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Automating the Fashion Supply Chain: How to Leverage Technology for Greater Visibility and Competitiveness in the Era of Fast Fashion

Automating the Fashion Supply Chain: How to Leverage Technology for Greater Visibility and Competitiveness in the Era of Fast Fashion

Today more than ever, fashion, apparel and textile companies are looking for the best ways to optimize their supply chain. The reason is simple; an agile and efficient supply chain is key to survival in uncertain times. Access to real-time information gives brands and manufacturers a competitive edge and supply chain technology is essential to ensure you can manage information effectively at every stage of design, manufacturing and distribution. If your organization is trapped in a siloed, inflexible supply chain, it’s nearly impossible to pivot and adapt to shifting market conditions.

Below is an overview of the five key stages of the fashion, apparel and sewn goods supply chain and the specific technologies successful companies leverage to boost productivity and plan proactively to deliver goods to their customers through times of market disruption.

Stage 1: Design and Materials Management:
In order to keep up with the latest trends, your products need to get to the market as fast as possible. In order for this to happen, you must maintain an efficient process of designing and selecting materials, which includes a lot of back and forth communication, sourcing and sample tracking.
Recommended Solution: Product Lifestyle Management (PLM)

Stage 2: Procurement and Manufacturing:
When design and style is complete, it’s time to source vendors and procure materials needed for Manufacturing, including textiles, thread, embellishments and closures. The goal is to find the highest quality materials produced by very reliable vendors at the best price.
Recommended Solutions: Product Lifestyle Management (PLM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Shop Floor Control (SFC)

Stage 3: Warehouse and Fulfillment:
After manufacturing, finished products will be received at one or more warehouses that may be operated by the fashion brand company or a third-party logistics (3PL) operation. When goods come into the warehouse, they need to be accurately identified, counted and put away in the right location, as well as real-time visibility into their entire inventory in stock.
Recommended Solutions: Shop Floor Control (SFC), Third Party Manufacturing (3PM) and Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Stage 4: Distribution:
When it is time to fulfill orders for retailers, warehouse workers need to be directed to the right locations to pick the correct items in the correct quantity. Items and orders need to be labeled and shipped according to retailer requirements.
Recommended Solutions: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Warehouse Management System (WMS), Vendor Portal Management.

Stage 5: Repairs and Returns:
Flawed goods or merchandises that have reached their ‘end of lifetime’ will be returned. Managing the returns stage of the supply chain requires working with partners and retailers to identify condition, authorize returns, schedule shipments, and issue refunds.
Recommended Solutions: Vendor Portal Management, Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Technology is key to driving the visibility, speed and accuracy required to adapt to evolving customer demands and a changing competitive landscape. Better supply chain management helps get products to customers faster which boost profitability. Vendors taking advantage of a cohesive end-to-end Supply Chain Management technology platform will be able to bring a higher quality product to market faster than ever before, with less waste and fewer returns. With our consistent leadership in PLM, Shop Floor Control, ERP, EDI, WMS, Third-Party Manufacturing, and Vendor Portals applications, Exenta has built a supply chain solution for the fashion and the soft good industry using real-time visibility across the entire supply chain.
Interested in learning more about technology and the supply chain? Download our white paper: Automating the Fashion Supply Chain. Ready to take the next step to elevate your supply chain? Schedule a custom demo today!

5 Facts and Statistics About the Fashion Industry

5 Facts and Statistics About the Fashion Industry

The turn of the decade has brought about events that took the world by surprise; nonetheless, companies in the US and across the globe have done their best to adapt. As you navigate through the pandemic and the rest of 2020, here are five facts and statistics about the fashion industry to keep in mind:

1. Companies are altering advertising strategies as consumer habits change due to lockdowns and quarantines.
Businesses like Revolve, who get roughly 30% of their annual revenue during the spring festival season (5% of their sales come from events such as Coachella alone), will face challenges as social distancing cancels such large gatherings. Lockdowns have driven marketing practices towards QVC style Instagram posts that present customers with limited-time sale opportunities geared towards triggering a “need to act quickly” in consumers. Pandemic lockdowns also led to an increase in homemade photoshoots, as opposed to high production on-set shoots, which could then be edited to be ready for posting. It’s predicted that spending on social media advertising on sites like Instagram and Facebook will rise from $15.5 billion to $30.8 billion by 2021.

2. Despite many challenges, the pandemic has spurred growth and sped up preexisting, ongoing changes in the fashion industry.
As the industry has navigated the pandemic, there have been increases in digital-only magazine issues, at home shoots by models, and much more. For example, Vogue Taiwan’s May 2020 cover featured a model set against an entirely digital background. Marketing strategies that have become prevalent during the pandemic may fade away once things start returning to normal and models can return to sets. However, movements such as transitioning magazines from print to online began well before COVID and will likely continue after it. Before COVID hit, it was predicted that 2020 would be the first year that digital advertising would account for over half of total spending.

