In manufacturing, your apparel enterprise resource planning (ERP) application is your essential business toolkit, but risk is inherent in continuing to use a system that is out-of-date. Productivity and customer satisfaction are key benchmarks that will drive your business’ growth, and both are in danger if your ERP system is lagging behind that of your competitors. If you’re unsure when to upgrade your apparel ERP, the following warning signs may indicate that the time to do so has arrived:
1) Your apparel ERP is no longer supported
Most applications, software and computer systems have a shelf life: the point at which the manufacturer ceases to offer support and updates. Even if you’re happy that your ERP system is functioning well and providing your business with the tools that it requires, an end to support represents a potential problem: vulnerabilities or instabilities in the software will no longer be addressed through update patches. Since hackers and cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to breach commercial computer systems, an unresolved vulnerability is akin to leaving a door wide open when a burglar is doing a spot of window shopping on your street.
Furthermore, a lack of support can also mean that technical problems with your ERP system cannot be addressed, causing your business’s effectiveness to be compromised. In this situation, an instant upgrade to a serviced version might be your only choice, giving you little to no time to consider your options.
2) You're paying high licence or support fees for a dated product
Equally, if you’re being charged excessive maintenance fees by your software provider, you may not be getting value for money, especially if your ERP is an older version. A more cost-effective option may be to upgrade to an up-to-date version that offers a greater range of tools to support your business as it grows.
3) You can’t access data remotely
In the modern commercial world, staying one step ahead of your competitors is vital to your company’s success and, in some cases, its survival. Travelling to sales meetings with potential clients, for example, is important to generate new business but takes you away from the office, from where the entire operation is directed, for long periods of time, making it hard to progress sales leads in a timely manner.
If your existing ERP system has no mobile functionality, it’s time to switch to an alternative product. With Wi-Fi Internet extensively available, accessing your apparel ERP from a mobile or tablet is an easy way to manage the key aspects of the business and to provide customers with more up-to-date and incisive information about product ranges and stock availability.
4) The ERP system is holding back your business
Successful businesses are fast-paced and constantly evolving, so an ERP system that is difficult to use or takes time for recruits to master could be detrimental to the success of your company. Your existing ERP system may be slow and unable to efficiently manage large volumes of data, making it hard to access information quickly, while older systems may not fully integrate with different browsers, affecting the quality of your customers’ engagement with your brand. Alternatively, your apparel ERP may be over-reliant on specific software, such as Microsoft Excel, which may not offer the ability to analyse raw data as quickly or accurately as you need.
5) Your apparel ERP doesn’t include the latest industry features
If global expansion is your goal – or even forging less complex trading relationships with only a handful of countries overseas – your ERP system needs to offer the full range of features without the need to constantly install add-ons or install separate versions - for example, to accommodate different languages or register with multiple tax authorities. If you’re currently reliant on an older legacy system, it’s unlikely that it’ll meet the requirements to enable your business to branch out internationally.
Even if you’re operating solely within the UK, without the complexities of international transactions, your ERP system must be able to manage industry trends, such as costing and availability by warehouse or access to selling data.
Without up-to-date software with full functionality, it’s likely that your business will be left behind by its rivals in a fast-moving and competitive climate. STYLEman offers the cutting-edge industry-ready features of an ERP - get in touch to find out more.