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Integrate to Innovate: Discover the Benefits of Apparel ERP Software

Integrate to Innovate: Discover the Benefits of Apparel ERP Software

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Integrate to Innovate: Discover the Benefits of Apparel ERP Software

Aug 5, 2022

Shannon Sickmon
Man and woman in small office with sewing machine and tablet

As fashion industry experts know, the way consumers shop today has shifted forever. Most consumers still prefer to shop at online marketplaces, according to a study conducted by Insider Intelligence. They found that online sales of all goods have exploded, reaching a staggering $1 trillion in 2022.

In the same study, they noted that online sales of apparel and footwear culminated at almost $61 billion in 2021 becoming one of the fastest growing segments, just under electronics. For apparel companies, this shift indicates that they must meet their customers where they live—online. That means they must get their products to market faster than ever before which sounds impossible, but the tools apparel companies need to achieve a faster go-to-market strategy are already available.

In this article, we’ll give you a brief overview of the software that apparel companies need to compete in a digital marketplace and how it can help you succeed.

Apparel ERP Software

In general, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is designed to help companies integrate all aspects of their business processes, from design to accounting to manufacturing, and finally, to order fulfillment. A good ERP offers a “single source of the truth” and ensures that all documents, financial information, customer data and inventory information is accessible to everyone in an enterprise with only a few clicks of a mouse. An ERP streamlines and automates internal business processes, which improves productivity and efficiency throughout the organization.

However, industry-specific apparel ERP software is even more comprehensive. This type of software, designed by experts in the fashion industry, facilitates all processes in apparel manufacturing and distribution improving speed to market. We are in a digital age, so apparel companies must evolve the way they plan, design, manufacture and ship their products.

Apparel ERP software, along with integrated, fashion-specific components, offers multiple benefits for apparel and footwear companies, but the biggest benefit is a reliable, user-friendly source of real-time data that guarantees that everyone from the design team to the shop floor is working with the same information.

Benefits of Apparel ERP Software

Any apparel design or manufacturing company needs full visibility of their product from concept to consumer. You need to manage a constantly shifting supply chain as you source raw materials. You must plan, design and create products while keeping your customers happy by getting them the right products at the right time. On top of all that, you must be mindful of your carbon footprint as international regulations get more restrictive across every industry.

If you are trying to run your apparel business with manual processes or a legacy ERP, you won’t be able to keep up. The best solution to meet customer expectations and seamlessly manage your processes is industry specific apparel ERP software.

An apparel ERP solution handles all your business processes, including managing warehouse, accounting, manufacturing and design functions in one place. You will get end-to-end visibility and invaluable data about each stage of the process, which allows you more capital and enables you to make smarter business decisions. And when your clients are ready to buy, online eCommerce tools let you master omnichannel fulfillment.

Benefits for Finance and Accounting Departments

It’s imperative that your accounting and financial data is accurate and up to date because it enables you to set budgets and assign financial resources for items like raw material procurement, salaries and operating expenses. Apparel ERP software gives you the power to make data-driven decisions because all data throughout the organization is fully integrated. This means you get a 360-degree view of data from all aspects of the business giving you a complete picture of your financial health.

Here are some of the benefits of an ERP for the finance and accounting departments:

  • Gives you detailed reporting of chargebacks and deductions, so you can reduce these charges in future.

  • Resolves issues due to duplicate data entries because information between departments is tallied into a single system resulting in data consistency with fewer errors.

  • Built-in workflows automate data entry throughout the sales process and streamline order-to-cash cycle.

  • Reduces time spent on financial reporting—accurate, real-time financial reports for stakeholders can be generated in minutes.

Using an ERP gives you more financial control over your business—you can see the fiscal impact of every order and make pertinent decisions in real time.

Benefits for Warehouse Team

Bottlenecks and shortages are very real problems for every industry right now. That means that your design and manufacturing teams, despite their best efforts, might not be able to source their supplies from their usual vendors. Your warehouses must be able to manage incoming inventory effectively and ensure that all outgoing orders are compliant.

Apparel ERP software with built-in inventory management tools is imperative. You know that if you order too much of an item, you might have to mark it down later to get it out of your warehouse and make room for better-selling items. If you order too little, and the item sells out, you could lose a valuable customer.

You need an organized warehouse to ensure efficient fulfillment and avoid financial bottlenecks. With the inventory management tools in your apparel ERP, not only can you keep track of completed items and where the orders must go, but you will have accurate counts of every item in every style, size and color. In addition, with built-in electronic data interchange (EDI), you improve business cycle speeds and the security of transactions. The system automatically coordinates with accounting and sales processes so that once orders go out, the system updates inventory levels.

Warehouse management and inventory management tools have other benefits, such as:

  • Increases order accuracy and efficiency: Decreases amount of inventory you must keep in stock while ensuring that orders go out correctly and with correct paperwork.

  • Saves money: Because you will always know what you have in stock and where it’s located, you’ll decrease inventory costs and unsold items.

  • Allows for better planning: You have a centralized record of every item, its location, supplier information, specifications and quantity in stock. This allows you to plan and forecast for future sales and make data-driven business decisions.

A warehouse is the beating heart of your enterprise, and, to manage it, your warehouse team needs robust inventory management tools. An apparel ERP with integrated warehouse and inventory management functionality is the key to achieving that crucial balance between supply and demand because these tools help you track products at every stage of their life cycle from the processing of raw materials to sending out finished products.

Benefits for Manufacturing and Design

The biggest benefit of apparel ERP software systems is, because you have a single source of truth, you can increase the speed to market. Your team has the information they need to collaborate and make changes at the manufacturing and design phases. An apparel ERP, once it's integrated with tools like product lifecycle management (PLM) and shop floor control (SFC) tools, shortens the product development cycle.

Detailed documents and visual assets management tools not only allow the designers to keep a current Bill of Materials (BOM), but it lets the manufacturing team know what to expect and what materials to order as the design team finalizes the concept. SFC software lets management see production numbers in real time so you can get accurate counts of finished products and keep your promises to your customers.

In addition, apparel ERP software helps manage the sourcing of raw material which further streamlines the manufacturing process. Without a technology solution, the manufacturing team would have to manually calculate the amount of raw material they would need to create a finished garment. If those numbers were off, they would either have a surplus of material that they couldn’t use, or they would have to stop production and order more. Apparel ERP software solves this problem by calculating the exact amounts of materials needed as well as the current cost.

If it’s integrated with an SFC solution, apparel ERP software gives you real-time data throughout the manufacturing process, including dyeing, stitching and printing. That way, you can guarantee processes are efficient and correctly follow compliance of quality control standards. The system catches any errors or discrepancies and stops production until the manufacturing team corrects the anomaly.

With automated manufacturing and inventory processes, your design team can concentrate on creating next season’s products, because they will have confidence that they can get the supplies they need to make the best product possible. The sales team can give accurate dates about final orders because they will know when to expect the finished products. Then, your financial team can forecast based on those incoming sales.

Sewing It All Up

Apparel manufacturers and distributors must remain agile. Therefore, they need an industry-specific software solution that allows them to stay on top of shifting trends, meet compliance regulations and uphold sustainability initiatives. Apparel industry leaders need complete transparency along the value chain, which means that they need integrated data with one source of the truth.

Enter Aptean. Aptean Apparel ERP integrates all business processes involving the critical areas of apparel production from procurement of raw materials to inventory and warehouse management to production and then final sale.

That means that you can spend more time innovating, and less time getting your products to market—which is exactly what a successful apparel company needs.

Get dressed for success with Aptean’s industry-leading apparel ERP. It’s designed by apparel industry experts with your business in mind. Discover more, now.

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