3. While pandemic marketing and advertising practices have leaned towards online retail, lockdowns have still affected consumer purchasing habits significantly.
Through May 2020, countries like the UK saw their online retail growth hit the highest annual result since March of 2008. This growth was made up predominantly by home and garden, electricals, and beer, wine, and spirits. Despite overall growth in online retail, clothing and apparel took losses (-9.8% YoY) as social distancing and lockdowns discourage consumers from purchasing clothes while they are stuck inside. As COVID curves flatten and lockdowns begin to relax, clothing retailers can expect to see increases in consumer foot traffic and spending. However, in countries like the United States where lockdowns may have ended prematurely, companies should be prepared for the possibility that lockdowns return.

4. ECommerce has been growing steadily for several years and is expected to continue to do so.
The retail industry has been undergoing massive changes in the last few years with more than 8,000 store closings in 2017 and over 9,300 in 2019. Predicted closings for 2020 were thus equally high before the coronavirus, and with over 5,500 stores already shut down this year, it seems likely that figures for the year will surpass those of 2019. The fashion industry has not been exempt from these trends, with roughly 1,900 store closings reported in 2018. As a result, it will be important to watch the growth in eCommerce in the upcoming years. Worldwide revenue from the eCommerce fashion industry is expected to hit over $700 billion by 2022, with almost $500 billion coming from clothing, followed by shoes, accessories, and jewelry & luxury items.

5. Consumers have begun to expect more personalized advertisements as they become more accustomed to eCommerce.
According to data from Nosto, a leading eCommerce personalization platform, when using eCommerce to try and raise sales and revenue, 75% of consumers preferred receiving personalized messages, offers, and experiences and 94% of companies recognize personalization as critical to current and future success in this emerging market. Rightfully so, as eCommerce can reach far more consumers globally than retail ever could. ECommerce markets are currently dominated by China, at $740 billion in 2019, followed by the United States at $561 billion.

See how Exenta can help
2020 has shown that domestic and international business conditions can rapidly deteriorate beyond what most companies can plan for. That said, it has also cast light upon both the fashion industry’s ability to adapt and its capacity for growth, particularly in the adoption of technology. As the industry moves towards eCommerce and the internet as a major, if not primary, source of revenue, consider making the move to Exenta’s next-generation enterprise technology. Request a demo and take your business into the future.

Global Apparel Manufacturer Uses Exenta to Innovate and Address Rapid Market Changes

Global Apparel Manufacturer Uses Exenta to Innovate and Address Rapid Market Changes

Over the past few years, those of us in the fashion industry have been working tirelessly to overcome three major challenges: sustainability, digitalization, and consumer shifts. Many creative and forward-thinking fashion businesses have found success through innovative solutions that help them adapt to changes in consumer expectations as well as the way work gets done—both in the design room and on the shop floor.

The Rules of Business Changed in an Instant During COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, fashion businesses have also had to make significant changes to keep workers safe and productive. Many factories have reduced the number of workers on the shop floor to maintain social distancing and instituted other measures such as increased hand sanitizing stations and mask-wearing requirements. Designers and other office staff are working remotely. These changes and economic conditions we now face highlight why it’s so important to gain better insight into day-to-day operations and have the flexibility needed to pivot and adapt to rapid change.

“We went live with Exenta Shopfloor Control in 2016 and there was almost immediate payback. It paid for itself in less than a year and it continues to do so. It’s a great productivity-boosting tool and it never stops—it’s always tracking and assisting with real-time feedback for both employees and management.” –Vice President of IT, global manufacturer of branded and private label apparel

The need for business agility and quest for enhanced profitability is what led one global manufacturer of branded and private label apparel to choose Exenta’s unified fashion supply chain software, starting as an Exenta ERP customer in 2010. As a manufacturer for the largest multi-national big box general merchandise retailers in the United States, this fashion giant produces more than 120 million units each year. Using Exenta’s purpose-built fashion solutions, our manufacturing client is able to respond faster to new market demands and dramatically improve productivity.

“We’re able to respond faster to new market demands because Exenta is such a great development tool. We can do things faster…and so that always puts us at an advantage, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, not just with respect to manufacturing.”

