Join Exenta at SPESA’s 2019 Executive Conference: Better, Faster, Closer

Join Exenta at SPESA’s 2019 Executive Conference: Better, Faster, Closer

Continuing professional development is an essential component to being a leader in your space. Taking the time to network with others in the industry, to learn about coming trends and changes, and to hear new perspectives is vital to remaining agile and crucial to the ability to adapt and grow as an organization. At Exenta, we strive to make professional development a priority, and that’s why we’ll be at the 2019 SPESA Executive Conference later this month in New Orleans.

SPESA (Sewn Products Equipment and Suppliers of the Americas) hosts its annual Executive Conference this year on October 29 & 30th. The conference represents an opportunity for like-minded sewn products equipment industry professionals to network and share their experiences related to the top challenges and opportunities in our space.

Exenta is looking forward to hearing from our peers and also sharing our perspective on how the sewn products industry is evolving to meet the needs of today’s consumer. The event will feature several panels led by industry experts. Panel topics will focus on current and future manufacturing trends, including reshoring, mitigating China exposure and the opportunities and challenges faced by sewn products manufacturers in the Americas.

If learning more about the key advances taking place in our industry isn’t incentive enough, SPESA’s 2019 Executive Conference offers a great opportunity to enjoy one of the liveliest cities in the U.S. and a keynote address delivered by famed political commentator and media personality, James Carville.

So, whether you come for the crawfish, the entertaining keynote or the chance to network with John Robinson, Justin Hershoran and Per Bringle, Exenta’s leading experts on ERP and Shop Floor Transformation, join us at SPESA 2019 in New Orleans!

About EXENTA
Designed for the apparel, footwear, accessories, home furnishings and other fashion-related industries, EXENTA empowers brands, manufacturers, and retailers to advance and scale their businesses by accelerating and improving performance across the entire business and global supply chain. The EXENTA™ enterprise solution provides global process visibility, control and collaboration by combining traditionally independent Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Sourcing & Supply Chain Management (SCM), Materials Requirements Planning (MRP), Shop Floor Control (SFC), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Warehouse Management (WMS), Financial Management (FMS), and other productivity tools into a single, fashion-focused business system. For more information, visit https://www.exentago.com/.

About SPESA
Formed in 1990, SPESA (Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas) is the largest trade association in the Americas solely devoted to the advancement of suppliers of machinery, technology, ancillary equipment, parts, services, and other solutions for the development, manufacture, and distribution of sewn products. SPESA members serve the apparel, upholstered furniture, home textiles, transportation interiors, leather goods, footwear, military, technical/industrial textiles, and other sewn products segments. SPESA promotes and coordinates business and social interaction and provides opportunities for the sharing of industry-specific and general business information for its members and their customers. Learn more at www.spesa.org.

5 Ways Technology Alleviates Common Supply Chain Problems for Fashion Brands

5 Ways Technology Alleviates Common Supply Chain Problems for Fashion Brands

Apparel and home goods customers have a greater number of brand and product choices than ever before in history. So it’s critical that brands can deliver the right products at the right time to capitalize on tastes and trends. The supply chain affects both customer experience and the bottom line, so let’s examine some of the ways technology can make a positive impact on fashion supply chains and avoid some common supply chain problems.

The danger of a fragile supply chain
A weak supply chain can disrupt your plans to deliver products to the marketplace, jeopardizing your relationships with key customers and putting your business at risk of getting stuck with out-of-trend, unwanted inventory. Deliver late orders or inconsistent quality products because you lacked inventory or your vendors failed you, and you might soon find your own customers seeking an alternate supplier. Repairing a damaged relationship is never as good as maintaining a positive one—and recovery issues can be costly when mistakes have been made.

1. Gain real-time visibility across the supply chain
Having an integrated technology platform that brings together information about customers, orders, products, vendors, and inventory can help you achieve visibility across your supply chain. This has many implications for running a fashion brand more efficiently. Real-time insight can enable you to do better forecasting and spot potential supply chain problems before they materialize. When issues do arise, you will react more quickly and improve relationships with partners and customers by being more transparent. Real-time visibility into the supply chain starts with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. It serves the central data hub of your integrated supply chain platform.

