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7 Ways Fashion Brands Can Benefit From Apparel Software Solutions


Explore Apparel ERP

7 Ways Fashion Brands Can Benefit From Apparel Software Solutions

2 Nov 2023

Aptean Staff Writer
A fashion and apparel professional smiles confidently in the warehouse.

Much of the fashion and apparel industry is challenged by current macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions, which have businesses struggling to secure market share and drive growth. Being successful as an apparel business is not only about remaining ahead of the latest styles, but also operating in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

While traditional cost-cutting strategies have their place, there are many untapped opportunities that can truly revolutionize your business and boost your bottom line.

Record inflation is a pressing concern for 56% of apparel manufacturers, undoubtedly impacting the 36% who also identified that rising costs are a significant barrier to growth, as reported in Aptean’s 2023 Fashion and Apparel Manufacturing Report. These statistics shed light on the critical need for innovative solutions to navigate the industry’s constantly evolving landscape and overcome the increased cost of doing business.

By tapping into the robust capabilities of industry-specific apparel software solutions, manufacturers and brands can propel their operations with unparalleled cost savings.

An Overview of Apparel Software Solutions

Apparel manufacturers must stay ahead of the competition to remain profitable—but that requires innovation and a keen eye for emerging trends. Beyond the usual tactics, business leaders should look to implement innovative technological solutions that can directly impact their operating costs.

To begin, let’s take a look at four key apparel software solutions and the benefits they can deliver to your business:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a software system used to manage and streamline business processes. Apparel ERP software provides end-to-end visibility of the supply chain, including materials, orders, inventory and production. When using an industry-specific ERP, you can reduce manual errors, improve communication, automate key business processes and gain real-time insights into your fashion and apparel operations; benefits that allow your business to optimize core activities and make data-driven decisions.

  • Warehouse management systems (WMS) enable efficient management of inventory, including storage and movement of goods within warehouses. By integrating WMS functionality with your ERP solution, you can optimize space utilization, track inventory in real time, improve order fulfillment accuracy while streamlining warehouse operations. Thereby, this software can help drive efficiency, enhance productivity and improve customer satisfaction through faster and more accurate order processing.

  • Product lifecycle management (PLM) software streamlines product development to accelerate time-to-market and simplifies both internal and external collaboration. A PLM for apparel businesses helps manage the entire lifecycle of a product, from design and development to sourcing and production. It offers features like line and seasonal management, material tracking, advanced sourcing and enhanced communication. By integrating PLM and ERP, fashion and apparel brands can accelerate design and development processes, improve team collaboration and gain real-time visibility and control over product calendars.

  • Shop floor control (SFC) likewise provides real-time visibility and control—for the production floor. In apparel manufacturing, SFC offers features such as automated data collection, plant floor visibility, worker performance feedback and quality control. By integrating SFC software with ERP, apparel companies can increase productivity and efficiency, reduce throughput time, manage quality and minimize off-standard time.

Implementing these solutions for your apparel manufacturing business can drive better results as your company gains end-to-end visibility and control over its supply chain, enabling better decision-making and improved operational efficiency.

As you will read below, these fashion software systems also automate routine tasks, freeing up valuable time for more strategic activities. Lastly, they enhance collaboration and communication within your organization and with external partners, leading to faster product development and increased customer satisfaction.

Now, we'll delve into seven cost-saving opportunities that fashion brands commonly overlook that apparel software solutions unlock.

1. Drive Efficiency: Streamline Manual Processes and Reduce Errors With Apparel ERP

The era of endless paperwork and manual data entry is over. It's time to embrace a comprehensive apparel ERP system. This powerhouse software doesn't just manage orders; it helps you orchestrate efficient operations by automating order processing, inventory tracking and production scheduling.

As mentioned in our solution overview, manual processes can introduce human errors and inefficiencies that eat into your bottom line. ERP can help to ensure accurate real-time data flow between departments on a unified platform. This capability can help minimize mistakes, reduce delays and boost resource utilization.

Labor costs are a significant factor for fashion companies, and optimizing workforce efficiency is crucial to maintaining profitability. That's the beauty of automating error-prone tasks. By leveraging apparel ERP technology, you can enhance the productivity of your current team and achieve more without increasing labor costs.

In short, apparel ERP helps you avoid costly errors and save valuable time by eliminating manual data entry from your processes. That in turn drives improved accuracy while also freeing up your employees to focus on higher-value tasks.

2. Conquer Omnichannel Chaos: Elevate Warehouse Operations for Better Returns Management

In the age of omnichannel retail, manufacturers must revolutionize their approach to handling returns. Advanced WMS functionalities that are seamlessly integrated with apparel ERP software offer a transformative solution.

