Accurately planning for supply and demand is essential for apparel businesses to succeed in a volatile market. Underestimating demand can result in lost market opportunities, while over estimating demand leads to overstocked items and inefficient manufacturing strategies.
It’s like a seesaw with weights at either end. The goal is to strike a balance between supply and demand through effective supply chain management. A good ERP, designed with the fashion industry in mind, can help control supply and demand and optimise the supply chain, in several ways:
1) Job Scheduling
ERP software balances the use of resources in your supply chain by managing your raw materials inventory in response to incoming orders. This lets you create effective job schedules and align your production policies with demand, ensuring your inventory is replenished at the right time, and in the right quantities.
2) Efficient Procurement
An ERP provides an efficient means of managing procurement at all stages of the clothing lifecycle. Purchase orders can be automatically generated and tracked, and communications with suppliers logged, in order to streamline the procurement process. This helps keep track of your inventory without the risk of over or under stocking, and cuts out much of the time needed to manage procurement and purchasing manually.
3) Greater Process Integration
An ERP acts as a dashboard which integrates and streamlines a wide variety of business processes. This not only decreases the burden of physical data entry and admin, but provides greater transparency and ease of access. Data can be assessed faster, and chains of accountability understood more accurately.
4) Better Collaboration With Suppliers
A shared ERP lets members of the supply chain standardise processes for better understanding and collaboration. This improves communication by ensuring that all people are on the same page when it comes to obligations, costs, and delivery schedules. The ERP can also provide a shared knowledge base of past communications, which can be accessed whenever responsibilities need clarifying, or there is an issue in the supply chain.
5) Greater Transparency
From improved accountability and integration comes greater transparency. Departments, contractors, and suppliers at every stage of the process receive accurate and up-to-date information about shipments, stock levels, invoice statuses, and delivery ETAs, preventing the delays and misunderstandings that can lead to supply and demand problems.
6) Better Cost Management
An ERP allows businesses to quantify and monetise every process in the supply chain, leading to greater awareness of costs and margins. With this raised awareness comes the possibility for more accurate production budgets and projections. You can also use this data to identify inefficiencies in your operation, and mitigate the risk from factors outside your control – such as market fluctuations and pandemics.
7) Efficient Returns Management
Returns are a fact of life in the apparel sector, whether your business works in production, distribution, or online retail. Processing returns efficiently and accurately is essential to prevent backlogs and confusion in the flow of goods, and for customer satisfaction. An ERP can help process and manage returns in the cheapest and most efficient way possible, while analysing the data for improvements that can help keep your returns rate low.
Find Out More
STYLEman ERP is a purpose-built resource management platform for the clothing and footwear sector. It enables clothing businesses to take control of their supply chains, optimising productivity, reducing delays, and balancing supply and demand. For a free product demonstration and to see the benefits for yourself, please get in touch today.
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