ERP Manufacturing Insights

10 Ways ERP Software Can Benefit the Textile Manufacturing Industry

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10 ways erp software can benefit the textile manufacturing industry

According to some forecasts, the global textile industry will grow to be worth $961 billion by 2021. That means more innovations and room for growth, but also more challenges and competition. A business that wants to succeed in a highly competitive and globalized industry like textiles must synchronize its operations, trim the fat from its budgets and constantly collect insights from its data. To hit these tough targets, it’s important to employ the best tools available. 

Today’s best manufacturing ERP software suites offer the solutions that professionals need. These advanced software products help align and coordinate the many moving parts of a modern business by providing a unified platform for all its most necessary functions, including:

  • Manufacturing materials and processes
  • Inventory
  • Distribution and supply chain
  • Purchasing
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Human resources

Since these products specialize in broad-spectrum solutions, it’s fitting that they also have a wide range of benefits. How does ERP software bring all of these functions together to improve a business’s ability to compete and innovate? Here are 10 major features of good ERP systems that make them invaluable to professionals in the textile industry. 

1. Improved Supply Chain Management

With textile supply chains often stretching across multiple international borders and shipping costs on the rise, textile businesses must create savings wherever they can in their supply chain without sacrificing quality. ERP software is excellent for streamlining, monitoring and managing supply chains, especially for businesses with global concerns. 

Erp supply chain management
ERP software is excellent for streamlining, monitoring and managing supply chains, especially for businesses with global concerns

Achieving supply chain efficiency depends on coordinating numerous moving parts such as manufacturing, distribution networks, suppliers and more, and coordination is one area in which ERP software excels. Most software includes demand forecasting tools that allow businesses to plan ahead and avoid potential delays, coordinating the flow of materials and labor across processes and departments. Textile ERP software also provides a central database from which logistics and distribution personnel can easily access paperwork such as bills of lading, increasing operational efficiencies and decreasing the potential for mix-ups.

2. More Efficiency and More Quality in Manufacturing

In an industry that moves as quickly as textiles, well-coordinated manufacturing is critical for sustainable success. There are all kinds of common issues — such as demand fluctuations, last-minute supply chain hiccups and, of course, the need to keep up with the competition — that demand an agile and integrated response. It’s important to improve these areas proactively rather than simply responding to obstacles.

Manufacturing ERP software gives businesses the tools not just to overcome, but to innovate and optimize their manufacturing operations. Materials management tools help resources flow efficiently, labor and facilities management options reduce downtime in manufacturing facilities and quality assurance modules help manufacturers maintain high standards. ERP offers many great ways for textile manufacturers to do more with less, seize opportunities and even create their own ones. 

Reduced Startup Costs

Earlier generations of ERP software had a reputation for massive up-front expenditures and long, painful implementation periods. But the industry learned from its growing pains, and the new generation of ERP products is the most affordable and easiest to implement yet. 

This is thanks, in large part, to the introduction of cloud-based ERP software. Laborious year-long installs of on-premises ERP systems have been replaced with cloud installs that usually take only a few months and bring more of the software online at once to facilitate improved productivity. And the sometimes daunting costs of purchasing a new ERP system have been mitigated by the transition to cloud subscription models, allowing businesses to make the software an operating rather than a capital expense. 

4. Simplified Returns

In the textile industry, particularly in the fashion apparel retail sector, returns can be all too common. B2C apparel businesses need to be equipped to handle a steady stream of returns, particularly around holidays, and this can prove a taxing task for systems that aren’t up to the job. What’s more, it really matters to customers how businesses handle these returns. One survey of 20.8 million online retail customers found that, for apparel shoppers, a smooth and easy returns policy was the single most important decision factor affecting where they spent their money.

Textile erp management
The CRM modules built into most ERP systems can prove to be a big help in tracking and managing returns

Textile manufacturing ERP systems streamline the returns process by providing a consolidated database for return merchandise agreements. Return policy terms, shipping, package tracking and account credits are all easily managed through ERP systems’ integrative tool suites. Companies that can effectively handle returns through their ERP systems are at a big advantage against their competitors who may still be struggling with patchwork systems and inconsistent performance. 

The CRM modules built into most ERP systems can prove to be a big help in tracking and managing returns. Moreover, they offer great opportunities to improve relationships through transparent returns processing and robust follow-through. That can include offering discounts to customers who were unhappy with merchandise and learning their preferences to better tailor their recommendations. The prevalence of returns is simply a fact of life for many textile industry businesses — but ERP systems provide the best tools to deal with these unique challenges, and smart businesses can find ways to leverage these resources to turn returns from a liability into a selling point. 

5. Single-Platform Data Integration

Having important data scattered across numerous platforms is a common headache for today’s business professional. It can be tough enough to even track down all the necessary data, let alone integrate it into a common and usable format. That’s why many manufacturers have found it helpful to consolidate their most important data into a single platform by using an ERP system. 

North Carolina apparel and home goods manufacturer Casa Fiora found that their choice of the abas ERP system was the perfect one to get their data architecture in a more useful and user-friendly format. The company was able to transition from three separate programs for production, purchasing and CRM into a unified system that collects the company’s essential data into one streamlined database. 

