Home Resources Articles Apparel ERP: from Design to Delivery, optimize Operations with an ERP System

Apparel ERP: Optimize Operations from Design to Delivery

How can you boost efficiency, communication, and profitability for your apparel business? Don the right ERP software.
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Boosting Your Apparel Business’s Efficiency

From designing, selling, and manufacturing clothes to juggling trends and customer bases, from maintaining excellence in-store and online to managing finances, inventory, and supply chain logistics—apparel businesses are complex. If you’re trying to run all these moving parts manually or with outdated business management software, you may find yourself falling behind in the highly competitive fashion marketplace.

To gain an advantage over the competition and keep your business moving smoothly, you need the right technology at your side. You need an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that supplies the unique features necessary for prospering in the apparel market.


Understanding Apparel ERP and Its Importance in the Fashion Industry

An ERP solution is a comprehensive, centralized repository for a business’s data. It replaces multiple disconnected, unintegrated systems and offers team members a single source of truth. They can access vital operational knowledge—from sales and customer data to inventory and supply chain information—anytime, anywhere. This streamlined centrality is critical to efficiency in the multi-step, many-layered process of converting raw materials into finished apparel.

What is Apparel ERP?

Apparel ERP, also known as fashion ERP or textile ERP, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system specifically designed for the apparel industry. It is a comprehensive software solution that helps apparel businesses manage all aspects of their operations, from design and manufacturing to sales and distribution.

Benefits of Fashion ERP for Business Operations

An ERP solution has many benefits for companies in the fashion industry, such as:

  1. Improved communication: With companywide data stored in a single location, project team members have access to the same updated, accurate information and can easily communicate about projects without switching systems. This creates an informed, cooperative atmosphere that encourages success.
  2. Streamlined manufacturing: Ordering materials based on manual processes or disparate data is a risky guessing game. It may result in over- or understocking, which can cause costly overages or delays. However, by automating every manufacturing process with an ERP system, quantities and costs are accurately calculated for you.
  3. Effective inventory management: Like order management, inventory management is vital to apparel businesses. Knowing in real time what’s in stock and what’s been ordered—down to the color, size, style, quantity, and price—allows you to efficiently meet fluctuating customer demand. The burden of tracking inventory and order/fulfillment dates is squarely on the shoulders of the ERP system.

    Fashion_Footwear_Apparel ERP

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  5. Reduced costs: An ERP solution can automate tasks previously managed by employees, which reduces the time and costs associated with additional labor. The software also supplies machine performance, production schedule, inventory level, and staff productivity data, which can be used to pinpoint and eliminate unnecessary expenses.
  6. Improved query management: Internal and external requests for information should be swiftly answered to satisfy employee needs and customer expectations. Unfortunately, paper-based solutions and siloed software systems make it difficult to collect and analyze information quickly and easily. An ERP system makes these problems a thing of the past by holding all data—clients, supply management, sales, manufacturing, human resources, purchase orders, and more—in a comprehensive, accessible database.
  7. More accurate reporting: Most modern ERP solutions provide customized reports, personalized dashboards, and sophisticated analytics resources powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). The result? A 360° view of your business at a glance, which enables you to spot trends, monitor the marketplace, and gain a data-driven advantage over your competitors.

4 Signs that your Fashion Business Needs ERP Software

The benefits of an ERP solution are hard to ignore—as are the signs that you need new software to boost your apparel business from good to exceptional. Here’s a brief list of the most critical signs:

  • You’re saddled with inefficient business processes (e.g., double and manual data entry, overreliance on spreadsheets, disconnected applications, etc.) that waste time, effort, and money.
  • Your existing software cannot scale according to your growing needs.
  • Your inventory information is consistently inaccurate, causing cost overruns, warehouse space concerns, unnecessary delays, cash flow issues, and more.
  • You lack information about and respond slowly to customer requests, which leads to customer dissatisfaction.

