Aran Woollen Mills

ERP8, ApparelX, Fashion

Syscom ERP and its integrations are used to run Aran Woollen Mills's entire business.

Customer: Aran Woollen Mills

Product: Syscom ERP/ApparelX

  • Irish knitwear manufacturer

  • Uses Syscom ERP* with integrations

  • High level of warehouse accuracy

  • Integrated production software

  • Quick and detailed reporting

  • Shopify integration for B2C customers

  • Excellent B2B website linked to ERP

  • A great working relationship with Syscom for over 20 years.


Aran Woollen Mills is Irelands largest home-based knitwear manufacturer. Most of their products, ranging from knitwear and accessories to homeware, are designed, made, and shipped out from County Mayo, Ireland. They also offer a smaller, designed in Ireland but sourced abroad range, but their mainstay is “Irish Knitwear, Made in Ireland”.

In 2025 they will be celebrating their 60th year in business. For over 20 years, they have partnered with Syscom PLC to provide and maintain their enterprise resource planning solution – Syscom ERP (also referred to as ApparelX). From inventory management, production activity control, warehousing, and sales order processing, to the accounts modules (including general ledger, accounts receivable, and cashbook), Syscom ERP and its integrations are used to run their entire business. These systems have played a significant role in facilitating the company to maintain steady and controlled growth, to now include three separate production facilities and a dedicated warehouse facility.

Key Features of Syscom ERP for Aran Woollen Mills

Warehouse management

With space at a premium, the warehouse management module was seen as one of the key strengths of ERP. Allowing for multiple items per bin and an innovative solution for handling customer-specific products, it has allowed for maximum use of space. Due to the sustained high level of accuracy rolling stock checks were no longer deemed necessary and have now been replaced by a yearly stocktake. “We treat each picking slip as a stocktake” says Des Deeney, Head of IT at Aran, “as the system guides the picker to each location any issues are discovered at this point, the level of accuracy is impressive considering the high volumes of transactions and individual SKU’s”.

Stock management

Using ERP’s Inventory and Sales Order Processing modules twice daily routines automate stock allocations. Aran also link their production works orders to their sales orders using reservations, so they better control and manage customer requests and requirements. This works well for their customers who have white-labelled products. An innovative development handling all sorts of customer-specific requirements at the sales order or customer level is also heavily utilised.


The Bill of Materials module shows which colour and how much yarn is needed to make each item, and routing tells the system exactly how the item will be manufactured and how long the process is.

Works orders are sent to their separate production software, which integrates with Syscom ERP. When the works orders are finished and receipted, the action automatically informs ERP, and it continues the process from there, through stock allocation, picking, order fulfilment and distribution.

Next-Level reporting

Aran uses ODBC extensively to connect the ERP database to Microsoft Excel – this enables them to produce quick and detailed reports, with complete flexibility. It’s used to produce; daily, weekly, month-end, and ad hoc reports showing the exact state of play with each customer or item. “The volume of data we now have at our fingertips is really valuable, comparing year on year or any time frame against another the data can guide you to better control and better sales”, says Des, “we’ve also integrated with Qlik Sense and port data 3 times a day to the cloud to keep the sales teams up to date”.

Quote mark Having always been seen as early adopters of new technologies the need for a solid ERP offering to control and tie everything together was not lost on us. What is of more significance, and surprising in the fast-changing world of IT in business, is the length of time we have been in partnership. Finding a company that allowed us to not only develop and grow, but also react has been hugely important to us. Be it through off-the-shelf solutions or bespoke development, Syscom has enabled us to lean on and utilise both heavily over the years.

Vincent Hughes, Executive Director of Aran Woollen Mills

Digital Development Strategy

Syscom ERP has allowed Aran Woollen Mills to grow into the largest home-based knitwear manufacturer in Ireland, and they are always looking to the future. A prime example of this was the digital transformation business strategy development program they embarked on in late 2020.

B2C – Shopify integration

First up was the project to integrate Syscom ERP with Shopify – an e-commerce platform that helps businesses build online stores. Aran opted for Shopify because of its strength with the B2C market – the ability to plug into Facebook, for example, was perfect for their direct-to-consumer customers. Shopify is connected with ERP via an EDI, which imports the orders into ERP. “The EDI integration allowed us to utilise our existing processes to handle a huge number of individual orders as a collective. Effectively our DTC operation became another of our B2B wholesale customers, it integrated seamlessly. The entire process is automated with stops and checks along the way to spot and handle any discrepancies. Automating while still maintaining that personal overview for customer service has been a huge success”, outlines Des.

For their B2B customers, however, they needed something much more robust.

B2B website

Whilst Aran themselves were reaping the benefits from Syscom ERP, they wanted their customers to be able to benefit also – and the development of a B2B website, ‘the portal’, began.