These systems provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, enabling efficient order fulfillment and streamlined returns processing.

By automating the returns process, manufacturers can promptly reintegrate returned items into inventory, minimizing overstock situations while enhancing customer satisfaction—a combination that contributes to significant cost savings.

3. Succeed in Vendor Relations: Unleash the Power of a Centralized Portal

Collaborating effectively with vendors can be a complex endeavor. Enter the vendor management portal, one of the key features of ERPs, PLMs and SFCs specifically designed for the apparel industry. Together, these solutions offer comprehensive features for design collaboration, bid negotiations and real-time progress monitoring.

By replacing lengthy email chains and cluttered Excel spreadsheets with an intuitive portal, you’re able to accelerate decision-making processes, reduce communication errors and cultivate stronger relationships with your vendors, resulting in streamlined operations and cost savings.

What’s more, with automated procurement and bidding; updated measurement variances; vendor costing; and an image library at your disposal, you'll have complete visibility into and control over your processes.

4. Full Visibility on the Shop Floor: Leverage Digital Dashboards for Real-Time Insights

Empowering your workforce with real-time information is pivotal in optimizing operational accuracy and efficiency. The benefits of integration of SFC functionality into your apparel software tech-stack introduces data-rich dashboards into your manufacturing environment. These dashboards provide workers with real-time performance tracking that helps them identify areas for improvement.

Armed with this information, employees can significantly minimize errors and enhance transparency in their tasks. Moreover, self-monitoring tools empower workers to track their progress and make on-the-fly adjustments, while performance-based incentives serve as motivators for increased efficiency.

These dashboards also help you allocate your workforce optimally, as they allow your shop floor managers to quickly identify areas that need additional human resources to drive improvement.

5. Master Inventory Control: Utilize Forecasting Functionalities to Balance Supply With Demand

Efficient inventory management presents an ongoing challenge. Apparel ERP software equipped with demand forecasting and inventory optimization modules addresses this matter head-on.

By analyzing historical data, these features estimate future demand, enabling manufacturers to align procurement and production with actual needs. This strategic synchronization leads to the production of the right quantities, thereby minimizing excess inventory, reducing carrying costs and saving your business money.

And beyond these forecasting functionalities, the aforementioned WMS features of ERP systems can further help your brand master inventory control. With accurate real-time inventory counts at a glance, your decision-makers can quickly identify if replenishments are needed or stock should be moved.

6. Revolutionize Design: Manage SKUs at the Design Level

The complexity of managing numerous stock keeping units (SKUs) across different designs and variations can be overwhelming, particularly when design changes are necessary. Enter design-level SKU management, a feature that can be fully leveraged with integrated apparel ERP and PLM solutions.

This technology allows manufacturers to manage SKUs and make changes at the design level rather than handling them individually. When changes are required, they are executed once at the design level in bulk, and the system automatically updates all related SKUs, eliminating redundancies and potential errors.

This streamlined process accelerates time-to-market and eliminates the tedious task of manual SKU management, helping your operations run more efficiently and profitably. What’s more, it also ensures consistency, which is critical as your brand’s lineup of offerings expands and changes with the ebbs and flows of fashion trends.

7. Design Dreams Realized: Unleash 3D Design in the Creative Process

In the traditional apparel design process, multiple rounds of physical prototypes can lead to significant time and resource consumption. The integration of 3D design capabilities within a PLM developed for the apparel industry offers a transformative solution.

By visualizing garments in a virtual 3D environment, designers can assess designs realistically without relying on excessive physical samples. This advanced approach expedites the design phase, reduces material waste and facilitates quicker decision-making, ultimately resulting in substantial cost and time savings.

Forge Forward With Apparel Software Solutions

The world of apparel manufacturing is marked by continuous evolution, demanding innovative strategies for success. While traditional cost-cutting measures can be effective, embracing the potential of modern apparel software introduces a new level of efficiency and cost savings.

From automating manual processes to optimizing inventory management, the possibilities are vast. By incorporating these advanced, apparel industry-specific software solutions into your operation, you can unlock hidden cost-saving potentials, elevate your business operations and solidify your organization’s position as a leader in the competitive fashion and apparel industry.

Ready to embark on the journey of digital transformation? Dive deeper into the dynamic world of apparel business software and the cost savings they can help drive by reading our whitepaper entitled Running Lean: 5 Ways Apparel Brands Are Lowering Costs To Propel Growth.

Empower your business, revolutionize your processes and succeed in the realm of fashion and apparel manufacturing with the power of cutting-edge apparel software solutions. It's not just about cost savings; it's about shaping a future of unbounded potential. Get in touch if you have any questions. We'd love to chat.

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