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5 Strategies to Drive Future Growth by Leveraging Fashion-Specific Technology

The fashion and apparel industry moves fast—with ever-changing fashion trends requiring nearly flawless supply chains and manufacturing execution. To outcompete, brands will need to deploy business and technology strategies that drive growth through customer acquisition and new product development, enhance resilience and improve productivity.  

To gauge the key priorities, top challenges and best strategies—as well as gather insights about technology and transformation—enterprise software solutions provider Aptean surveyed North American manufacturing organizations producing fashion and clothing, footwear, textiles and fabrics.

Here are five strategies fashion and apparel brands and manufacturers can use to help drive future growth by leveraging fashion-specific technology. 

Improve supply chain visibility with cloud ERP

Generic legacy systems with outdated technologies won’t allow for scalability. In addition, upgrades and configurations are not only expensive, but also time-consuming.

A cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provides the flexibility to scale as you grow. ERP in the cloud helps companies adapt more quickly to changing market conditions, supply chain pressures and customer demands. An industry-specific cloud ERP, like Aptean Apparel ERP, automates reporting and business analytics, supports inventory management with a warehouse management system (WMS) and enables seamless connectivity to customers, vendors and third-party logistics (3PL) with electronic data interchange (EDI).

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Increase shop floor control productivity

While the complexities of the labor market are beyond the control of any company, brands can increase productivity through automation. In fact, over 50 percent of the respondents in the survey noted they are already using or plan to implement new technology to automate tasks.

Carhartt, a leading manufacturer of durable workwear, enjoyed great efficiency, savings and improved employee satisfaction when the company adopted Aptean Apparel Shop Floor Control—a system that provides real-time plant floor visibility and optimization—with an average efficiency increase by 13 percent overall. 

Elevate the customer experience

Enhancing the customer experience can be challenging without the right tools and processes. In fact, according to a report released by the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers returned $816 billion worth of merchandise back to the U.S. retail industry last year. 

To achieve growth and maintain profitability in an inflationary environment, brands need to provide exceptional service to existing customers as well as work to attract new business. With a solution like Aptean Apparel ERP, you can embrace omnichannel fulfillment strategies by streamlining inventory management to prevent stock-outs of needed sizes or colors, leveraging EDI for faster digital communication, providing a smooth, hassle-free process for returns, and gaining real-time visibility into orders, production and delivery so you can provide accurate order status updates to customers.

Improve sustainability

Of those surveyed, 36 percent rated meeting sustainability mandates around climate change as the biggest external pressure they are currently facing. Improving sustainability means taking advantage of cost-effective ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover fashion and apparel products and materials.

Brands that approach digital advancement through integrated, industry-specific solutions can streamline internal processes and improve traceability to comply with environmental, social and governance (ESG) mandates and make more sustainable decisions.

Get products to market faster with PLM

By streamlining digital supply chains, manufacturers can take new ideas from concept to product delivery faster than ever before with an apparel-specific product lifecycle management (PLM). Aptean Apparel PLM Exenta Edition helps you manage the product development process and automates many of the non-design tasks required from creative professionals. 

For example, garment manufacturer ADPL improved collaboration among its six brand teams and vendors when the company added Aptean Apparel PLM Exenta Edition, a software that focuses on solutions to support fashion management and the apparel industry.

“PLM definitely has eliminated a lot of paper and given us a tool to reference,” said Lorenzo Martin, SVP sourcing production and product development at ADPL.

Looking to leverage transformation strategies to ensure growth and protect profit margins? Download Aptean’s 2023 Fashion and Apparel Manufacturing Report to learn more about these key strategies.

This article was written by John Robinson, senior strategic account manager at Aptean.