ERP for the Fashion Industry
Quick Links: How to Choose the Right Software for You | Benefits of ERP Systems for the Fashion Industry | Why You Want an ERP Solution Made for the Fashion Industry | Take Your Apparel Company to the Next Level With FDM4
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems offer numerous benefits to companies in a wide range of industries. They coordinate the business processes that lead to the successful delivery of products to customers, ensure the correct products are in stock and allow you to streamline processes and information across your business.
However, ERP systems are not one-size-fits-all. Companies in the apparel industry need an ERP system that meets the unique demands of the industry and its customers.
How to Choose the Right Software for You
How should you go about choosing the right ERP software for your needs?
An important step is to take stock of your current processes to help determine how an ERP may benefit your company. Check for any overlap in current business processes and opportunities to increase efficiency or cut down on redundancy. Consider your current speed to market as well. Is increasing it feasible, and would doing so help increase your market share?
Next, consider your company’s goals and objectives. Think about the improvements you’d like to make regarding efficiency, speed to market and other areas. This will help you identify ERP features that can help make these improvements. Also, take into account your company’s current growth and target growth, as well as whether you’ll be introducing new products over the coming years. Doing so will help you ensure you choose a program that’s robust and scalable enough for your future needs.
It’s also important to consider the specific features and functionality you need in an ERP system. Look at the functions that each unit of your business performs and whether existing programs could be combined to increase efficiency. Talk to each department about what they want from an ERP system.
Next, you can assemble a team and begin researching your ERP options. Read about the features of each option and the industries their clients are in. Look at marketing materials, case studies, testimonials and reviews. You may also want to ask for references and sign up for demos of various ERPs. Once you have thoroughly evaluated your options, you can narrow them down to your top choices and make your final selection.
Benefits of ERP Systems for the Fashion Industry
ERPs offer numerous benefits to the fashion industry and businesses in general. Some of the top benefits of using an ERP are:
Enhanced Coordination of Business Processes
An apparel ERP system gives a real-time view of business processes every step of the way, from design to delivery. All parts of the process are coordinated because the system consolidates applications into a single platform, from design through sales, purchasing and warehouse management.
With an ERP system, you can wave goodbye to spreadsheet-based planning. An ERP eliminates the need for email, spreadsheets and hardcopies and replaces manual processes. Purchasing management from entry to billing allows buyers to make decisions based on inventory level requirements and customer demand.
Improved Delivery and Invoice Accuracy
Automation prevents human errors in record-keeping, in addition to avoiding delays and wasted labor. By reducing manual processes for shipping, the ERP system reduces the risk of shipping errors that would disappoint customers. Improved accuracy ensures customers receive the correct products on time, increasing customer satisfaction.
An integrated accounting system presents flexible payment options and allows for automatic generation of invoices, reducing the possibility of invoice errors and providing automatic invoice delivery.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
In retail, customer satisfaction is key. An ERP system that improves the consumer experience can enhance customer satisfaction and keep your customers coming back.
Integrated ERP systems provide a personalized customer experience by working in concert with customer resource management. If sales associates can review stock balances and real-time inventory availability, they can advise customers more effectively. When items are out of stock, the sales associate can suggest substitute items and prevent the disappointment of a customer waiting for delivery of an article that isn’t available. Real-time information also allows the salesperson to give the customer expected receipt dates.
Order processing and returns management ensure transparency throughout the entire order lifecycle, from quotes and orders through fulfillment and invoicing procedures. At any time, a customer can access real-time information on the status of their order. If a customer is dissatisfied with an order, the ERP system helps your business regain their trust and satisfaction through return management, which accelerates replacement orders and tracks returns.
By taking advantage of mobility, self-service enables customers to manage and review their accounts. Self-service empowers the customer and therefore increases the level of customer loyalty and engagement.
Ability to Leverage Data Analytics
The retail industry can take advantage of the big data trend by applying data analytics to the information gathered and managed by your ERP system to understand and predict customer behavior. The insights you gain through data analytics will simplify business processes, and it will give you a fuller understanding of customer needs so you can further enhance the customer experience. Improved customer experience helps retain current customers and win new ones over. Many ERPs will provide you with easy-to-read reports and graphics to give you enhanced insight into your processes and assist in planning.
Other benefits provided by ERPs include:
- Increased effiency and a shorter order-to-shipment cycle due to enhanced access to real-time information
- Improved inventory management
- Reduced costs due to enhanced planning efficiency
- Improved labor tracking
- Fewer overhead expenses
- Improved accounting control through the integration of financial management systems
- Ability to manage processes across multiple devices and locations
Why You Want an ERP Solution Made for the Fashion Industry
The apparel industry has unique needs compared to other industries. Choosing an ERP that’s made specifically for the fashion industry can help you get the most out of your system.
The fashion industry has an exceptionally complex and challenging product environment. Products are available in various sizes, colors and styles. Trends are also constantly evolving, and certain styles may have short lifespans or only be sold during certain times of the year. You may also need to account for custom decoration orders, which requires managing artwork and other personalized elements.
It may be difficult to manage all of these factors in an ERP that isn’t designed for the apparel industry. An apparel-specific ERP, however, makes it easy to load and manage colors, sizes, styles, features, pricing, costing and decoration specifications. When it comes to decoration orders, for example, the ERP can handle the whole process, including receiving the order and art files, managing proof approval and managing the work order flow for applying art and other custom features.
The ability to easily and accurately account for these various factors leads to improved:
- Supply chain management
- Inventory management
- Order delivery
- Manufacturing workflow management
All of this leads to improved customer satisfaction, as customers receive their orders faster and with fewer errors. It also leads to reduced costs due to improved coordination and increased efficiency.
Take Your Apparel Company to the Next Level With FDM4
FDM4 understands the unique needs of the apparel industry, and we offer an ERP solution that meets those needs. Our apparel industry-specific ERP system includes features for management of inventory, purchasing, order processing, decoration, financial accounting, compliance and more. We are the leading ERP provider for the activewear industry, including seven of the top 10 distributors. Our deep apparel industry experience reduces your risk, increases the speed of implementation and improves results.
Contact us to discover how an ERP solution for the fashion industry from FDM4 can take your company to the next level.