The India Business of Fashion Report tells that the Indian apparel market is expected to grow by 11% and swell to USD 85 billion by 2021. The apparel market is heavily dependent upon factors like:

a. Seasonality

b. Changing climatic conditions

c. Global demand

d. Changing customer preferences

e. Operational expenses

Maintaining high levels of productivity along with decreasing operational expenses is a significant challenge for apparel manufacturers. The following list sheds light on other challenges:

1. Lack of real-time management
Apparel management requires high-level coordination between various business departments. Most businesses don't have automated software that enables different teams to communicate and share critical information in real-time. It gives rise to information silos and resists teams from working as a cohesive force.

2. Lack of an integrated approach
There are many processes in apparel companies that require tight integration, such as:

a. Ordering the best quality fabric at low costs.

b. Sampling the stock that has arrived.

c. Spreading and cutting the fabric into small chunks that can be further processed.

d. Sewing the fabric into garments.

e. Performing Quality & Analysis (QA) tests to ensure that the manufactured garments are of the best quality.

f. Packing the finished products into attractive and affordable packages.

g. Managing the incoming and outgoing finances efficiently.

3. Inventory stock-outs and warehouse management
Many apparel companies don't implement enterprise software that can automate the incoming of raw products and the outgoing of finished products. They provide real-time inventory status and automatically buy raw materials from the vendor if the stock goes below the set threshold.

4. Reduced data security
Many apparel companies use outdated systems to manage essential reports and confidential information, such as:

a. Finance data

b. Sales orders

c. Employee personal details

d. Fact sheets

e. Industry-specific brochures

f. HR files

g. Data analysis reports

h. Bill of lading

It leads to the leaking of secret information to non-business stakeholders that can have disastrous impacts.

How ERP system helps apparel manufacturers
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems destroy information silos and allow different business departments, including sales & marketing, supply chain, vendors, suppliers, distributors, finance & accounting, and customer relationship management, to function as a united force. Cloud-enabled ERP systems allow apparel companies to lower operational expenses as they no longer have to keep a large IT team. Moreover, they also enable companies to provide a top-notch customer experience that helps build robust and long-lasting relationships. The most significant benefit of implementing ERP systems for apparel manufacturers is collecting critical user details, monitoring the changing customer preferences, and transforming market trends. These data points allow the senior management to build unique customer personas, brainstorm effective marketing strategies, and execute high-impact marketing campaigns specifically tailored to your business needs.

How ERP helps apparel manufacturers increase efficiency and reduce their operational costs

1. ERP system allocates work efficiently and makes business processes fast
A top-class apparel manufacturing ERP software automatically generates orders, stores them in the repository for future use, and sends a copy to the customer. It provides the real-time status of the order to monitor the finished product's exact location in the supply chain. You can also view the Bill Of Material (BOM) at any time and edit it as per your need. ERP software makes it easy to handle small-scale batch runs and systematically perform numerous activities, promoting employee efficiency, time management, and less confusion.

2. ERP system reduces administration cost
ERP software allows every industry, including the apparel industry, to store crucial customer information in one place. It will enable all business stakeholders, including C-level managers, frontline executives, vendors, suppliers, and distributors, to access critical information at any time and from anywhere. Moreover, ERP software also has a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module that allows forming robust and evergreen relationships with customers in the following ways:

a. Answering customer queries 24/7.

b. Sending reminder emails to customers regarding their recent abandoned carts.

c. Reminding customers to provide reviews for their recent purchases.

d. Collecting customer feedback from various social media platforms and analyzing their mood.

e. Updates the FAQ section regularly and routes challenging problems to support service professionals.

ERP software handles trivial jobs that allow sales and marketing professionals to focus on more strategic tasks. They also eliminate paperwork by automating employee records and invoices.

3. ERP software facilitates remote working
Remote working became a reality since the covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020. A series of lockdowns were implemented by governments worldwide that put a temporary ban on companies across industries. Employees began working from home and it was tough to collaborate in the initial few months. ERP software came as a boon for companies as it allowed them to collaborate from geographically distant locations. Video conferences grew in numbers, and people began to share critical business documents over cloud systems like Google docs and One-Drive.

Remote working existed even before the pandemic's emergence, but companies didn't take enough interest to stock themselves up for a major calamity. But after the virus spread across the nook and cranny of the world, ERP systems became mandatory for running a business.

Conclusion
As the disposable income of people is increasing gradually, they are readily purchasing expensive clothes. The apparel market is expanding rapidly and to keep up with the pace, companies must implement ERP software to perform their business operations quickly and conveniently. It also helps form a platform where different business stakeholders, such as company departments, vendors, suppliers, distributors, and customers, can collaborate effectively. Finally, ERP software also allows companies to adhere to government policies, rules, regulations, and norms so that they don't fall into any legal trouble.

Author's Bio: 

Nishant likes to read and write on technologies that form the bedrock of modern-day and age like web apps, machine learning, data science, AI, and robotics. His expertise in content marketing has helped grow countless business opportunities. Nishant works for Sage Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of CRM and ERP systems to small and mid-sized businesses in India.