Ten of the Best Fashion Instagram Accounts to Follow.

Introduction. 

Many fashionistas prefer to use Instagram to find and purchase the latest styles as an alternative to endlessly searching online.  Using Instagram, style conscious people can also indulge in the latest fashion trends and lifestyle tips.

Searching for the latest fashion trends online can be a time consuming and frustrating shopping experience.  You can search through millions of pages and end up not really liking anything that is presented in online stores.  For this reason, more shoppers are turning to Instagram to easily locate the latest styles and fashion trends with the convenience to click through to the manufacturer and make a purchase.

On Instagram you can browse the top fashion blogger accounts in addition a vast selection of designers and fashion houses.  But, what are some of the top fashion Instagram accounts to follow?

Here are 10 fantastic fashion Instagram accounts to get you started on your way to enjoying the latest trends in the fashion industry:

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JULIE SARIÑANA

Julie Sariñana – Sincerely, Jules. 3.9 milllion followers. 

Julie Sariñana is the creator of Sincerely Jules which provides a creative outlet for fashionistas looking to develop their own personal style.  Her Instagram account is filled with personal thoughts and inspirational motivation for anyone who follows Sincerely Jules on Instagram.

If you are looking to organize your daily wardrobe and find looks that are uniquely you, Sincerely Jules is full of daily style suggestions that are clean and chic in addition to sharing inspirations from her global travels.  You can also click through to Shop Sincerely Jules to browse and purchase from her daily eclectic line of fashions.

You will find that Julie Sariñana lives by the quote, “Dream, Believe, Achieve” which serves as an inspiration for all of her Instagram followers. She also offers unique screen-print t-shirts that sport the “Dream, Believe, Achieve” motto.

Click here to open the Julie Sarinana Instagram page. 

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matthew zorpas

Matthew Zorpas – The Gentleman Blogger. 143k followers. 

Matthew Zorpas launched The Gentleman Blogger in 2012 with the vision of creating a place for fashion conscious people to develop the confidence to wear fashions you may have never thought you could wear, visit new places around the globe, and taste new culinary delights.

The Gentleman Blogger is filled with an exceptional variety of fashion and lifestyle inspirations. Matthew Zorpas has gone to great lengths to introduce exclusive fashion brands and share an inside look at his life as a blogger and places around the world where he has traveled. Many of his Instagram followers visit, not only to become inspired by the latest fashions, but also to explore places they have never been and learn about different types of cuisine.

Matthew Zorpas is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

Click here to open the Matthew Zorpas Instagram page.

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aleali may

Aleali May. 132k followers. 

Aleali May has extensive experience in the fashion industry working for renowned brands which include RSVP Gallery, Nike, RSVP Gallery, Adidas, and Audi USA.  She is a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago and is a well-known fashion model, consultant and blogger for the fashion industry.

During her work with some of the renowned brands we mentioned above, she found that she enjoys collaborating with others.  She shares her experiences with you on Instagram to inspire you to explore creative designs in addition to unique entertainment and travel venues.

Aleali May famously quotes her perspective on fashion in her blog, “When it comes to Louboutins, most women purchase heels as their first pair, but I got the sneakers instead.”

Click here to open the Aleali May Instagram page. 

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camille charriere

Camille Charrière – Camille Over the Rainbow. 471k followers.

Camille Charrière is originally from Paris and is the founder of Camille Over the Rainbow, an international resource for new and emerging high end fashions. Following her launch of Camille Over the Rainbow on multiple social media sites including Instagram, she brings you a fresh look on luxury styles via her collaboration with renowned brands including Chloe, H&M, Acne Studios and more.

You can also view her featured articles in major fashion publications such as Elle, Vogue, and Style.com. Additionally, she has been frequently featured in the Wall Street Journal sharing brand consultancy advice, exclusive collection designs, and strategies for introducing new fashion trends on social media.  Many of her Instagram followers visit Camille Over the Rainbow for updates on the latest luxury fashion trends.

Click here to open the Camille Charriere Instagram page. 

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who what wear

Who What Wear. 1.9 million followers. 

Who What Wear is a primary fashion destination where the style conscious go to find the newest inspirations.  If you want to easily find up to the minute fashions, you can follow Who What Wear on Instagram and click through to purchase from a broad repertoire of the latest styles.

You can also access a generous variety of fashion content including outfit inspirations for work or a casual night out.  Who What Wear has a wealth of how to tips and tricks in addition to a section where you can personally ask a stylist for suggestions and advice.  The Instagram account is a one-stop location where you can find just about any type of information on fashion including the latest fashion news, reports on the latest trends, how-to wardrobe guides, celebrity style inspirations, and much more.

Click here to open the Who What Wear Instagram page. 

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Miranda Kerr. 10 million followers.

Miranda Kerr is most famously known for modeling as an Angel for Victoria’s Secret line of fashion and lingerie.  She is an Australian model that previously represented David Jones, a prominent department store chain in Australia.

When you visit her Instagram account, you can browse through her most recent fashion photo shoots as well as a large selection of selfies.  The primary vision for Miranda Kerr’s Instagram account is to encourage you with daily inspirational messages in addition to sharing her love for flowers and breathtaking scenery.  Her Instagram account is also full of fashion ideas and travel inspirations from places she has visited around the world.

Click here to open the Miranda Kerr Instagram page. 

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coveteur

The Coveteur. 966k followers. 

The Coveteur is all about fashion, lifestyle and culture.  When you visit The Coveteur Instagram account, you will find inspirations from world renowned stars of street styles and a behind the scenes look at their lifestyle, travels, homes, and closets.

It is from the stars of street styles that The Coveteur was founded in 2011 by Stephanie Mark, Erin Kleinberg, and Jake Rosenberg.  Together in collaboration with street style stars, The Coveteur allows you to indulge in unexplored travel adventures, style and fashion trends, and influences in art and culture.  The Instagram account also helps you stay up to date on the latest fashion influences that define the spirit of current times.

Click here to open the Coveteur Instagram page. 

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miraduma

Miroslava Duma – Buro 24/7. 1.4 million followers. 

Miroslava Duma is a Russian style expert who founded Buro 24/7.  Her Instagram account is a famous trusted resource for the latest news on beauty, fashion, entertainment, lifestyle, and culture.  You can also find expert advice on the latest trends in fashion and authoritative resources on contemporary culture.

