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 When that occurs, the cost of managing the business, and the likelihood of making costly errors based on outdated or incomplete information rises exponentially.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.