Skip to content
Header Secondary Logo
Header Secondary Logo

Stitching Together Success: Building Your Business Case with Apparel Software

Stitching Together Success: Building Your Business Case with Apparel Software


Explore Apparel ERP

Stitching Together Success: Building Your Business Case with Apparel Software

24 Aug 2023

Aptean Staff Writer
Employees working in a textile design workshop

There’s no room for inefficiency in the fast-moving fashion and apparel industry. To drive growth, brands must find ways to execute nearly flawless supply chains and manufacturing processes while creating styles and products that delight buyers. Apparel manufacturers need an integrated digital supply chain to satisfy changing industry challenges, conditions, consumer behaviors and business models.

Apparel software enables you to make smarter decisions by eliminating data silos and uniting business processes for a single source of truth. That’s why more fashion and apparel manufacturers are adopting industry-specific cloud software for their digital transformation. According to Aptean's 2023 Fashion and Apparel Manufacturing Report, 54% of North American fashion and apparel brands have already adopted or are in the process of adopting cloud ERP.

In this article, we’ll define apparel software, explore what features you should look for and discover how an industry-specific solution will benefit your apparel manufacturing enterprise. Let's begin stitching together your path to success with apparel software from Aptean.

What Is Apparel Software, and Why Is It So Important? 

To stay ahead of shifting consumer demand and supply chain challenges, fashion businesses need technology solutions that enable innovation and streamline operations across the organization.

At the heart of apparel software is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Cloud-based ERP brings all the information apparel manufacturers need to operate and grow into one unified interface, providing the aforementioned single source of truth to both internal and external stakeholders.

ERP software provides access to real-time data to the entire company and your fashion supply chain—enhancing visibility into your operations in a centralized solution and enabling manufacturers to scale intelligently and reach new markets.

Building on this solid apparel management software foundation, many brands take advantage of specialized integrations to further streamline the fashion supply chain with product lifecycle management (PLM), electronic data interchange (EDI) and shop floor control (SFC) solutions.

First, let’s look at the benefits of a specialized apparel ERP system, and then explore other integrated fashion and apparel software solutions.

Benefits of an Industry-Specific Apparel ERP System  

You face unique challenges and requirements if you run an apparel design or manufacturing company, so a generic ERP won’t cut it. A purpose-built ERP with apparel-specific features like a style-based matrix, multidimensional sizing, multi-retailer SKU production and pack management can give your operation a competitive edge. Apparel ERP software saves your business time and money while simplifying the order process, delivering superior inventory control and improving vendor and supplier relationships.

An industry-specific ERP is a must in today’s fashion world. Across different types of technology, fashion and apparel manufacturers achieved more significant growth when using an industry-specific solution than those that were not. According to our aforementioned recent survey, manufacturers using an apparel-specific ERP solution grew revenue by 7%, compared with only 1.4% growth among those using a non-industry-specific solution and a decline of 4.5% among manufacturers who did not use any ERP solution.

Here is the essential functionality provided by apparel ERP

  1. Supply Chain Management (SCM) - Confidently generate accurate forecasts, manage inventory, track supply chain stages and centralize vendor communications to reduce costs and proactively navigate issues to keep your fashion supply chain moving. Apparel manufacturing software also delivers access to pre-built reports so you spend less time on reporting and more time on insights.

  2. Warehouse Management System (WMS) - Apparel software with WMS functionalities help you better control and oversee warehouse operations from when raw materials and finished goods enter your warehouse to the moment they leave.

  3. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - Apparel software with built-in EDI saves you time setting up trading partners and eliminates the need for integration with another solution. EDI also helps you minimize errors while giving you improved visibility and control over transactions.

  4. Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) - With built-in MRP features, apparel software provides on-demand insights with forecasts based on seasonal fluctuations and historical data. You can improve margins by reducing inventory costs and avoiding production delays.

  5. Time-phased Demand Planning - Inventory management tools within apparel ERP can create purchase requisitions for raw materials and finished goods based on real-time, accurate stock information. This information is aligned with current warehouse stock, order allocations and lead times helping you reduce excess inventory and carrying costs.

Apparel specific software empowers companies to focus efforts on innovation and manufacturing while improving and redesigning processes. With apparel ERP optimizing the supply chain and boosting profit margins, many companies leverage additional solutions beyond ERP to accelerate products to market and drive efficiencies.


of North American fashion and apparel brands have already adopted or are in the process of adopting cloud ERP.

Apparel PLM: Speed Time-to-Market 

A cloud-based, apparel-specific PLM solution automates time-consuming processes to speed your products to market and simplify global collaboration between designers, product managers and supply chain partners while helping you track and manage calendars.

PLM provides purpose-built design features that enable brands to support faster digital supply chains and handle surges in orders with smaller design teams. It keeps designers creative with these critical features:

  1. Line and seasonal management - Improve calendar visibility and control with features including high-level plans by attribute, access to personalized line sheets and presentation boards, seasonal calendar management and design color view.

  2. Material and sample tracking - Automate front-end processes with access to and sharing of design material approvals, sample evaluations and improve communication with vendors.

  3. Advanced tech pack development - Accelerate design, sourcing and development with multiple bill of materials (BOMs) and measurement pages, grading views and templates.

  4. Integration with design tools - Enhance design creativity and productivity with 3D support and integration with design tools such as Adobe Illustrator and Browzwear.

Apparel SFC: Improving Productivity and Quality on the Shop Floor

Fashion and apparel software also includes shop floor control functionality designed to collect production data and report on manufacturing execution. SFC software employs easy-to-use handheld scanners and mobile tablets, along with Wi-Fi networking, to collect real-time data so you can identify production issues as they happen and keep production moving.

A SFC solution empowers workers, supervisors and managers with up-to-the-minute production visibility and control. Companies that adopted this software saw as much as 44% quality gains and up to 37% higher productivity.

Three key features of industry-specific SFC software include:

  1. Real-time data collection using Android devices with wireless networking and an easy-to-use web-based management dashboard.

  2. Automatic payroll calculations with a third-party payroll service and support for individual and team incentive pay.

  3. Plant floor visibility and control with work in progress (WIP) order tracking, line balancing tools and advanced production planning.

Finding the Right Purpose-Built Apparel Software for You 

Industry-specific software offers more out-of-the-box functionality to meet the unique needs of the fashion industry. Apparel-specific ERP solutions require less extensive customizations and offer the integrations your company needs to optimize operations from concept to consumer. Choose apparel software designed to work for fashion that has all the features needed to get your products to market faster, without sacrificing quality or creativity.

Get dressed for success with Aptean’s industry-leading apparel software. It’s designed by fashion industry experts with your fashion business in mind. Request your personalized demo today.

Start transforming your fashion and apparel business today

If you’re ready to take the next step, we’d love to help.

Lady in red dress and high heels