Exenta Solutions Provided the Flexibility to Adapt Quickly

This apparel manufacturer values the flexibility that is built in to Exenta’s supply chain software solutions. Just as a fashion style is more than a single product, a global apparel manufacturer needs a system to manage a wide range of products, facilities, and more. As a global company, they’ve had to make several quick adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Exenta’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Shop Floor Control (SFC), and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software have allowed them to design and implement creative and effective solutions.

Now that most of their designers are working remotely, they value Exenta’s cloud-based PLM software which allows employees to log in to the system very easily from home using a web browser and/or the Adobe Illustrator plugin. They’ve also been able to bring on a third-party logistics warehouse in just three weeks, with full EDI automation. The system’s flexibility has enabled them to bring new contractors online very quickly using the Exenta Vendor Web Portal. For example, they’ve had to expand their use of outside contractors in Asia during the pandemic and PLM has also improved their ability to do accurate costing.

In addition to the tools they need to speed great designs and send desirable products to market, Exenta’s solutions emboldened this global manufacturer to creatively address social distancing in their facilities. Using employee QR codes and digitized cafeteria menus, they were able to build a process in just five days to track and manage cashless transactions for cafeteria purchases for about 2,000 employees. Here’s how it works:

Each employee has a badge with a QR code. The cafeteria staff sets up a menu of items and their associated prices in Exenta’s ERP system. Once the employee orders, the cafeteria worker selects the menu items. The employee scans their badge to record the items purchased. Once a week, that information is sent to the payroll system and it gets recorded as a deduction. No cash needed.

In addition to helping implement safe practices for workers, Exenta’s SFC software is helping this global manufacturer gain better insight into the production impacts of having fewer people in the plants. SFC provides visibility into WIP and production efficiency through real-time notifications so that management can see how production is running in all of their facilities worldwide instantly. This enables them to increase order size with another facility to offset one that is running at reduced capacity or add new contractors as needed.

Ready to Enhance Your Agility and Flexibility?

Business conditions are always changing and fashion moves quickly. Exenta’s supply chain software solutions are designed to help you measure results faster and make better projections about the financial impacts of COVID-19 or other factors on your production costs, inventory levels, and sales. Register for a free software demonstration and find out how our innovative solutions drive increased productivity and profitability.

Exenta™ Revolutionizes Innovation Lifecycle Management Through the Launch of the Exenta Innovation Hub™

Exenta™ Revolutionizes Innovation Lifecycle Management Through the Launch of the Exenta Innovation Hub™

[New York City, July 1, 2020] Exenta, Inc., creator of the most powerful end to end ERP, PLM and Shop Floor (MES) solutions to support the apparel and soft goods industries, announced today the launch of a new solution, the Exenta Innovation Hub™. The Innovation Hub revolutionizes the Innovation Lifecycle Management space, at a time when any organization’s success is more reliant than ever on bringing new ideas to market quickly.

“There’s no question that in fashion, as well as other rapidly evolving industries, market disruption is key to beating the competition. Being first with a new idea is often critical to capturing market share,” said Roberto Mangual, Chief Executive Officer at Exenta. “Just as Exenta’s PLM REVO™ enables cloud-based collaboration between design and production, our Innovation Hub helps organizations tap into market trends and insights, as well as manage collaboration between employees, customers and partners throughout the innovation lifecycle.”

The innovative genius behind Exenta’s Innovation Hub is the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Ken Fearnley. “Innovation Lifecycle Management is the process that takes non-obvious product ideas and process improvements and tracks them from concept, through refinement, testing and launch to their impact on revenue,” Fearnley shared. “Successful innovation is about so much more than one great idea. Companies that thrive through innovation have a strategic view of the innovation lifecycle and a process that can capture ROI.”

Exenta’s Innovation Hub’s key features include guided navigation to support the refinement and rating of ideas, survey tools, an innovation challenge portal, a 40-step workflow leading to a pitch deck and business plan, IP tracking capabilities, and expense reporting. The Exenta solution is available at a fraction of the cost of traditional enterprise solutions, placing the power of transformative innovation within reach for any organization.

To learn more about the Exenta Innovation Hub, visit: www.exentago.com/innovation.

About EXENTA
Exenta is the pioneer in global, cutting-edge, transformative ERP, PLM and Shop Floor Control solutions designed specifically for the fashion, apparel, footwear, accessory and home goods industries. Exenta is positioned to be a single solution partner for brands and manufacturers in every stage of business maturity and can support multiple languages and currencies. Exenta delivers high touch, 24/7 service to over 40,000 happy users of our solutions in 14 countries around the globe.