Miroslava Duma shares daily fashion inspirations and full-length selfies with all of her Instagram followers.  The selfies encourage those who are taller in height to explore the latest trends despite their size.  You can also enjoy videos and snapshots of exquisite social gatherings, exclusive holidays, and must-have fashion staples.

Buro 24/7 was launched five years ago and has since expanded into the Middle East, Mongolia, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Singapore, Ukraine, and Australia.

Click here to open Miroslava Duma the Instagram page. 

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michael kors

Michael Kors. 8.6 million followers. 

Michael Kors is a renowned designer of luxury fashion items since 1981. A visit to his Instagram account will provide you with a host of style inspirations including men’s and women’s designs, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and a line of Michael Kors watches.  The fashion inspirations are categorized under two signature collections which include MICHAEL and the Michael Kors Collection.

Michael Kors has produced award winning creations and is known around the world for his ready-to-wear fashions and luxury accessories. You can also browse an entire line of fine fragrances and eyewear designed to complement his fashions and accessories. Michael Kors retail stores are located in fashion capitals around the world in addition to online retail outlets.

Click here to open the Michael Kors Instagram page. 

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forever 21

Forever 21. 11.4 million followers. 

Forever 21 is one of the largest fashion retailers across the globe offering the latest fashions and trends in men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.  There is also a line of trendy children’s clothing with many new fashions and designs coming in on a daily basis. A trip through the Forever 21 Instagram account will help you stay up to date on fashion trends and access the latest design releases.

If you are not 21, no problem.  Forever 21 is for everyone that wants to stay young by wearing the latest trendy fashions.  There are brands for just about any body type, height, and size.

The Forever 21 Instagram account mirrors the theme of Forever 21 stores across more than 47 countries in addition to online retail outlets.  The shopping experience is designed to be exciting with a never ending flow of new style inspirations and daily on-trend fashions at a great price. In addition to Forever 21 fashions and accessories, the company also offers other lines including Love 21, Forever 21+, 21MEN, Love and Beauty, and Forever 21 Girls.

Click here to open the Forever 21 Instagram page. 

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A bit about us. 

Micar Computers is a London-based Software Development company that is one of the worlds most established providers of bespoke software applications for the clothing Industry. Numerous leading apparel & footwear companies have used our ever-evolving creation system for over two and a half decades.

We understand fashion and the industry that drives fashion to the showroom. Micar Computer systems has implemented hundreds of bespoke software applications for a diverse range of clients in the clothing, textile and footwear industry sectors. There is no scenario we haven’t encountered.

Take a look around our website to find out more about our industry leading software solutions.

Top Ten Fashion Schools in the World

Best fashion schools in the world

Introduction

If your future goals include pursuing a career in fashion, the options for choosing a quality institution of higher learning can prove to be overwhelming.

The fashion industry can be a competitive but rewarding career.  And, although fashion design is a popular choice by many incoming freshman, there are many sectors of the fashion industry that can provide you with a great fashion career.

In this article, we will focus on the top ten fashion schools in the world.  We will also discuss other dimensions of the fashion industry in addition to fashion design to provide you with options for other areas in the industry that can be very rewarding.

1. Parsons – The New School for Design

Parsons – The New School for Design is one of the top ten fashion schools that have turned out notable graduates including Donna Karan, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Tom Ford, Jenna Lyons, Marc Jacobs, and many more.  The college is located in lower Manhattan in New York City in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood.Parsons the new school for design

With an enrollment rate of more than 43 percent, Parsons has over 42,000 undergraduates and just over 656 graduate students.  The student population studies in programs such as Fashion Marketing, Fashion Studies, and Fashion Design.

Since the early 1920s, Parsons has maintained a presence in Paris, which is one of the major fashion capitals of the world.  The cost for tuition is $39,280 or £25,400.68.  Plus, there are many well-known people in the fashion industry on the faculty where workshops delivered by Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs are commonplace.

Many of the faculty also work in the fashion industry which can help students build solid career prospects.  Parsons has also established partnerships with many companies and retailers in the fashion industry allowing students to get an outside point of view concerning their work.

Check out this informative video created by a first year student at Parsons.

 

2. Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martins is located in London, England and is one of the top ten schools in the world for art and design education.  CSM has turned out notables in the fashion industry such as Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Riccardo Tisci, Christopher Kane, and many others.

The enrollment is currently 1200 students who are studying in programs that include fashion and jewellery design, as well as textiles.  The cost for tuition is £13,300 and the school is also associated with the University of the Art London (UAL) making it a strong prospect for arts and design.

Central Saint Martins is also funded in part by the government which makes it possible for students of different social backgrounds to attend the school.  At the same token, students have access to top notch faculty that is currently active in the fashion industry, including international fashion professionals such as Louise Wilson.

CSM offers several different programs which include Culture and Enterprise, Fashion, Graphic Communication Design, Jewellery and Textiles, Spatial Practices, Drama and Performance, in addition to Art, Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design.

To find out more about the environment of CSM, here is a brief tour of the campus.

3. Istituto Marangoni

The Istituto Marangoni is located in Milan, Italy with three other campuses in Paris, Shanghai, and London.  The school has graduated fashion notables such as Domenico Dolce, Franco Moschino, and many others.  It also offers a placement rate of 90 percent following graduation.

The current enrollment is 2,000 students who are studying in programs that include Fashion Design, Brand Management, Fashion Enterprise, Fashion Marketing, and Fashion Buying.  In terms of cost, tuition is €13,900 to €19,000 or ‎£9,751 to ‎£13,329 depending upon which program you choose.

Students who attend Instituto Marangoni can expect a heavy workload.  However, training from some of the best known people in the fashion industry who are experienced at their craft and apply theory to actual practice, can really pay off when it comes to career placement.  Instituto Marangoni has maintained a reputation of helping its graduates achieve the highest professional levels of achievement.

milan campus marangoni

 

4. ESMOD

ESMOD (l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode) is a prestigious fashion school located in Paris with 21 other schools across 14 different countries.  It is currently the oldest fashion design school in France.  The institution has turned out fashion industry icons such as Alexandre Vauthier, Nina Garcia, Christophe Decarnin, Theirry Mugler, Damir Doma, and many more.

esmond students and gallery

Enrollment is approximately 700 students who are studying in Fashion Design and Fashion Business.  The cost for tuition is €9,900 or ‎£6,945, and has a job placement rate of 85 percent following graduation.  ESMOD was established in 1841 and is known for its invention of the measuring tape and the mannequin.

