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Modernizing your supply chain in the fashion industry

By November 25, 2019 December 10th, 2019

Supply chain management (SCM) is one of the biggest challenges in the fashion industry. Approximately 75% of fashion brands plan to adopt AI-infused solutions to improve supply chain flexibility. Optimized and flexible SCM helps your production, marketing, operations, distribution, finance, and customer service teams respond quickly to changing market trends.

What is supply chain modernization?

SCM modernization involves a 360° technological transformation through platform integration, process automation, and AI-powered demand forecasting.

Modern supply chains are designed to deal with the challenges of today’s customer-centric, data-driven world, from agile communication with overseas suppliers to the growing consumer demand for product personalization. Modern fashion SCM solutions unify all information on operations, financials, procurement, order processing, customers, store and staff performance, vendors, and logistics so you don’t have to consult multiple business applications for the answers to your critical business queries.

Accelerating Fashion with Microsoft

These digital SCM solutions unify supply chain processes to prevent unnecessary rework or the manual rekeying of information across multiple business systems. As soon as one supply chain task ends, the next is automatically triggered, which significantly reduces processing delays. If a particular task requires approval or some other manual action, then the relevant team members receive an automatic alert. The SCM system also maintains a detailed history of each automatic and manual action taken across the supply chain, which helps you pinpoint and address errors.

How does modernized SCM help you?

Imagine that an order of green peplum dresses that was supposed to be delivered to one of your stores wasn’t sent in the right assortment of sizes. To reprocess the order, it will have to be sent back to your production unit, which will result in rework, extra shipping costs, and stockouts at that retail location.

Mistakes like these must be dealt with promptly. A modern, apparel-specific SCM solution can automate most order fulfillment tasks and help you monitor product and order information. You’ll encounter fewer shipping errors, and if one does occur, you’ll have complete, nearly instant visibility of the issue.

Modernized SCM solutions provide advanced analytics to help you understand supply chain data and proactively improve your operational strategy. They use machine learning to generate accurate demand forecasts, which leads to lower supply chain costs and faster time to market. These analytics also help you map out your buyer’s journey and ensure that your supply chain operations are closely aligned with it.

Read more: Creating an Effective Map of the Customer Journey

Warehouse automation simplifies order processing, allows your employees to invest their time and energy in higher-value business activities, and results in fewer order fulfillment delays. A cutting-edge SCM solution with automation and data analytics capabilities will help ensure that your customers receive the apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories they ordered as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Making modern SCM a reality

A powerful ERP platform, a skilled technology partner with in-depth experience in the apparel industry, a set of customizable digital solutions, and a well-crafted roadmap are prerequisites for establishing a modern, frictionless apparel supply chain.

The right ERP system

A modern ERP platform helps fashion brands manage essential business activities like accounting, procurement, risk management, compliance, and supply chain operations. It helps centralize the management of data and processes, which can be used to coordinate operations across departments, improve business workflows, and achieve bottom-line savings.

The unifying nature of ERP systems also offers customer-oriented benefits; it can help you create a unified and consistent buyer experience across physical and virtual retail channels. A smoother experience free of snags and surprises boosts brand confidence and customer satisfaction.

An industry-savvy technology provider

In addition to a robust ERP platform, your apparel business must choose a technology partner that is well-versed in optimizing and automating global apparel SCM. They must be familiar with the ins and outs of overseas sourcing, internationalization, CMT and full package sourcing, material requirements planning, managing master products and variants, and product personalization services.

Choose a partner that provides products and services that extend the capabilities of your ERP system and simplify key aspects of apparel manufacturing, wholesale, eCommerce, and retail, including PLM, vendor management, and omnichannel fulfillment.

Leading technology partners also offer:

  • Inventory optimization solutions powered by machine learning that improve your bottom line
  • Automation tools that free your employees from repetitive manual tasks
  • Internal and customer-facing mobile apps that improve productivity and brand engagement
  • Seamless communication solutions that simplify ordering, invoicing, and document exchange with trading partners

A detailed action plan

The success of your supply chain modernization will hinge on the completeness and precision of your strategy. An experienced and competent technology partner will take a consultative approach to modernizing your operations. Your partner’s team should be in constant communication with your own personnel throughout their assessment of your supply chain processes and technology infrastructure.

Once the assessment is complete, you should be given a thorough report on the state of your operational processes, to what degree your existing digital investments can support your present and future supply chain needs, and any gaps in your organizational processes or technology footprint that must be addressed to ensure efficiency and support business growth.

The most important part of the report is a detailed roadmap that describes how your technology partner will proceed with the modernization project. A roadmap created by a trustworthy organization will provide a wide range of important project information, including:

  • A weekly breakdown of all project tasks
  • An overview of the technologies they recommend
  • Profiles of key team members
  • Detailed responsibility matrices
  • Standardized procedures for inter-team communication

Conclusion

Modernizing your fashion brand’s SCM isn’t a trivial task, but with a comprehensive roadmap, a powerful and extensible ERP platform, and a technology partner that understands your needs, you can achieve unimaginably potent results through the digital transformation of your supply chain.

Interested in learning more about the ways that modern technology can improve operational efficiency and control costs across your organization? Please contact Visionet for a complimentary assessment of your apparel supply chain.