Software needed by fast-growing apparel brands
Apparel brands that are growing fast or want to grow fast need a software platform to streamline operations and drive their success.
A traditional ERP, especially when not implemented properly, is more often a liability than an asset. It slows an organization down with unnecessary steps that do not add value. While you expect increased efficiency and productivity gains, poor implementation of a traditional ERP can produce the opposite effect. A fully customized implementation can cost millions of dollars in requirements gathering, analysis, development, change management and training. The implementation can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years based on its size and scope. Too many implementations have failed even after companies have spent all that money and effort, for smaller organizations even to consider a traditional ERP.
That leaves software systems developed specifically for apparel brands. These go by several names – apparel management software, Apparel ERP, Fashion ERP, to name just a few.
What do you look for in an Apparel management software?
There are various operational, administrative, and financial processes involved in running an apparel business and you want your apparel management software to handle all of them seamlessly. Your apparel management software should have the following core components built-in and also offer other peripheral functionality through integrations.
Product Information Management (PIM)/Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
Brands want to develop new products that customers want quickly and at the lowest cost possible. A PLM can help manage and organize designs, materials, and sourcing information, costs, bill of materials together during the product development and production phases. The PIM keeps all the relevant product marketing information in one place such as detailed HTML descriptions, SEO descriptions, searchable product tags, photos, prices on various sales channels. This is essential in a world where brands must sell on various channels and platforms to first survive and then thrive.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
You need to have a customer relationship management system that helps you keep track of all your customers, contacts, addresses, their purchases, preferences, etc. The CRM should help your sales reps and agents keep track of their tasks as they follow up with prospects and close more sales. The CRM should also help you with your direct consumers as you try to sell to the same customers across different channels. It is also important to keep customers informed continually on orders, invoices, shipments, as they are happening.
There are a plethora of order sources, and you need to use several of them to grow fast and to spread your risk. You may have orders coming in from various sources – your B2B platform, order entry by sales reps, wholesale platforms such as JOOR, NuOrder, Zalando, your own consumer eCommerce stores on Shopify, WooCommerce or eCommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy. You need to fulfil these orders promptly in line with customer expectations seamlessly. Add to that the complexity of pre-orders. And, your operations have to scale as your order volume increases.
With omnichannel sales also comes increased complexity in inventory management. It is important to always have good visibility into stock levels, incoming stock, outgoing stock, and required stock. In some cases, across multiple locations. Critically important is keeping these stock levels up to date across all the sales channels in real-time.
Whether you have in-house production or outsource it all or a mix of the two, your software should be able to manage your production and procurement needs. You will need to be able to accurately plan your needs to never run short but also not end up with excess inventory.
Uphance is an apparel management software system ideally suited for small apparel brands that want to enhance operations and grow fast to reach $10million annual revenues. It is complete and affordable and maybe the only such software that offers a free trial.