ESMOD Paris

5. London College of Fashion

London College of Fashion is part of the University of the Arts London (UAL) and is known for its wide variety of fashion programs and courses.  Notable people in the fashion industry who have graduated from the London College of Fashion include Rupert Sanderson and Jimmy Choo.

The enrollment is approximately 2500 students who major in different fashion programs which include Buying and Merchandising, Fashion Design, Beauty and Cosmetic Science, Fashion Critique, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Marketing, and Footwear and Accessories.  The cost for tuition is ‎£13,800.

The London College of Fashion is renowned for its variety of programs that help to open up more career options for graduates.  Additionally, the Fashion Journalism program is what makes the college stand out from other fashion schools.

London college of fashion campus

6. Bunka Fashion College/Bunka Women’s University

Bunka Fashion College is located in Shinjuku, Tokyo with seventy other locations across Japan. The school became known internationally during the 1960s when graduates displayed their designs in the fashion capital of Paris.  Bunka has graduated famous fashion industry professionals such as Junya Watanabe, Tsumori Chisato, Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo Takada, and many more.  Bunka Fashion College is the very first school in Japan to specialise in the fashion industry.

The enrollment is approximately 8000 students in total for both institutions.  Students can study in programs including Fashion Creation and Technology, Accessories and Textiles, Fashion Design, and Fashion Marketing.  Bunka is also known for the creation of avant-garde Japanese fashions.

bunka building

In terms of tuition costs, you can expect to pay anywhere from ¥1,184,500 to ¥1,403,500 (approx. ‎£6,390 to ‎£7,572) depending upon which institution you attend and the program you select for study.  Additionally, a good understanding of the Japanese language is a must to ensure the success of your studies. Bunka is also an excellent choice if you are considering marketing or some type of career in fashion technology.

7. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) logoThe Fashion Institute of Technology is located in New York City and directly in the middle of the Garment District where many of its faculty and graduates are associated.  FIT has turned out fashion icons such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Nina Garcia, Ralph Rucci, Francisco Costa, Reem Acra, and many others.  The school also maintains relationships with key people in the fashion industry who offer workshops and fashion critiques.

The enrollment at FIT is approximately 10,000 students who are studying in programs such as Fashion Illustration, Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Business, and Fashion Styling. The institution is part of SUNY (State University of New York) which provides students with an affordable way to access the best in the fashion industry.  Tuition costs are quite reasonable at $3,034 or ‎£2,011 a semester for New York State residents.  Out of state and international students can expect to pay $8,185 or ‎£5,425.

FIT also is known for its excellent lecture series and the FIT museum which is curated by Valerie Steele and offers one of the largest fashion archives in the world.  In addition to the programs we mentioned, students can also explore the visual arts, as well as a variety of other degrees related to the fashion industry.

Fashion Institute of Technology

8. Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts

The Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts is located in Antwerp, Belgium and is an elite fashion school that enrolls just over 140 students each year.  Notable fashion industry professionals that have graduated from the Royal Academy include Marina Yee, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Haider Ackermann, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, and more.

Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts is known for its heavy workload and serious students.  The school became famous when Marina Yee of The Antwerp Six placed the school on the fashion industry map during the 1980s.  The Royal Academy has been turning out famous fashion designers ever since.

Antwerpen Academie

In terms of tuition, the cost is €7,000 or ‎£4,909.  Tuition is also government subsidised and this includes foreign students.  The school also focuses primarily on the Fashion Design program.  If you are a serious student, you will come out of this institution well-trained.  You must be able to grasp the Dutch language to study successfully.

9. Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is located in London and is known around the world for its broad range of art and design courses at the graduate level.  Famous graduates of the Royal College of Art include Zandra Rhodes, Philip Treacy, Ossie Clark, Erdem Moralioglu, and many more. Additionally, the Royal College of Art is distributed across six different schools.

Royal college of art

Enrollment in the Royal College of Art is under 1000 students with only 100 students to each graduating class due to the exclusivity of the program.  Tuition costs are £26,900 and students have the opportunity to be awarded placement with some of the most famous fashion houses across the world including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Prada, and Givenchy.

To attend the Royal College of Art, it is necessary to have an undergraduate degree in fashion. The school also offers an exceptional career database for job placement following graduation.

Royal college of art workroom

10. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) has been in existence since 1969 and is located in Los Angeles.  Founded by Tonian Hohberg, FIDM was the first college on the West Coast to specialise in fashion.  Since then, the school has graduated such notables as Pamela Skaist-Levy, Monique Lhuillier, Randolph Duke, and many others.  Famous people in fashion that serve on the Advisory Board include Diane von Furstenberg, Fred Segal, and Tim Gunn in an effort to keep the institution current with fashion industry trends.

Fashion institute of design and merchandising

The enrollment at FIDM is currently 7500 students studying in programs such as Costume Design, Fashion Design, Textile Design, Merchandising, Jewellery and Footwear Design, and Beauty.  The school has also maintained relationships with fashion industry leaders such as Guess, NBC Universal, Smashbox Cosmetics, and many others.

FIDM is known as a vocational and design institution that prepares students for careers in graphic design, movie and television set design, fashion entrepreneurship, product development, business management, celebrity fashion design, and interior design, to name a few.  Students can expect to pay anywhere from $27,000 to $36,000 or ‎£17,890 to ‎£23,854 in tuition with an excellent career placement program following graduation.

About the Author

Micar computers is a UK based supplier of the original bespoke ERP software solution for the clothing, footwear and textile industries. Click here to find out more about our products and services.

All images used on this blog are property of their respective owners. I would take my own, but they wouldn’t look this good!

How to Identify the Correct ERP System for Your Business

How to find the correct ERP system

Introduction

Identifying the correct ERP solution for your apparel business can prove to be a challenging task if you fail to acquire the right information to help make the best decision.

If you have ever searched online for ERP solutions, you probably have found an overwhelming number of options available from a variety of vendors and software developers.  This can make identifying the correct ERP system a complex and time consuming effort.

The good news is, you can easily come closer to choosing an ERP system for your apparel business that results in a worthwhile investment if you do your research and ask yourself a series of key questions.  This will help you to find the best system for your company by focusing on a small number of options among the sea of choices you find online.

When considering some of the questions we will discuss in this article, you can better equip yourself and your team with the right knowledge which will eventually lead you to the best solution for your business.

Why is an ERP System Necessary?

Decide in advance why an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is necessary and how it will be beneficial to your business. You can begin this process by forming a team of key people within your organisation.  Then hold a brainstorming session to create a list of current business processes that could use improvement.

