Apparel and Fashion ERP Systems, Applications and Selection Criteria

In today’s competitive and fast fashion market, can you manage a manufacturing unit without right information in right place? No, that would be very difficult to manage the business effectively and profitably. Basic information like the production status, material movement status, purchase and sales data. That is why all apparel and fashion manufacturing company prepare the report, keep records, and do documentation. Still many of them using the manual method of reporting and data recording.

The next-gen business owners and business leaders are not happy with the manual report system. Most of them have already realized how the manual reporting system is dragging them back. They know the benefits of the ERP systems and buy an ERP system for their business.

You may know that the garment manufacturing industry is moving to industry 4.0. An enterprise resource solution (ERP) is the must for managing apparel supply chain whether it is factory level or an extended supply chain. An ERP system helps a garment unit by providing necessary information as needed, helps in preparing the database, eliminate the manual data entry and repetitive entry of same data or reduce register maintenance partially and in some parts completely.

The objective of implementing an ERP

We are discussing the ERP systems. And ERPs are no more a new technology in the garment and fashion manufacturing industry. It looks good to have an ERP system. Factory owners feel good to have a good technology - ERP system in the company. But before you purchase one ERP system for your factory, you should know the objectives of the ERP system in the apparel manufacturing and the primary applications of the ERP systems.

I have listed basic applications of the ERP system -
  • Real-Time business information, 
  • End-To-End process accountability, 
  • Improved visibility 
  • Reduction in production cost
  • Digitization of day to day documentation like - Order entry, shipment, Challan generation, billing, production launch, stock entry, production planning and process scheduling (Time and Action calendar)
  • Inventory management and control,
  • Product costing,
  • Generation of fabric indent and BOM
  • Reduce and eliminate physical report and record maintenance, which is an error-prone and not secure.
  • Quicker approval of bills, samples etc.
  • Manpower management 
  • Staff performance analysis 
  • Employee payroll and employee leave management.

What you need to implement an ERP system successfully?

Just buying a good ERP brand product does not make the company better. The system needs to utilized by the company - either the system should be customized as per factory needs or factory needs to change its working procedure as the system demand to run it efficiently. Following are few pointers on prerequisites for getting the most from the EPR implementation.

  • Awareness among the factory staffs and department heads should take responsibility of using the system’s functions.
  • A comprehensive training of the staff who will be using the ERP tools
  • Action should be taken from the top management on elimination of manual process and moving toward digitization
  • A team needs to be formed for implanting and running the ERP system and helping the users when needed. I have observed that in small size companies, ERP system is implemented but only one or two people responsible for running the system. This would not give success in long run. 
  • Many small size factories don’t have IT setup (IT team). In such cases factory should hire one skilled person to look after the ERP system and troubleshooting.
  • Good networking /internet connection / LAN connection should be there for better utilization of the system 

Apparel ERP selection criteria

If you have decided to buy an ERP system, you have many options to choose from the best brands. Still, you should select one following some criteria. Based on the world's best PLM and ERP solution providers you can follow these criteria for selecting an ERP system for your business. Apart from the price of the ERP you should consider these points -
  • Ease of user training and system maintenance
  • Flexibility of software tools – Customization of system flow based on factory workflow
  • Availability of different modules with the ERP software
  • Compatibility of data integration with other software for reporting
  • ERP pricing model
  • Annual maintenance charge (AMC) for the using the ERP system 
  • Latest reporting tools and 
  • Report customization service should be provided by ERP solution provider
Last but not the least, ERP system makes employees' life easier at work in many ways. A factory can manage its processes and manpower very efficiently with the help of the ERP system. But users should know the fact that an ERP system cannot run automatically - it needs human intervention and human should have the desire to utilize the benefits of the ERP system.

Also read: Inventory Management and Control Software (ERP) for Apparel Manufacturing Businesses

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Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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