Every so often, technological breakthroughs come along that truly disrupt industries. When these breakthroughs occur, the companies that take advantage of them the quickest and the most effectively are able to benefit tremendously and gain an edge over their competitors.
Currently, one such technological breakthrough is happening in the apparel and fashion industry. This breakthrough is omnichannel enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions. Today’s ERP software is giving apparel and fashion companies capabilities that they have never had before, and according to a recent Gartner report, over $400 billion a year is now being spent on it across all industries.
Companies using modern ERP systems are seeing improvements in data analytics, IT, merchandising, procurement, omnichannel commerce and many other business processes. However, arguably the most significant improvements are happening in supply chain management.
Here is how ERP is transforming supply chain management for apparel and fashion companies.
Fashion and apparel companies can now collect, cleanse and centralize all multi-channel customer and point of sale (POS) data in one platform. Once this data is collected, extremely accurate forecasts can be created for product demand, supply and key financial information, such as income and spending.
These forecasts can be leveraged to make decisions to streamline supply chains to prevent wasteful spending, long shipping times, product shortages and other supply chain issues. Advanced forecasting enables fashion and apparel companies to plan more effectively for the future and to keep their supply chains humming along at an optimal pace.
Advanced Warehouse Management
Omnichannel ERP solutions include advanced warehouse management features that accommodate the requirements for retail, e-commerce and wholesale. Fashion and apparel companies can integrate supply chain logistics, optimize inventory tracking and enable multi-channel fulfillment and cross-docking. All of these capabilities allow companies in this industry to have much greater control of and oversight over their warehouses and their inventory.
As a result, warehouse and inventory issues are dramatically reduced, and supply chain efficiency is increased. Companies with advanced warehouse management capabilities can reduce their costs, increase their productivity, improve their storage administration, have greater levels of customization and improve customer service by making sure products are never out of stock.
Complete Supply Chain Visibility
Due to the complexities of the end-to-end supply chain, a major challenge in the fashion and apparel industry is siloed and fragmented data across internal departments and external vendors. ERP systems allow fashion and apparel companies to be able to view all key supply chain data in a completely transparent and unified way.
For example, fashion and apparel companies can identify information in real time, such as how much product is in transit, where exactly each shipment is on a second-by-second basis, when each shipment will arrive, etc. This information can be shared throughout the organization automatically so that all key personnel can access it and make adjustments to it. This prevents countless calls from having to be made for different people in different departments to access the data, saving the company an enormous amount of time and money.
Further, once the supply chain data is easily visible and accessible, the entire organization can nimbly adapt and adjust to the information in order to keep sales, productivity and efficiency as high as possible while keeping costs and business interruptions as low as possible.
How ERP Benefited San Francisco-Based Apparel Company HUF
HUF is an apparel company with its roots in San Francisco skate culture. However, as the company started scaling and growing rapidly, it needed an ERP solution to help it coordinate and centralize all of its sales efforts, data collection, supply chain management and other key business functions.
The company decided to use BlueCherry ERP to help with this. HUF was able to meet its planning and forecasting requirements, which enabled it to optimize demand to avoid mark-downs and stock-outs.
In addition to providing these benefits, HUF was able to automate many manual and repetitive tasks, enabling the company to focus much more on service and strategic planning. Furthermore, HUF is now able to much more effectively track shipments through its supply chain and communicate key logistics information throughout its team. This keeps the company ahead of problems and enables it to keep inventory, warehousing, shipping and sales optimized.
Omnichannel ERP solutions are streamlining fashion and apparel companies and making it possible for them to operate more efficiently and with better margins and to be able to better serve their customers. More accurate forecasting, advanced warehouse management and complete supply chain visibility are just some of the many benefits.