The right ERP system can help you improve specific business processes, automate daily tasks, and streamline management as your business grows. This requires identification of key challenges such as information inaccuracy, duplication of data, and other issues that can lead to poor decision making and revenue loss.

iStock_000003974193XSmall2

Does My Company Require an ERP Solution That Can Integrate with Existing Software?

If you have existing software such as Microsoft Office that you depend upon for daily business operations, you will need an ERP system capable of integrating with your current software applications.  This ensures integration is seamless and prevents you from creating more issues and complexities which can lead to business disruptions.

An integrated ERP system capable of connecting all information and applications together can greatly benefit daily operations.  It also provides a configuration where all data and information is stored in one location.  If the ERP solution provides real-time access, everyone in your organisation will always be on the same page when it comes to accessing, modifying, and utilising critical data and information.

integration

Does My Business Require ERP Manufacturing Software?

If your business is associated with manufacturing apparel, you should determine the type of software that may be needed, depending upon daily processes and operations.  For example, if your organisation tests for quality control, you may require the implementation of process ERP applications. Or, if a portion of product is manufactured in parts, you may need to implement discrete ERP manufacturing applications.  This requires identification of the category of manufacturing associated with your company.

Is the ERP System Capable of Managing Diversified Processes?

If your company has a diversified set of business assets, the ERP system you choose should be capable of effectively managing these assets now and in the future.  As your company grows, it may be divided into multiple departments or merged with other companies.  This requires an ERP solution that can manage a largely diversified company.

The ERP system should also be capable of meeting most or all of your specific business needs.  This requires you and your team to identify the most critical parts of daily business operations as high priority and less important operations as a lower priority to ensure the ERP system offers the tools necessary to meet your requirements. Additionally, the ERP solution should be customisable to allow you to configure it to specific products, business processes, and other individual needs that are unique to your business.

Is the ERP Solution Equipped to Handle Reporting?

graphs and chartsTo determine whether or not the ERP system offers the reporting capabilities you need, you and your planning team should first identify specific reporting requirements necessary for ongoing analysis and decision making.  This includes identifying specific information you need to access on a regular basis, business trends that require monitoring, data you wish to analyse, and other important factors in daily business processes and future growth.

A high quality reporting system is an essential tool for identifying trends in your apparel business, tracking costs, monitoring sales, determining profits and losses, generating financial reports, and much more. This information is critical to the success of any business and requires an ERP system which offers intuitive reporting tools.

The tools should allow you to create graphs, customised reports, charts, and other capabilities that allow you to view data in real-time and analyse it at deeper levels. The end result is improved decision making which helps to reduce costs while increasing profits.

Does the ERP Solution Meet Industry-Specific Security and Compliance Standards?

complianceEvery industry has specific security and compliance requirements that must be met on a regular basis.  When these requirements are not met, the fines and penalties can be substantial, not to mention the damage it can cause to your company reputation.

According to different industries, it is necessary to document when the security and compliance standards are being met to confirm the ERP system is performing according to specific requirements.  This includes establishing an audit trail and meeting individual specifications to ensure daily business operations and CRM platforms are secure and the products being offered are high quality and safe.

Is the ERP System Specific to the Apparel Industry?

The more an ERP system is tailored to specific industry needs, the more efficient and cost effective it will be for daily business operations.  This requires working with an ERP solutions provider that understands your industry and can provide you with a system that meets specific requirements.  It also helps you to reduce costs associated with customising the ERP solution to suit the requirements for your industry.

Is the ERP System Vendor Willing to Work with My Company Before, During, and After Implementation?

Even when you choose the right ERP system, there are going to be issues and glitches during implementation. The provider of the ERP system should be willing to work with your team and software developers before, during, and after implementation to ensure you have the support you need through the entire process.  When issues and problems crop up, you will have the support you need to fix the problem before it becomes worse or disrupts business operations.  For this reason, you should avoid choosing an ERP vendor that is a reseller as this places you farther away from receiving support due to the middleman arrangement.

An ERP vendor that is willing to work with you throughout the process is also important when you are trying to decide whether to implement a local ERP system or one that is cloud-based. This ensures you have the support you need when implementing the system with existing applications or you opt to use a hybrid solution that is part local and part cloud-based.

What is the Background and Reputation of the ERP Solutions Provider?

reputationThe background, track record, and financial health of the ERP system vendor is an extremely important part of getting services that are reliable and last for the long term. Yet numerous companies overlook this aspect when trying to choose the right ERP system.

Regardless of the ERP system you choose, it does require a significant investment in terms of resources, time, and money.  This effort can easily be wasted if you choose a vendor that does not have a solid background, upstanding reputation, and sound financial foundation. For this reason, you want to work with an ERP solutions provider that is in business for the long term and has the sound financial footing to ensure they will be around for years to come.

The typical ERP solution is designed to last for just under two decades which means it is considered to be an investment designed to last for the long haul. This is why investigating each ERP system vendor and learning about their track record of successes is critical to the long term success of your business.

Additionally, the ERP system provider should have a history of ongoing change which indicates they are innovative and capable of adapting to a broad range of different situations as technology continues to evolve. This ensures you are aligning your company with an ERP system vendor that is continuing to thrive, instead of one that may close their doors at a moment’s notice.

Conclusion

When you incorporate these questions into your strategy for identifying the correct ERP system, you can begin to delete ERP systems from your research list that are incapable of meeting your business requirements.  It is also important to review the items on your list that are categorised as lower priority to decide if the additional cost of implementing functions for these tasks is worth the investment.

Upon gathering the data from some of the questions we discussed in this article, this will help you to narrow down the choices of ERP systems and determine which one will provide you with the best ROI (Return on Investment).  You can accomplish this step by calculating any hidden fees associated with upgrades, existing resources, licenses, software, and any other components which may impose additional costs.

It is then a good idea to seek other opinions from qualified professionals before you make a final decision.  Any company, regardless of its size, can leverage the benefits of an ERP system.  You just have to remember to use careful consideration, detailed planning, and use the information from the questions we discussed here to find the correct ERP system for your business that will serve you well over the long term.

About the Author

Micar is a supplier of the original bespoke ERP software solution for the Apparel Industry. We provide a comprehensive range of software solutions to mange finance, inventory and point of sale. Visit our Products page to find out more.

ERP

How to Successfully Implement an ERP System

ERP implementation tips

Introduction

Growing competition in the textile and apparel industry has required companies to optimise resources in order to to maintain profitability and customer satisfaction.  One of the primary ways companies are accomplishing this is through ERP solutions.

