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Are you prepared for omnichannel logistics?
In a market where customer demand changes from day to day, even minute to minute, how can the apparel industry keep up with the breakneck pace? If you work in the industry, you know the challenge of juggling supply, distribution, seasonality, and competitor strategies. Top apparel manufacturers thrive on transforming new designs into real products they can make available for distribution in a limited amount of time. However, the modern day brings an even greater challenge.

Technology and customer expectations evolve hand-in-hand. Shoppers expect companies to have what's hip and happening at this very moment. That may be a new workout fad, a blockbuster movie taking theaters by storm, or a revolutionary new product that went viral on YouTube last night. And they want you to have products related to these trends whether they click on a company’s website or walk into their store. Apparel manufacturers are the people ultimately tasked with creating these products, which makes the immediacy even more important. Apparel manufacturers who can quickly spot these opportunities and turn them into products will naturally catch their client’s eyes and gain a leg up on the competition.

The Challenge of the Speed
With a greater emphasis on turn-around times, it's crucial for suppliers and distributors to be able to fulfill orders and provide updates at the snap of a finger. Product descriptions must be accurate, in-stock numbers spot-on, and delivery and returns of the utmost convenience. Because the stores must be more precise with their ordering, manufacturers must maintain consistency.

The Key: Omnichannel Logistics
A recent study by Retail Systems Research (RSR) revealed that only roughly 6 percent of companies involved in a retail supply chain have implemented a long-term omnichannel strategy. More than 75 percent of the companies surveyed felt difficulty in meeting heightened customer demands, and 25 percent of retailers rely on in-store stock to fulfill online and mobile orders. The results present an excellent opportunity for omnichannel-savvy companies to capture critical sales and build lasting customer relationships. If the retailers are struggling at this level, it means there are opportunities for manufacturers to step in and help.

See the Big Picture
The RSR report also found that many retail companies were too distracted by day-to-day operations to focus on developing a sound omnichannel strategy. This is great in for manufacturers to discuss their role in the company’s business process. If the manufacturer is flexible in their product offerings, communication techniques and shipping capabilities, letting the retailer know so they can think of the manufacturer first in rushed situations will work out for both companies. Anticipating the retailer’s needs is how manufacturers will gain an edge, moving forward.

Invest in Change
Many companies rely on the same outdated systems and processes they used years, even decades ago. Why? Because it's safe and familiar. But it's also costly and inefficient. Companies must invest in the latest software, apps, cloud-based services, and hardware to compete in the market. Though there may an initial dip in productivity as employees learn the new systems, this is negligible in light of the long-term benefits.

Consider Trimming Your Offerings
Not only does a focused inventory strengthen your brand image and make it easier for clients to find what they want, it also makes your job easier. Rethink what defines your brand, revitalize your product offerings, and learn from customer feedback.

Partner with Trusted Companies
For those in the apparel industry, having an experienced partner on call to fulfill orders, update inventory numbers, and send out orders is an irrefutable advantage. Apparel Business Systems (ABS) offers industry-leading logistics management, accounting, and e-commerce tools to help you streamline your company's operations and foster growth in both the short and long term. No matter which link in the supply chain your business is on, ABS ERP solutions can help you bolster efficiency so you can continue to deliver the quality products that customers love.

eNotes from ABS

Apparel Business Systems
2250 Hickory Road, Suite 10
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

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