Ensuring data security in a year of extremes

All these benefits had already been noticed in the early months of 2020, but were amplified throughout the year. The need for social distancing to fight COVID-19 forced Grupo Malwee to adopt remote work.

The company was already implementing Google Workspace, which made the transition easier. In just three days, 700 employees started working from home with full access to the systems in the cloud. “This means we don’t have to delay a collection or a showcase and there has been no negative impact on the company because everyone has continued working from home,” says the IT manager.

The pandemic was not the only challenge Grupo Malwee faced in 2020. In August, tornados and heavy rainfall caused damage in more than 30 cities in Santa Catarina. The company’s headquarters in Jaraguá do Sul lost power and only one communication link stayed live. In December, one of the company’s facilities was hit by a small fire that damaged the data center for some industrial controllers.

The IT team implemented its contingency plan immediately in both cases, restoring communication links and activating a second data center to restore systems. Operational continuity was not affected though, because the company’s data were safe in the cloud. Given the number of setbacks, Baramarchi thinks the team ended the year on a very positive note, supporting the company’s operations with the agility needed, cutting expenses, and speeding up the adoption of new technologies and work formats.

“This was possible largely because we have a robust, flexible and modern infrastructure, making it possible to change course every time we needed to. And most importantly, because of the people involved, in Malwee’s team and at Google Cloud and TIVIT. Rather than technology, we chose partners for a long digital journey, and the outcome was truly surprising.”

Luciano Baramarchi, IT Manager, Grupo Malwee

On the path to Industry 4.0

After a year full of challenges, Grupo Malwee has ambitious plans for 2021. In the second half of the year, the company intends to start its project to accelerate to an Industry 4.0 model. The goal is adding more intelligence to factory processes run manually, which cannot be automated yet, such as garment fitting, kit assembly, and clothes folding.

The team will start sketching a strategy to compile data from every process in the manufacturing chain, using AI to understand the tweaks needed to improve production scheduling. This should reduce delivery, downtime and setup times, and increase process efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness, all with a robust cloud infrastructure, to support Grupo Malwee in yet another key phase of its innovation journey.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Grupo Malwee

Grupo Malwee is one of Brazil’s leading fashion companies and the owner of famous brands in the country’s market. It stands out as a pioneer and leader in sustainability, having incorporated innovative technologies and processes.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Brazil

About TIVIT

TIVIT is a Brazilian multinational technology company with 20 years’ experience and operations in 10 Latin American countries.