Many companies across a broad range of industries are implementing Enterprise Resource Planning solutions in an effort to streamline daily business operations and improve customer satisfaction.  Part of successful ERP implementation is choosing an ERP software solution that meets specific business requirements, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all type of approach.

If you choose an ERP solution that supports specific business needs, the implementation process will be smoother, especially when the software is customised for your industry. However, in order for this to happen there are specific steps that must be taken in order to choose and implement an ERP system successfully.

An Introduction to ERP Systems and the Type of Businesses That Use Them

An ERP system is a software solution that provides advanced tools which help your organisation to streamline critical business processes and other activities in daily business operations. When implemented and managed properly, ERP business software provides you with better insight into critical business data, assists with the decision making process, and provides high availability of daily business applications including CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

When an ERP system is integrated within an organisation, it streamlines key processes and functions such as production planning, manufacturing, accounting and finance, purchasing, sales and marketing, customer management, and human resources, to name a few. In the early years, ERP solutions were primarily used in manufacturing. However, with new and emerging technologies, ERP systems are widely used across a wide variety of industries including textile and apparel, retail, IT, health care, entertainment, education, and many other sectors and industries.

Benefits of an ERP System

In recent years, ERP software has been made widely available by a variety of vendors. Many of the software applications are industry specific and provide advanced tools and applications which help your organisation customise ERP modules to meet the needs of specific business environments and processes. However, in order to realise the benefits of an ERP system, you must have a handle on key business challenges, the impact on daily business operations and the end user, long term impact, possible road blocks, and future benefits. Additionally, the transition to ERP must sync effectively with new technologies such as cloud applications, virtualisation, and Web based software systems as well.

That said, some of the benefits of an ERP system include:

Reduced Costs

One of the primary benefits of implementing an ERP system is cost savings when it comes to daily operations.  An ERP solution helps your organisation to reduce production costs, decrease marketing expenses, lower costs associated with inventory control and more.  This is because an ERP solution does not require you to reinvent the wheel and helps your organisation to avoid the problem of information duplication.

reduce-cost

Best Practices with Business Processes

Many of the ERP software vendors design the solution around the best practices for your specific industry.  The business processes provide consistency across the board and allow you to view all processes enterprise wide.  This helps to continually improve operations while creating a healthy interaction between business processes and departments.  Improvements are also easier since an ERP solution reduces the chance of human error due to automated processes and provides transparency for better decision making.

Better Visibility

In the textile and apparel industry, inventory control and tracking often represents a huge undertaking.  When you use an ERP solution, the system is centralised which provides a way to accurately control and track daily inventory levels.  This provides better visibility when it comes to controlling inventory capital.  It also allows your organisation to make fast decisions which allow you to take advantage of opportunities that would otherwise not be visible using older inventory methods.

better visibility

Compliance

Many organisations face high operating costs when it comes to remaining within compliance standards and industry specific regulations. An ERP solution can help your organisation remain in compliance without the excessive costs associated with deploying the staff and IT necessary to ensure successful audits.

How to Successfully Implement an ERP System

In order to ensure successful implementation of an ERP system and Return on Investment (ROI), your organisation must be willing to do a large amount of coordination and planning.  An ERP system will change the way your organisation and your employees work, as well as how the entire organisation will benefit.  This is why an effective change management initiative is critical and can significantly lower the risk using a well-planned strategy and effective communication and training model.  Then it is important to partner with the right ERP vendor that has both the technical and functional expertise necessary to ensure ERP implementation is successful.

Planning for ERP Implementation

In the early stages, it is important to organise a project team that consists of the key players and stakeholders within an organisation.  Key people from each department, as well as senior management and IT can help to establish objectives, develop a timeline, create a training plan, and organise project specific tasks.  The selection of the team should be based on knowledge and expertise in a given area instead of an employee’s status within the organisation.

Once chosen, the project team can collaborate and examine specific business processes before creating an analysis of what processes are in need of improvement.  This can include determining processes that can be automated, time spent on order processing, establishing real-time access to customer data and other business procedures. At this point, it is also a good idea to interview key personnel to discover additional areas which may be in need of improvement.

Once this information is gathered and analysed, clearly defined objectives should be set prior to ERP implementation.  This defines the scope of the project which initially should be all-inclusive.  It may not be possible to implement every single process, but the focus should be on the critical processes that take place within daily business operations.

The team can then organise a project plan which integrates everything we have previously discussed in this step, in addition to defining responsibilities for each team member.  The project plan should also provide a checklist for each team member to ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of what must be accomplished.

Conduct a Review of Business Processes

reviewDuring this stage of ERP implementation, it is necessary to conduct a review of critical business processes.  This requires an examination of ERP software capabilities to help identify any holes in the system.  Conducting a review of the software will help to determine if any modifications will be necessary prior to introducing the solution during the training phase.  It will also assist you with determining the manual business processes that can be automated using the new system.

Additionally, in order to ensure uniformity with business processes, it is important to determine Standard Operating Procedures for each process such as adding new products or customer data, etc.  Each procedure should be documented in a form that can be easily modified as your operating processes change over time.  The formulation of Standard Operating Procedures requires a significant time investment, but it is an extremely important part of the success of an ERP system.

Overhaul and Conversion of Data

When it comes time to convert your existing data to the new ERP system, it is risky business to assume that all of your business data can be automatically converted to the new platform.  All organisations have data which is outdated or, for one reason or another, will not convert to the new system.  It is important to analyse and identify current data to determine where the pitfalls will be during conversion.

In addition to identifying outdated data, it is also necessary to define what new data should be gathered including the source format such as spreadsheets, word documents, etc.  Then you can use a spreadsheet to organise and segment all new data using the upload feature in the ERP software.  Once it is uploaded, it can be reviewed for accuracy and cleaned up by eliminating any unnecessary information such as old customer data, etc.

Testing the System and Training

Test-word-on-white-keyboardTesting the system before implementing training is critical to Return on Investment (ROI).  If the ERP solution is frustrating for employees to use because it is not working properly, they will not use the new system which results in a poor ROI.  For this reason, it is important to test the system and the database to ensure everything is working and all information is accurate and can be properly accessed.

Even if you must run real life scenarios for a week or two to ensure everything is working, the time investment will be well worth it in the long run when your employees adopt the system.  This phase also includes making sure all issues are resolved and the interfaces are designed properly to ensure the software integrates easily with other modules. Also, remember to make sure the testing is done according to the Standard Operating Procedures we discussed earlier in this article.