Another great feature of ERP systems is that it’s easy to control which information employees have access to. Role-based permissions allow management to create sophisticated permissions lists that give access only to the right personnel, thus helping to keep information safe and corporate secrets protected. 

6. Scalable Performance

For many businesses, the ability to scale quickly will determine whether they are able to take advantage of some of their most important opportunities. A business’s biggest openings for growth often involve spikes in demand, expanding into new markets, quickly on-boarding new personnel and new product development — sometimes all at the same time. That’s why ERP software can be such a valuable investment in a business’s scaling capacity.

Businesses that rely on a pieced-together collection of software and spreadsheets are less able to take on the challenges of scalability. Interdepartmental communication is more complex, data may not always be accessible to the right people at the right time and manual inputs may be inconsistent. 

Textile manufacturing ERP systems, on the other hand, are built for scalable performance. Their interconnected systems allow businesses to address the challenges of growth holistically and make detailed plans for sustaining growth and seizing opportunities. Most ERP systems also have an option to easily add more users and licenses if necessary. 

7. Improved Customer Relationships

ERP systems also excel at helping businesses track and manage their relationships with their customers. A customer will probably never see the back end improvements that an ERP system helps create, but they will see the front end improvements that result, such as orders that fill and ship faster, reduced errors and improved shipment tracking. 

Digital consumer erp customer relationships
A good ERP system has modules to help manage and improve customer relationships

A good ERP system also provides a customer relationship management (CRM) module to help businesses track and manage their relationships with customers. B2B and B2C businesses can both benefit from an ERP product’s CRM features, such as customer history tracking and sales records. These tools allow a business to easily identify the customer’s needs, wants and pain points, thereby improving customer service and giving sales and support personnel the data they need to effectively manage the relationship. 

Minnesota Glove Inc., a Midwestern workwear manufacturer, found that adopting the Infor FACTS Relationship Management software was a major key for improving existing customer relationships and pursuing new ones. Thanks to the creation of a centralized database of accounts and sales data, their sales reps were able to achieve a new level of consistency and customer service. A wide variety of additional positive effects came as well, including improved purchasing processes and better access to key data at all levels of the organization.

8. Enhanced Inventory Management

In a commercial world where warehouses are often scattered across a country or around the globe, inventory management can be especially challenging. The simple truth is that any system requiring manual inputs in inventory management is less efficient and more vulnerable to mistakes. ERP software addresses these issues by providing robust automation tools for managing a company’s inventory.

ERP systems can automate almost all major inventory tasks, from generating pick lists to automatically syncing inventory to monitoring for shortages and surpluses. Most are easy to integrate with commercially available barcode scanner systems, allowing employees to accurately record picks with a single click of the scanner. And they’re easily set up for automatic alerts to keep employees informed about critical product shortages and other pressing issues. 

9. Superior Security

Security is another common challenge for businesses of all types, and it’s another one where ERP systems shine. Businesses can more effectively manage both external and internal security threats by employing the right ERP system.

A decentralized system with numerous software products and password access points is highly vulnerable to incursions from hackers and other cybercriminals. ERP systems are harder for outsiders to attack because they store their data on centralized servers with a limited number of access points. Cloud-based ERP systems improve this even further by doing much of the heavy lifting on security from their end. Reputable cloud-based ERP providers store their clients’ data on heavily guarded and encrypted multitenant servers featuring advanced security technology that would be cost-prohibitive for many businesses.

ERP systems also provide options to tighten up internal security. A key feature of many ERP systems is their ability to track a user’s digital footprints.” Managers can enable these tools to track their employees’ actions within the system, allowing them to investigate possible theft or other misconduct. 

10. Omnichannel Flexibility

Adopting an omnichannel strategy is a necessity for any business that wants to thrive in today’s commercial environment, particularly B2C retail organizations. Selling through online retailers, social media, in brick-and-mortar stores and beyond — it’s all part of the new normal of omnichannel retail commerce. That means that every aspect of the system must work together smoothly to deliver responsive performance and a great customer experience.

Omnichannel erp strategy
ERP software can provide a data window into another channel to facilitate communication between teams

A well-implemented ERP solution will equip a business to rise to the challenge of omnichannel commerce. From managing compliance requirements across channels, to automatically adjusting inventory, to providing a data window into another channel to facilitate communication between teams, today’s ERP software provides numerous options to create a smooth omnichannel flow. Commerce increasingly runs on a what you want, when you want it” model, and coordination and accessibility are a business’s secret weapons for keeping up. 

Of course, ERP software isn’t a shortcut to success. It still requires smart business fundamentals, the ability to change and adapt and perhaps a little bit of luck. But the overarching key benefit of ERP software is that it allows businesses to move all of the pieces into place to effectively implement sound practices. 

Textile industry professionals investigating their options for ERP software now have the facts at their fingertips thanks to Top 10 ERP. Pricing information, case studies, module descriptions, white papers and even free demos on some software are all easily available through Top 10’s website. So while choosing an ERP software solution is certainly a decision that’s not to be taken lightly, textile professionals should know two things: One, that it’s an important step toward a more efficient and profitable business and, two, that the information is easily available to make the right choice. 

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