Apparel Software Trends 2014: Ethical Sourcing and Compliance Are Among Top Supply Chain Issues

Apparel Software Trends 2014: Ethical Sourcing and Compliance Are Among Top Supply Chain Issues

April 22, 2014

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

In our previous blog post, we shared answers from the first two sections of the annual Just-Style management briefing on Apparel Software Trends. NGC’s Mark Burstein, president of sales, marketing and R&D, was interviewed, along with other leading fashion technology executives, and we wanted to share Mark’s responses here, along with links to articles in Just-Style’s four-part series.

Just-Style: Where should apparel firms be focusing their investments now if they want to remain competitive into the future?

Burstein: The key to competitiveness is synchronizing the global fashion enterprise. In order to do this, apparel firms should focus their investments on solutions that integrate PLM, Global Sourcing and Supply Chain Management into a single, seamless system.

These systems should encompass not only product design and development, but all the phases of SCM as well, including WIP tracking, vendor collaboration and management, materials management, quality and logistics, and much more. This should integrate with other enterprise systems as well, including ERP, to synchronize everything (and everyone) that is involved, from the initial design until the products are available on the retail floor.

The benefits of doing this can directly impact the bottom line. One apparel company implemented an integrated PLM, Supply Chain Management and ERP system last year, along with a new warehouse management system, and saw a 9% increase in gross profit in the first year; they expect to see another 7% increase this year, as they implement additional features in the systems. This company viewed integration of all its business systems as a top priority, and chose a solution that fully integrated PLM with SCM and ERP. It’s an excellent example of why enterprise synchronization is so critical for apparel companies.

Click here to read the full article.

Just-Style: What else do you believe should be topping the industry's technology agenda this year? [[more]]

Burstein: It is critical to integrate all enterprise systems into one central hub to share real-time data throughout the organization.  A web-based solution should be used as the entry point and distribution mechanism, since this can give every department and external trading partner immediate access to the information they need to do their job efficiently and correctly.

This type of solution breaks down the silos in apparel organizations and puts all stakeholders on the same page.

All too often, however, many apparel companies still rely on fax, spreadsheet and email, with Illustrator files that are emailed back and forth, change orders that get lost in a stack of faxes, and information that’s outdated and inaccurate. This is a recipe for disaster – just think what would have happened if Lululemon had identified the quality problems in its women’s yoga pants before they ever shipped and taken immediate action to correct the problems. When companies can’t share information in real time upstream and downstream, the results can be devastating. PLM, global sourcing, supply chain management, ERP and other enterprise systems all need to be part of a single centralized hub that promotes collaboration and data access; this type of enterprise orchestration and synchronization should be at the top of the industry’s technology agenda.

Click here to read the full article.