Once you are sure everything is working properly, you can opt to use a professional trainer supplied by the vendor or train specific team members to oversee the training on the premises.  Training can also include additional tools such as the creation of FAQs, cheat sheets, and other resources that provide employees with a quick reference.  You can also consider providing a refresher course on the ERP software to reinforce training as well.

Once training is complete, conduct another evaluation of the business processes and data access to determine if any adjustments are necessary.

System Launch and Structured Evaluation

Time-to-EvaluateOnce it is time to launch the system, it is helpful to create a checklist to ensure all processes are in place prior to the official launch.  The list can include things like transition issues that were identified and resolved, modifications that were tested, issues during training, presence of the vendor at launch, providing assistance to the employees right after launch, and any other factor you should double check to make it is completed prior to launch.

Once the official launch has occurred, it is important to create an evaluation which refers back to the objectives and goals that were identified during the planning phase.  You should also proactively do an audit once the ERP system has been up and running for at least one week.  Then prepare another audit for three to six months down the road to ensure the anticipated business benefits and Return on Investment are on course.  This will tell you whether or not the ERP solution is adding value to daily business operations.

Conclusion

Overall, to successfully implement an ERP system, it is important to establish goals and objectives that are both reasonable and attainable.  It is also critical to the success of ERP integration to hold the project team members accountable for each task during and after implementation.  Finally, test, test, and test again to maximise the Return on Investment.

And, keep in mind that you will encounter pain points during the implementation process which requires both patience and persistence.  If you have the support of fellow team members and the senior management, successful ERP implementation and the benefits your organisation receives will be inevitable.

About the Author

Micar is a supplier of the original bespoke ERP software solution for the apparel industry. If you have any questions on implementing an ERP solution you can call us on 020 8531 7444, or you can visit our website for more information on our products.

All images used on this blog are property of their respective owners. I would take my own, but they wouldn’t look this good! 

Implementation

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Introducing ERP

5 mistakes to avoid when introducing ERP

Introduction

When implemented correctly, an ERP solution can be a valuable resource for a fast growing business.  Part of ensuring the success of ERP implementation is knowing what key mistakes you should avoid.

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to thousands or millions of pounds depending upon the size of your organisation.  In addition to the investment, ERP implementation can require a huge amount of time and resources.  This is mainly because it is a critical business solution that integrates more than one business process including identification of priorities, planning, logistics, manufacturing, inventory, accounting, billing, delivery, marketing, sales, human resources, and much more.

In the information age, the requirement for a cutting edge ERP solution is becoming a necessity to ensure you can streamline workflow while operating cost effectively.  An ERP system that is poorly planned and not rolled out effectively can cost your business lost time and productivity, not to mention the delays that can occur as the result of a poor introduction of the system.

One of the ways you can ensure the success of ERP implementation and reduce the risk of potential problems is by becoming aware of the common mistakes organisations make when introducing an ERP solution.  Although there are many mistakes that can be avoided, here are the most critical ones you should avoid:

1. Failure to Plan or Poor Planning

painting floor- erp articleYou have heard the old adage “Failure to plan means you plan to fail.” Additionally, you can put some effort into planning but if it is poorly executed, it is likely you will end up with similar results as if you did not plan at all.  ERP is not something you can plan on the fly.  Instead, if you really want to reap the benefits that it can bring to your organisation, you must plan upfront.

Planning requires a time investment and the right team members which is one of the reasons many organisations do not do enough planning upfront before evaluating software and introducing the solution to the organisation.  Poor planning can lead to a snowball effect where there is confusion in the future when the solution is introduced due to lack of understanding of current processes and how to use ERP to maximise the benefits.

An ERP solution can really propel your business forward if you take the time to conduct an internal audit of all business processes and policies.  This is accomplished using key team leaders and stakeholders business wide that make up an evaluation team. It is also important to ensure you have the right people.

For example, many organisations are more focused on getting executive approval as opposed to gathering key leaders from across the organisation. This includes key people from operations, finance, purchasing, delivery, accounting, and more.  The benefit of gathering key leaders is you will have people that have a vested interest in implementing ERP and are genuinely interested in getting things right from the beginning.

Once you conduct an internal audit of all business processes and policies, you can begin to put an effective plan into action.  This is because you have the accurate information you need to ensure successful planning.

2. Failing to Properly Investigate ERP Providers

Properly investigating ERP providers requires a lot of time but, you must remember that this is time well spent.  After all, the higher quality ERP vendor you choose, the better your chances of success will be.

Unfortunately, many organisations cut corners when researching ERP vendors and this causes more problems down the road.  It also takes more time to solve the problems incurred than it would if you had thoroughly investigated each ERP provider from the beginning.  For this reason, make sure you request solid references and check with other organisations that are using the specific ERP vendor you are considering.

Additionally, you should organise an interview for the vendor and ask specific questions about the features they can implement and the success rate they have had with introducing an ERP solution to different organisations in your industry sector. You should also come up with some scenarios of potential challenges and ask the vendor how they would go about handling these challenges.

These steps will avoid any unexpected surprises that can occur from lack of capabilities in specific areas you did not investigate.  The ERP vendor you choose should be competent with implementation from the start of the project right through to completion.

In addition to conducting thorough research on each ERP provider, it is important to mention you should be careful of being sold by the marketing team of a specific vendor.  Some of the vendors will place you in touch with their sales team that will fill you with a lot of hype about their product.  Then when the implementation is complete and the solution is introduced, you learn about the drawbacks such as restrictions on system functionality, application complexities, and other aspects that could negatively impact daily business operations.

Instead, you should ask the ERP vendor for at least three different organisations that are using the service.  These should be organisations that are in the same industry as yours and who you can contact to discuss the success, drawbacks, and challenges they have experienced with the vendor.  If the vendor cannot provide you with at least three names, you are better off moving on to the next one.

3. Failing to Learn Key Features of the ERP Solution

ERP software Key featuresMany companies make a significant investment in ERP implementation without taking the time to learn about the key features included in the ERP system.  This lack of knowledge is passed on to staff at the point of introduction which results in lost productivity, delays, and missed opportunities to automate specific business processes.

The more you know about the features and functions of the ERP system the better you can streamline processes, effectively meet business objectives, and complete business functions faster.  Lack of knowledge results in missed opportunities in addition to failures with upgrades and maintenance due to lack of understanding.

