With the rise of seasonless fashion, the number of collections produced is increasing, and deadlines are becoming increasingly tight. Fashion companies cannot afford to make mistakes in today’s business environment, where any type of feedback or criticism can go viral. Inefficiencies, delays, blunders, a lack of communication, and a lack of cooperation may all be disastrous to even the most successful fashion business.
With vast volumes of data pouring from many tools and systems, fashion manufacturers and retailers must choose a dependable, unified system to store, organize, and arrange product, consumer, and business data to ensure that all supply chain players work from the same version of the truth. To capitalize on business intelligence, we must analyze the appropriate type of data.
As the fashion industry evolves, close coordination becomes increasingly important. It’s not only about the designer sketching a lovely pattern and getting it produced on high-quality materials to sell. To maintain a smooth workflow from concept & design to production, today’s product creation involves rigorous coordination between designers, merchandisers, buyers, manufacturers, and merchants.
Enabling this coordination will require enterprise system integration. Before implementing this integration, brands need to identify the systems involved, and relevant information involved, consider the interaction ability of the legacy systems and prioritize the universal compatibility of the systems to ensure a successful integration. Also, the existing integration should be studied to avoid repetition and ensure value add. There are some more prerequisites that fashion businesses need to consider before integrating their enterprise systems.
1. Clearly Defined Goals
Every fashion & apparel brand has different goals as there are no one-size fits all. Brands should define their goals thoroughly and review them to understand how they will impact the organization. Integrated systems are a means to achieve a Brand’s objective and not the end itself, so identifying the need for Integration is essential.
The goals of integrating the enterprise solutions can include:
- Centralized product data for easy access.
- Automating the process to reduce human errors.
- Collaboration between brands, vendors, & suppliers.
- Hassle-free information exchange between multiple applications.
- Streamline workflows in the supply chain.
2. Stakeholders’ Commitment
Change management has its own challenges, so enterprise integration will require the stakeholders and the management teams to be on the same page. Stakeholders’ commitment is required to implement a successful integration process.
3. Adoption Challenges/techniques
Technology companies offering integration services should understand people’s readiness to learn and adopt change management for successful software integration. As an approach to end-user adoption, companies should offer tips & tricks, cheat sheets, and user manuals that help users to easily adopt the software. Moreover, they should help users understand the need for integration and how it can help them achieve their goals.
4. Right Expectations from software
When fashion businesses define the right goals, they should also be sure of their expectations from the integrated system. Companies need to set appropriate milestones with deadlines for efficient implementation of enterprise system integration.
5. Define ROIs
Businesses that are willing to integrate their enterprise systems should define their return on investments. With proper integration businesses should ensure that they get the following returns:
- Supply chain Flexibility – Increase collaboration with Suppliers, reduce over-reliance on some suppliers, ensure transparency, sustainability, scaling up/down production, etc.
- Speed to Market – Reducing Product Development Time, Intelligent Sourcing for Production facilities, etc.
- Using Customer/Sales feedback – Adjusting Production volumes according to feedback received.
Enterprise integration is not a “nice to have,” but rather a requirement for success in today’s competitive environment. It will assist fashion companies in capitalizing on the opportunities presented by digital transformation. Businesses may build products faster than their competitors, improving customer experience, quality, and visibility across the product development lifecycle.