Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Unlocking the Power of Fashion ERP Software

What are the keys to unlocking the power of today's enterprise software?

Fast-growing apparel and footwear fashion companies quickly see the need for integrated ERP software to better manage their growing business.

That's because as a business grows, the inefficiencies of working with disparate spreadsheets, accounting software, and home-grown software can suddenly reach a dangerous tipping point. When that occurs, the cost of managing the business, and the likelihood of making costly errors based on outdated or incomplete information rises exponentially. Frequent stock-outs, late customer shipments and other problems often become chronic.

We can agree on the problem, but what are the keys to unlocking the true potential of today's enterprise software, so that a company can realize lower costs, greater efficiency, and exceptional levels of customer service?

Getting the best results from your footwear or apparel ERP system hinges on fully utilizing the built-in features designed to allow your business to quickly react in real time to changing customer needs, to changes in the supply chain, and to the latest sales information, to name a few. But in order to fully utilize your ERP software you must first know how to use it. Once learned, ease of use and the degree to which the software aligns with your needs become major factors to success.

Here are 4 Key ERP success factors for fashion companies:

ERP Success Factor #1: Choosing the Right ERP Solution Provider

Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but selecting an ERP provider with a proven track record in the apparel and footwear industry is tremendously important. Unlike other products, apparel and footwear are offered in an array of sizes and colors. Everything from purchase orders, to production, importing, warehousing, distribution, sales analysis and more depends on information easily and accurately rolling up from the detailed color, size and dimension levels up to the summary level for the style itself. ERP software that is optimized specifically to address the needs of apparel and footwear firms is based on a unique multi-dimensional item (style) structure not found in other databases.

Therefore, choose an ERP software solution designed specifically for the apparel and footwear industry, and check out their references for companies similar to yours to confirm the software is easy to use and reliable.

ERP Success Factor #2: Proper Training


Xperia provides training and implementation services for their fashion ERP software. Click to learn more.
Fashion ERP software represents a significant investment in your company's future and is greatly impacted by your ability to use it properly, so don't  skimp on the training. It's critical that your staff be well-trained and confident from the day you go live with your new ERP system.  It's therefore vital that employees in each functional area be fully trained and that internal managers participate in the process to ensure that the training program is a success.

Choose a provider who offers on-site go-live assistance to ensure a smooth transition, and who can provide both on-site and online training prior to going live.

ERP Success Factor #3: Leveraging Business Intelligence


Xperia's Business Intelligence software is tailored to the unique needs of the apparel and footwear fashion industry. Learn more at www.XperiaSolutions.com
Given the capabilities of today's technology, it's more cost-effective than ever to leverage the power of Business Intelligence (BI) software. Smart fashion companies are implementing BI solutions not just for upper management, but also for use by managers and supervisors throughout the organization.

Managers and supervisors in virtually every area of a company, including sales, finance, production, distribution, supply chain management and more can not only use their ERP system to track their most important indicators of success, referred to as key performance indicators or KPI's, but they can also interface those KPI's with their Business Intelligence software to graphically observe these measurements in real time throughout the day as needed. By doing so, trends can be spotted early and corrective action taken sooner, thereby lowering costs and improving performance.

ERP Success Factor #4: Knowing When to Customize Your ERP Software

Modify your apparel ERP software only after first learning how to use it the way it was designed.
It's tempting to think that your needs are unique to your firm. In reality, the ERP needs of most apparel and footwear fashion companies tend to fall into a range of needs. Do your best to resist the temptation to customize your new software to make it look and feel similar to what you are already using.

Instead, have each functional area within your company learn how to use it the way it has been designed. Identify the difference between the normal, human resistance to change vs. a true lack of functionality. Only then is it wise to modify the software. Following this advice can save your firm considerable time and money.

Finding the Best ERP Software

At Xperia, we've been catering to the enterprise software needs of the apparel and footwear fashion industry for over 30 years. We're experts in addressing the needs of your industry, and we look forward to learning more about your company. Contact us today at 610-967-5821 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Right-Sizing Your Apparel Software Provider

They say that size matters. But when it comes to the size of your ERP footwear or apparel software provider, that principle is particularly valid. 

True win-win relationships between you and your fashion software provider are much more likely to occur when you both are similarly sized, or at least compatibly sized so as to provide you with leverage in the negotiating process for bringing new features to market.

Why is this? A large ERP software company does not, and can not, pay close attention to smaller customers for a very simple reason: they do not represent a significant portion of the large company’s revenues or purchases.  The small customer is not critical to the large company’s continued success.

Think about it: if yours is a small or mid-sized business, yet your ERP software provider runs a mega business, then how likely is it that your requested software changes will make it into their base system upgrades? How can you compete with their far larger customers who pay annual maintenance fees for a hundred or more ERP users?

On the other hand, if you are doing business with an apparel or footwear ERP software provider who frequently deals with small and mid-sized fashion companies, then your voice is more likely to be heard because your business size pulls more weight.

At the core of this issue is one word: relationship.  Relationship is more important for a small-to-medium business than a large one, because small-to-medium manufacturers, importers, and distributors tend to have few IT resources, and therefore rely more on the software supplier and/or the implementation consultant.  Thus, in the long run, relationship is actually more important than almost any given feature or function in the software. 

Right-Sizing with Xperia ERP Software for Your Apparel or Footwear Company

Xperia software is sized right to handle your mid-sized or small fashion apparel or footwear software needs
At Xperia we provide apparel software primarily targeted to mid-sized and small businesses who want a software platform that cost effectively scales as their business grows, even into a mega brand. Yes, we've served some very large brands as well over the years, including some with annual sales in the $ hundreds of millions and sometimes into the $billions.

While many of our customers are under $100 million in sales, our scalable, easy-to-use software works great even for startups with as few as 5 ERP users (typically via our SaaS option). We're a family-owned software company focused on providing full-featured, tightly integrated apparel and footwear ERP, Warehouse Management (WMS), Supply Chain Management (SCM), B2B and Business Intelligence (BI) software for over 30 years. We've also integrated our system with various B2C and POS systems, and have tightly integrated our fashion ERP solution with PLM and CRM enhancements.

Bottom line: Chances are high that we can address your needs with our systems right out of the box, but if you need modifications unique to your business, we're happy to provide customization services. We care deeply about the needs of our customers and their success, and would love to earn your business!

Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a demo.

Contact Xperia Solutions for ERP, PLM, SCM, WMS and CRM software for apparel, footwear, and fashion companies