Engineered and developed by a team of experts in the fashion, apparel and manufacturing industries, Exenta offers deep domain expertise in design, sales, production, sourcing, warehouse management, Shopfloor, EDI, omnichannel and finance. With implementation support that continues long after the go-live date, Exenta continually shares best practices developed over years of experience and works with clients to adopt change and increase accuracy and efficiency, both through the use of Exenta solutions and in processes that go beyond the software to improve and accelerate operations. To learn more visit www.exentago.com.

Advance Your Business to the Next Level with Innovation Lifecycle Management

Advance Your Business to the Next Level with Innovation Lifecycle Management

High-growth businesses consistently find new ways to solve inefficiencies, use data to their advantage, and push the boundaries that have traditionally defined their particular industry. In other words, they innovate.

Despite several recent examples of successful business disruption and best practices for encouraging innovation, many C-level leaders worry that their company isn’t up to the challenge. In fact, according to a 2019 Gartner survey, the biggest barriers to innovation are risk resistance, inability to measure impact, and talent shortages.

Innovation is rarely just a single idea or lightbulb moment. Rather, innovation requires strategy, investment, and leadership before that idea has real impact. That’s why strategic business leaders are exploring the value of innovation lifecycle management solutions to facilitate the collaborative power of employees, customers, and external partners.

Innovation lifecycle management tools embolden businesses to revitalize product offerings, production processes, and more with new ideas that can be developed into the next big thing. Imagine having a single place, or innovation hub, where employees submit ideas that can be refined, tested, and tracked through potential launch.

What is the innovation lifecycle?
The innovation lifecycle is not just about generating ideas or being creative. Instead, it is a directed process that aligns innovation parameters with company goals. The innovation lifecycle is about taking an idea from point A to point B—to make it a viable product that directly contributes to revenue. Often this requires the ability to tap into ideas generated from both internal and external collaborations that help satisfy customer demand for “newness” and “nowness”. Within the innovation lifecycle, it’s also important to understand and track a business’ return on investment (ROI) from concept to market.

An innovation lifecycle management (ILM) solution ensures your business doesn’t stifle creativity or miss out on great ideas. Instead, ILM improves company culture for creatives and product teams because it enables you to collect and tap into all the spontaneous ideas that arise during day-to-day business operations. Whether it’s a new product or an enhancement to an existing product or process, ILM provides a way to collect ideas that can be used, refined, and tested. And it tracks all of the time, effort, and costs that go into that process.

How fashion brands use ILM tools to generate ideas
Forward-thinking fashion brands are leveraging ILM to grow and sustain a pipeline of ideas using surveys, portals, brainstorming sessions, focus groups, and other tools and methods. Once ideas are logged in the system, innovation teams review, refine, and advance the idea to determine its viability. For example, your business can explore whether an idea is already patented or how that idea would be positioned in the market. Each iterative session on that idea will add more data—why an idea is a go, a no-go, or a hold—as well as generate other supporting documentation needed to secure a budget for advancing a particular idea to the next level.

Exenta’s Innovation Hub
There’s no question that a lot of time, effort, and money goes into transforming an idea into a viable product or process. Exenta’s ILM solution enables your business to track an idea from first presentation all the way through to product launch and beyond. The Innovation Hub tracks all the meetings, investments, asset purchases, attorney engagements, and more so your business has visibility into the future ROI of that product and places an accurate value on your intellectual property. It provides justification for your company’s overall investments in innovation; your business will have better insights into the profit and loss behind each idea.

Exenta’s Innovation Hub helps your business maximize success through the ability to:
• Improve quality and quantity of ideas.
• Crowdsource ideas using surveys, portals, and focus groups to grow your idea pipeline.
• Review, refine, and rate ideas with guided navigation.
• Follow 40-step workflow to put together all the information around an idea, leading to a pitch deck and initial business plan.
• Define challenges and engage employees with ability to gain recognition for ideas.
• Track expense and ROI for the innovation pipeline.
• Enable collaboration with both internal and external partners.
• Leverage an easy-to-use platform, available on any device.

Innovate Without Limits™
Exenta solutions embolden the apparel industry to gain deeper customer insights that drive better business decisions and increased profitability. Learn how you can drive greater innovation, build a thriving organizational culture, and generate renewable revenue streams—all at a fraction of the cost of traditional enterprise solutions. Request a free software demonstration to see how the Exenta Innovation Hub can help you harness the collaborative power of your employees, customers, and partners.

Key Considerations in Choosing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

PLM software empowers brands to enhance collaboration and creativity to elevate the quality of product designs — and it offers a rapid return on investment. Here are seven questions to help you assess your options.

Remote Collaboration and the Power of Cloud-based PLM

Many fashion and apparel companies are evaluating how well their systems support remote teams, so we took a look at how our PLM Revo is helping users work remotely.