The fashion industry is a continually evolving landscape of steep market challenges and emerging opportunities. And obstacles, like high costs of raw materials and global competition, can be roadblocks for many organizations looking to reach their goals.
As fast fashion continues to be the trending topic for many retailers, companies need to make the necessary capital investments in order to meet the demands of new markets and consumers. A cloud-based ERP solution can help free up capital, while providing the flexibility to meet evolving operational needs. Organizations will have funds to expand facilities and warehouses, and be able to quickly and easily respond to opportunities in growth markets. In addition, in this rapid paced market, mergers and acquisitions happen very fast and very often. And, when two organizations merge, so does their software, hardware, infrastructure and processes. The cloud provides a safe, efficient, and economical way to avoid disruption and creates a smoother path to synching all of these processes.
Here are five reasons you should make the move to the cloud in 2016.
1. Reduce costs
Old processes and approaches just don’t cut it anymore. According to Nucleus Research, cloud-based implementations typically require less development and testing resources, and cloud vendors usually provide much of the application support and maintenance. As a result, organizations that deploy cloud-based applications spend 40 percent less on consulting and 25 percent less on support personnel than organizations that deploy on-premise applications. In addition, cloud-based solutions are typically more cost effective than on-premise solutions. By freeing up capital expenses that would otherwise be devoted to implementing and maintaining an on-premise solution, you have more money available to support your growth initiatives.
2. Speed time to value
With the cloud, deployments are faster, there are fewer work slowdowns during implementation, and there is no need to invest capital in upgrading your infrastructure. Rapid response is critical when unforeseen events take place, like new competition that can take market share in a matter of months. On-premise applications aren’t as quick to rapidly structure, expand, and scale up operations, like cloud solutions are, which can put a company at a disadvantage when faced with other fast growing businesses.
3. Grow faster
Because cloud deployments don’t force you to install any physical infrastructure, they help make it significantly less expensive and less time consuming to establish a business presence in new and remote locations. If your business venture is successful, you can quickly and easily scale the solution to meet your expanding needs. And when your new brand, collection or concept outstrips even your wildest dreams, your minimal investment in the cloud deployment for that location represents a much smaller loss than you’d incur with an on-premise solution.
A cloud-based ERP solution is also much easier to update than an on-premise solution. With on-premise, the bills don’t just stop after you finally build and finish the data center. There will be ongoing maintenance, needs for upgrades, power bills, cooling costs, administrative needs and this will continue to mount up year after year. Money thrown at maintaining an on-premise data center can be used productively for more modern solutions, if you are ready to cut the cord on these expenses.
In most cases, the cloud ERP vendor will automatically apply any patches or updates. This means that the solution will always be current and able to meet your business needs, processes, regulations, and requirements, as they evolve over time.
4. Improve efficiency
Legacy business solutions struggle to keep up with the pace of change in a business. Your legacy system may do exactly what you need and want it to today – but how quickly will you be able to modify it yet again – to meet the challenges of tomorrow? We are experiencing omnichannel requirements that were never envisioned when your legacy system was built 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Demand volatility, cost challenges and increasingly complex, global supply chains require a more agile and modern fashion solution.
Business growth is only profitable if it’s balanced with increased inventory turns, streamlined processes, efficiency gains and other operational cost savings. A cloud-based ERP solution can give you a platform for easily collaborating between departments of your organization, as well as externally with your suppliers and distributors. An enterprise-wide, cloud-based ERP system can also provide early detection capabilities and real-time access to information about capacity, availability, qualifications, and interdependencies of employees, equipment, tools and materials data. As a result, you’ll have access to the information you need to adjust schedules and avoid potential disruptions.
5. Improve visibility
A cloud-based ERP system provides complete visibility across an entire organization. For instance, with access to information about your supply chain resources, you can make the most effective usage of constrained resources, find areas where you can increase throughput and efficiency, and promote better material and asset management. Being able to see how all of the pieces fit together—in real time—ultimately helps you operate more efficiently and make better, faster decisions. And, your system is only as strong and as fast as the network it sits on.
As you gear up to seize new growth opportunities, you need capital to invest and the infrastructure to support your organization’s new direction. A cloud-based ERP solution delivers everything you need to free up capital and positions you to swiftly respond to whatever surprises the market sends your way.
Bob McKee has more than 40 years of experience working in and with apparel, footwear, home textiles and fashion accessories companies. He has hands-on experience sourcing apparel products around the globe and was one of the first U.S. apparel executives to start sourcing in China in the early ’80s. His knowledge and skills span retail, sourcing, manufacturing, and product development within the fashion industry.