One of the problems that the website needed to address, was the fact that many of their customers are based in the USA & Canada, which presents time-zone issues. Access to the portal means that customers are not limited to Aran’s Irish opening hours. Upon logging in, customers can see the information they need and can place an order without having to do this within office hours.

Des relates “We expected there to be a big uptake from our USA & Canada-based customers due to the time difference, but we’ve been surprised by the big uptake by our customers closer to home. The benefit of a 24/7 sales channel speaks for itself but what we’ve come to realise is that the portals main strength is that it allows our shop to be open when our customers' shops are closed. Our customers want to spend their time selling in their shops during trading hours, the portal allows them to now place orders when they retreat to the back office after they close for the day. The fact that it is multi-platform, means they can look at the catalogue and place orders on their phones or tablets whenever is convenient to them.

Another benefit is that it preserves the cart – we know people get interrupted, so the fact they can come back to their order and not have lost it, is a great feature. We’re providing the service that the customer wants – it’s not standard in our industry. It’s another level of service and we’re really excited about going forward – the comments we have got back from customers have been overwhelmingly positive”.

Saves time & increases sales

Before the development and launch of the B2B website, all orders were placed over the phone, by email, fax or via sales agents on the road. One of the key benefits of the website is that it has saved Aran’s sales staff time. It’s reduced the number of questions coming into the sales office – their customers don’t need to call up and query stock levels, as this information is now available to them at any time they like.

The portal gives full and live integration with Syscom ERP (ApparelX) – when the manufacturing process is complete and stock is put onto the shelf in the warehouse, it’s immediately visible and available to customers. It’s also integrated with WIP (Production Activity Control module) – meaning customers can see when stock will be available. Syscom ERP handles customer-specific labels, individual customer pricing and multiple delivery addresses – this is now all available in the portal.

Des said: “Having that kind of information available to you in a live environment is cutting edge – our customers are getting access to real-time data, this is not releasing “buckets of stock” for sale on the web and then replenishing, this is live, when it becomes available, or when it will be available. When we know, our customer knows”.

The portal has also been a sales tool assisting in increasing sales. For example, if a customer sees a garment in two colours – one is in stock, one is coming soon – they can make an informed and immediate decision on what to order.

User friendly design

The B2B website, which was created with Mediamaker, has been designed based on a personal shopping experience, so there is familiarity in the browsing and ordering process – it’s simple online buying for wholesale. Plus, with live visibility into the stock available, it is a seamless experience. The website design was key – it had to be user-friendly - so a lot of thought went into the user interface.

Des said: “Syscom introduced us to Mediamaker, and I’m glad they did. We found the team great to work with. They had a great way of politely getting the best out of, not only the design but also the idea. The ultra clean UX design has received many compliments since”.

Online catalogue

Aran traditionally produces and prints a catalogue yearly. The website now acts as an interactive digital catalogue, which offers excellent filtering options, gives the user the ability to ‘favourite’ items, and is very user-friendly. The website does the job of the catalogue but in a much better way. Advanced search means the customer can now search by product category, material type, range, etc. Plus, it is more environmentally friendly, saves huge printing costs, and can be updated at any time.

Order tracking

The portal brings another level of visibility to customers – giving them the ability to monitor their order in fulfilment and see their current order status in real-time. Fulfilled and open orders are visible and traceable.

Project success

The initial soft launch which took place in June of 2023 was a huge success. From their active customers, over half interacted with the portal within the first 6 months of launch and has continued to grow since. Their customers have found it very easy to adjust to – they’ve had lots of compliments and minimal questions, which is a testament to the ease of use and level of service it offers. One of their customers said: “I used the portal yesterday to place an order – it was very simple to use, and I loved all the capabilities - it’s like shopping online!”

There have been very minimal tweaks to the system since going live, which was down to the intensive amount of testing that was done before launch.

Des said: “This has been a significant project and has positively changed the way we do business. As we just recently crossed over the anniversary of our first order placed through the portal, our customers adopting and actively using the portal continues to grow, to such an extent that already just shy of 20% of all orders received in the first year of launch came through the portal. With the level of positive feedback that we continue to receive from our customers, this can only continue to grow. There’s already a phase 2 development beginning to formulate.”

A great working relationship

Aran Woollen Mills and Syscom have a close working relationship after working together for over 20 years - remarkably many of the same people have worked together for that time. The knowledge and stability this offers has been a key success factor in both the general support and development of Syscom ERP, but also the projects that have come from Aran’s digital development strategy.

Aran are always looking ahead, and Syscom are pleased to be their partner and anticipate many more successful years.

*Syscom ERP is also known as ApparelX for the apparel and textile industries.

Further Information

Find out more about the product from this case study, ApparelX, and how Syscom can support manufacturing industries.

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