To get around this problem, you should create a master list that includes all features and functions.  Then track the usage to determine which features are the most beneficial and which ones could use improvement.  By maintaining this list, it can be used to maximise the system and assist with any audit or compliance requirements.

4. Not Identifying Priorities

Failure to identify priorities is another primary mistake you should avoid when introducing ERP. Setting your priorities will help to minimise the problem of delays and it will speed up the time until completion by reducing multitasking. By this we mean that people can work faster when they are not trying to juggle multiple tasks.  When you create a system of priorities this reduces the problems associated with multitasking.

By establishing a priority system you are specifying when specific tasks should be done in order of priority.  It also provides IT professionals with prioritisation in terms of different issues that should be resolved.  Additionally, managers involved with ERP implementation should prioritise the issue resolution process so problems can be resolved immediately in an effort to prevent delays.

5. Not Investing Change Management and Ongoing Maintenance

Time to adapt image - taken from Apparel ERP articleWhen an ERP solution is introduced, one of the primary reasons it fails is lack of proper training on using the system.  Additionally, not investing in ongoing maintenance does not protect your time and investment in an ERP solution.

Investing in training and change management will prevent your employees from resenting the new solution simply because they do not understand how to use it.  By making sure everyone is confident with using the system before it goes live will make a huge difference in the success of an ERP solution.

Additionally, failing to implement a maintenance strategy can have drastic consequences in terms of business continuity, updated business processes, and preventative maintenance.  This is especially important with new improvements in installation and upgrade technology that prevents you from experiencing major disruptions in business flow while implementing security patches and support packs.

Conclusion

Once you have introduced the ERP system, it is a wise investment to keep a capable consultant on board that can evaluate everything to ensure the new solution is being aligned with current business practices and goals.  It is also important that the vendor understands your organisation’s requirements now and for the long term since ERP is a long term investment.  They can also help you organise a maintenance strategy that lasts for the long term as well.

Finally, take a look at your daily business processes to decide which areas must remain available 24/7.  Then work with your vendor to make them aware of these areas to ensure appropriate backup and recovery is provided to keep your organisation moving forward while the ERP roll-out process is being introduced.

Overall, an ERP solution is inevitable with most organisations and when introduced correctly, will be a cost saver for your business and the primary tool that keeps your organisation running efficiently. If you keep educating yourself on the mistakes to avoid when introducing ERP this will ensure the new system will be a successful venture that serves your organisation well for a long time.

About the Author

Micar is a London-based supplier of the original bespoke ERP software solution for the clothing, footwear and textile industries. If you have any questions about implementing an ERP solution, do not hesitate to contact us. Call us on 020 8531 7444, or visit our website to find out more about our products.

All images used on this blog are property of their respective owners. I would take my own, but they wouldn’t look this good! 

5 MISTAKES THUMBNAIL

A guide to Inventory Management for the apparel industry.

Boxes in warehouse

Introduction

Inventory management is the lifeline to any business. At the same time, inventory management can seem like a balancing act that never ends. 

Managing inventory in the clothing and apparel industry is an ongoing process and one that should be managed effectively. A data management program that encompasses all aspects of inventory management can help you to significantly improve inventory processes.

This can easily be accomplished using technology that covers your entire inventory processes and ensures everyone is on the same page, so to speak, using real-time information. This allows companies in the clothing and apparel industry to manage costs and grow a business strategically.

When you use a quality ERP system, the advanced technologies included in the system can help you to mitigate the challenges you face on a daily basis when it comes to inventory management.  In this article, we will provide you with an overview of how technology can improve inventory management.

Improve Planning

In order to manage inventory effectively, the process must begin with strategic planning. This is the stage where decision makers in the apparel industry contemplate the types of products that would interest their target audience. In the past, this stage often represented a monumental challenge to ensure the right products were brought to market.  It also involved a lot of guesswork that often resulted in a lot of hit or miss situations.

By using advanced software technologies, retailers can transform their results into a business that is profitable.  ERP software provides intuitive tools that allow decision makers to monitor buying habits, past transactions, and customer behaviour.  This helps you to stay on top of customer history which in turn, provides you with the intelligence you need to target specific audiences and provide them with the products they seek.

Making a plan

Avoid Problems with Suppliers

Sourcing your products is an important part of customer retention and satisfaction, in addition to maintaining profitability. Locating a reliable supplier to source products is an important part of the inventory management process.  In many cases, you are dealing with third-party vendors in which you will want to establish a long term relationship with.

When it comes to efficient relationships with suppliers, technology can help to improve this process by providing a way for you to integrate your inventory processes with suppliers and coordinate the entire system.  Additionally, it allows you to easily provide product catalogues from new suppliers and easily source your inventory from existing ones.

suppliers hand shake

Streamline Purchasing and Accounting

The process of purchasing can get complex since it involves the acquisition of products from third-party vendors and other types of suppliers. By being able to integrate purchasing processes with suppliers, technology can help you to streamline the purchasing process using advanced tools that make inventory management and reordering more efficient.

The finance and accounting portion of purchasing and fulfilment is responsible for payment.  Software solutions provide you with a comprehensive set of tools for managing purchasing and accounting tasks, as well as automating processes that help to make back office tasks less time consuming.

Avoid Excessive Costs on Overstocked Inventory

Inventory management is an essential part of the product supply chain.  More often than not, there are warehouses and distribution centres in different parts of the supply chain.  Effective inventory management keeps inventories at a minimum while still meeting customer demand.  This helps you to avoid excessive costs associated with overstocked inventory.

Technology provides you with advanced tools that help you effectively oversee supply chain management. This ensures the company does not have too much capital invested in inventory where it could be investing the capital in areas that produce a high rate of return.

Avoid Missed Sales Due to Depleted Stock

In addition to helping your company avoid excessive costs associated with overstocked inventory, technology can also prevent the problem of backorders and depleted stock.  When the supply chain is managed effectively using real-time processes, this ensures that product supply can meet customer demand.

Real-time tools also help you to keep an accurate count on inventory which enables efficient procurement.  This prevents risks associated with backorders due to the under purchase of inventory.  It also helps to avoid missed sales while increasing customer retention and satisfaction.

clothing inventory

Identify Inventory Issues Before They Get Out of Control

Keeping everyone on the same page is the key to preventing inventory issues from getting out of control.  By using a single software solution, it is easy to keep everyone on the same page using real-time tools.  Additionally, technology can be especially useful if you have multiple warehouse facilities since real-time information allows your staff to transfer excess inventory when the stock becomes low in one facility.