These signs signal the need for an end-to-end ERP system that can centralize information and automate processes for a better, more profitable apparel business.


How to choose an apparel ERP system

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an apparel ERP system, including:

  • Business needs: The system should meet the specific needs of the business.
  • Budget: The system should be affordable.
  • Vendor: The vendor should be reputable and have a good track record.
  • Implementation: The system should be easy to implement and train employees on.

ERP Software Capabilities to Look For

Once you’ve determined that you need an ERP solution and decided on the main selection factors, it’s time to search for the right one. As you compile your list of must-have capabilities, make sure to include the following:

  • Workflow management: Workflow management optimizes the steps it takes to complete tasks correctly and consistently. The ERP system you choose must provide workflow management capabilities, so you can document, monitor, and perfect your operational processes, see bottlenecks and opportunities, and gain insights into workers’ skills and roles.
  • Materials and inventory management: Because inventory management is so critical to an apparel business’s success, your ERP solution should help you simplify inventory processes. Simplification features include lot and serial traceability, item management with matrix items and attributes, automated replenishment, and flexible inventory location capabilities. You should also be able to manage complex pricing/discount/volume policies, make shipments through various carriers, provide inventory valuation, manage non-stock items (e.g., warranties, services, or labor), and so much more.
  • Distribution and shipping management: An ERP system with integrated supply chain and logistics functionalities makes distributing and shipping products seamless and pain-free. The right software will ensure that your products are picked, packed, and shipped to customers with the proper labeling and documentation—on time and in budget.
  • Omnichannel sales: Today’s customers expect to be able to interact with your apparel business online, in-store, over the phone, by email, and through apps. You must be ready and able to respond through whichever channel they choose, whether they’re looking for an answer to a question, have a complaint, or want to return a product. Customers expect a seamless shopping experience, and an ERP system is designed to help apparel companies provide just that.
  • Multi-currency accounting: For geographically dispersed small and midsized business (SMBs) or SMBs with a global reach, managing multiple currencies within one accounting solution is a necessity. The ERP solution you choose must provide powerful multi-currency accounting features that will let you control your finances, transact in your preferred currency, track gains and losses, look up currency rates, manage audit reports, and more.


In addition to these powerful capabilities, an ERP system should seamlessly integrate with third-party applications. Linking apparel-related software to your business management solution extends your ability to support your customers and their unique needs from a single, comprehensive interface without painstakingly switching between applications.


Thomas Finney
"Acumatica allows us to connect with third-party solutions to a degree that other ERP solutions don’t have. It allows us to build in functionality in a way that best fits our business needs."
Thomas Finney, IT Director

Acumatica Cloud ERP in Action: Real-Life Apparel Industry Users

“Acumatica tracks inventory in the right categories for us and provides for drill down to see the specifics on what’s behind the number. Acumatica is already doing more than our last system could, giving us a competitive edge.”   Holt Condren, Co-Founder & CEO, Ink

“Acumatica is our one-stop shop for everything from accounting to inventory to sales to purchasing and so on. For technology to work well without hacks or workarounds is rare, and Acumatica works really well.”    Craig Matusinksi, eCommerce & Social Media Director, Kevins Worldwide

“With Acumatica, we can track inventory in real-time knowing where each item is. Whether it’s in the production flow, whether it’s in raw material stores, or whether it’s in transit. Having real-time inventory tracking and understanding where it is located in the factories is very important to us. With accurate inventory and costs, we can see how materials are allocated to orders and styles as well as where it’s at in the process. We can also see when items have been shipped.”   Devin Samayamanthri, Chief of Staff, Design Studio

The Acumatica Difference

Choosing the right ERP software, like Acumatica, may be the difference between success and failure in the competitive fashion market. Acumatica equips you with the features and capabilities you need to improve efficiency, communication, and profitability—all housed in a comprehensive, robust solution that will fill your business needs as they grow and change.

See what’s possible when you have a future-proof ERP platform that truly puts customers first.

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