Improve Sales and Distribution

The sales and distribution portion of the supply chain covers a wide variety of activities which include inquiries and quotations, orders, sales support, delivery, contracts, invoicing, schedule agreements and returns.  Technology can help to streamline the sales and distribution processes to avoid errors and miscommunication.

Many of the advanced ERP software solutions offer automated tools that help to remove the guesswork out of sales and distribution processes.  It also saves time on back office tasks and paperwork that can be tedious and time consuming.

Stack of paperwork

Effectively Manage Multiple Sales Channels

Today’s retail industry provides many different options for selling products which is changing the landscape of retail as we know it. Retailers in the apparel industry are being required to sell through multiple channels in an effort to meet higher customer expectations.  Additionally, today’s consumer desires the flexibility to shop at their convenience from anywhere and at any time while still being able to go to their local brick and mortar store to buy a product.

On the flip side, retailers are interested in streamlining their internal inventory processes while building lasting relationships with customers for the long term. For this reason, many retailers are opting to use a multi-channel approach in an effort to meet retailing needs and customer expectations.

Technology and advanced software solutions allow retailers to leverage customer service and revenue that comes from a multi-channel sales model. This is accomplished by providing advanced tools that allow you to capture and track orders from different sales channels, leverage automated processes that route orders to the appropriate fulfilment system without manual entry, and designate drop ship orders handled with third-party logistics.

Advanced software tools can also help you to link multiple supply chain management systems together.  These include systems such as financial and accounting, ERP, and Point of Sale that apply to both online and offline sales channels. Software solutions are also fully customisable to allow you to establish specific business processes that meet the individual needs of your business.

Reduce Errors Associated with Manual Data Entry

The increased complexity of modern retail environments have coerced decision makers into finding better solutions that reduce the risk of error associated with antiquated systems and manual data entry.  This is where modern technologies and software solutions can reduce problems caused by human errors and other issues.

Today’s software solutions are designed to fully integrate with Point of Sale (POS) systems which allow retailers to accurately enter and track sales to gain a better perspective of how much inventory was sold at the end of any given day.  The information is entered and then tracked in real-time and provides you with the information you need right at your fingertips. This system is more efficient than having to call each department or store branch at the close of each business day to get the numbers.

Software that is integrated with Point of Sale systems also reduces problems that are caused by manual data entry.  For example, if your company sells apparel online, it is likely that several different software solutions are being used.  One solution powers your website, the second one oversees Point of Sale, and the third solution handles ERP for your company.

When the online order is filled, the data must be manually entered into the ERP system before you keep the customer informed on the status of their order and shipping.  If the data is being manually entered, this increases the risk of error and can result in customer dissatisfaction and negative feedback or reviews.  By using integrated technology, you can ensure order accuracy at all times which results in improved customer retention, repeat orders, and customer satisfaction.

Improve Demand Planning

Demand planning is an essential part of forecasting inventory purchases and stock requirements, as well as customer buying trends.  This enables you to optimise inventory levels while still meeting customer demands.  Effective demand planning includes keeping track of sales trend history, trends of manufacturers and suppliers, product activity during specific seasons of the year, and warehouse storage and business rules.

Software solutions that provide advanced tools and technologies can help you put your demand planning system to good use.  The tools can help you to include customers in the planning and forecasting, analyse supplier trends, group products into segments to identify common demands, measure and monitor activity to fine tune processes, and keep track of external influences such as the state of the economy, availability of raw materials, and other factors.

Enhance Business Intelligence

Advanced software solutions are capable of automating many of the processes that are complex and time consuming, including the collection of business intelligence and report generation.  Instead of wasting time sifting through piles of papers, the intuitive tools included in software applications allow you to easily drill down to the information you want to view to help you make quick decisions and leverage new opportunities.

The right inventory management solution will not only accurately manage inventory, it will also provide you with the business intelligence necessary to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.  These are tools such as those that generate reports and allow you to customise the settings to create reports on specific data.  You can choose what data you want to view at any given time without having to spend a lot of time searching for it.

Increase Supply Chain and Fulfilment Accuracy

Supply chains provide a more collaborative means for different departments in the retail industry to communicate and better serve the bottom line which is customer satisfaction and profitability. Customers expect their package to arrive quickly and undamaged, email correspondence indicating when their item has been shipped, and tracking information that indicates when it’s scheduled for delivery.

Supply chain management represents the answer to this dilemma. However, the traditional process of supply chain management can be complex, time consuming, and prone to errors.  For this reason, most retailers use advanced software technology to accurately manage supply chain management and improve communications between companies and suppliers.

Technology reduces a lot of confusion which would otherwise slow down the supply chain and product fulfilment process.  Advanced software tools provide a way to improve and automate processes in the supply chain processes over traditional methods.  This prevents a lot of wasted time trying to exchange information and communicate with other departments involved in the supply chain.

Additionally, the customer expects communication throughout the life of the order. This includes where their product is located every step of the way in terms of shipment and follow up after the product has arrived. In order for this to happen, there has to be communication and collaboration on all department levels involved with product fulfilment which is what implementing effective management of a supply chain is all about.  This is where technology can be a real time saver by offering automated processes and real-time information that save time with supply chain management and product fulfilment.

Personalised Customer Service

Today’s customer has different needs than the typical one-size-fits-all approach of the past.  Technology allows your retail organisation to easy track customer preferences, buying habits, product interests, and purchasing history.  This type of intelligence provides you with the information you need to provide a personalised shopping experience.

For example, if a customer purchases a shirt from your retail store, as you track their buying habits, you can offer other suggestions similar to the purchase which upsells them to other products.  It also provides you with more background on the types of products customers would like to see in your inventory.  The information you collect also helps you to provide special offers that are tailored to the customer’s interests as opposed to a one-size-fits all type of approach.

Customer satisfaction survey

Conclusion

The topics we discussed in this article are only a few ways that technology can help you improve inventory management.  Software solutions are constantly being designed with more sophisticated tools which means technology in the retail industry is a topic you should follow on a consistent basis.  It can save you time and money while helping your business to run more efficiently at a lower operational cost.

 About the author

Micar is a London based supplier of the original bespoke ERP software solution for the apparel industry. We continue to work closely with retailers and distributors from the clothing, textile and footwear industries. To find out how we can help your business, visit our website.

All images are property of their respective owners. I would take my own, but they wouldn’t look as good!

Boxes in warehouse