2. Stay agile by modeling ‘what-if’ scenarios
A lot of things can happen between the time a design is ready for manufacturing and when you receive finished goods into inventory. Problems at ports and borders can create logistical challenges. Natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and typhoons can destroy production facilities. In the global economy, fluid geopolitical situations and changing trade agreements can impact whether it makes sense to produce in different regions. For example, Bangladesh, Vietnam and other Asian nations to adjust to the growing tariffs in the trade conflict between the US and China.

A real-time supply chain platform can enable you model what-if scenarios, so that you know how you will respond to changing business conditions. For example, it can help you:

• Decide where to manufacture based on border conditions, logistics and tariffs.
• Adjust for transient problems in the supply chain, for example bad weather or a worker strike, by expediting shipping or negotiating a different pay rate.
• Choose vendors based on past results and current supplies and pricing.
• Make adjustments to production orders based on demand from your retailers.

3. Shorten time from design to delivery
Top fast fashion retailers deliver lucrative, on-trend products to market in about two weeks, compared to the traditional six to nine month lifecycles. Brands with better-than-average supply chain visibility through technology enjoy more opportunities to profit from changing trends than supply chain laggards. To move this quickly, brand owners use Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software to accelerate design, development and sourcing while fostering greater supply chain collaboration. PLM helps brands streamline approvals, change management, line selection, vendor quotes and bids, compliance and other global processes.

4. Improve vendor management and communication
Speeding up the supply chain and improving quality requires excellent relationships with your vendor partners. Vendor Portal technology makes it easy to communicate and collaborate in real-time or near real-time with vendors around the world. You can give vendors anytime access to tech packs, product documents, product or sample images, and order information. A Vendor Portal helps brands automate procurement and bidding, track supply chain stages, and eliminate mistakes and miscommunications that arise from communicating through email and spreadsheets.

5. Take control of global inventory and reduce over-ordering
No brand wants to dampen customer engagement and enthusiasm by having enough apparel ready to satisfy demand, so overproduction is rampant. According to fashion sustainability consultant Hasmik Matevosyan, 30% of clothes produced are never sold, another 30% must be deeply discounted, and 15% of materials remain in the factory due to production mistakes and cutting waste. It all adds up to an industry that is currently the second most polluting on the planet (after the energy industry).

When you lack real-time visibility into inventory, over-ordering creates excess inventory that is often unloaded in unsustainable ways, from deep discounting to burning/shredding deadstock. Research has shown that consumers care about the environmental issues associated with fashion; according to Hitwise, “19% of the top fast fashion related searches were about the environment, ethics and sustainability.”

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) provide complete visibility into inventory levels of production supplies and finished garments. Shop Floor Control technology delivers visibility into production lines and WIP, whether manufacturing takes place at an internal facility or a vendor. Shop Floor Control delivers up to 37% higher productivity and up to 44% quality improvement, based on data from Exenta customers. Our supply chain platform also delivers Shopfloor Third Party Manufacturing (3PM) management, enabling brands to keep inventories lean by seeing exactly where WIP is in the process and when to expect deliveries.

By combining ERP, Shop Floor Control, WMS, a Vendor Portal and PLM, Exenta has created the only end-to-end, complete supply chain platform designed to empower agility in the fashion and soft goods industry. Ready to learn more about how to improve supply chain visibility with Exenta? Contact us today for a demo.

3 Best Practices for Fashion Industry Software Implementation

3 Best Practices for Fashion Industry Software Implementation

The implementation process represents a critical tipping point in any software implementation project. This is the point when your people actually see the software and start using it. It’s a make-or-break moment for your solution, because user acceptance plays a major role in determining the outcome of new software implementation. You need all of your people not only using a new solution—but using it correctly and as intended.

If you are deploying or replacing an enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM), or shop floor control (SFC) system, you want to be sure your users are aware of any advanced features and take advantage of them. You need to know that the solution will support their workflows and your company’s goals. And you need to ensure visibility into how the new system is working after implementation.

Visibility is essential to the attainment of measurable goals. Your system needs to give you not only visibility and data, but actionable information that you can use to evaluate and address business challenges

This article looks at the best practices to achieve your goals with any new fashion industry software implementation, based on our team’s long history in the fashion industry.

1. Set Clear Expectations and Goals

Expectations are one of the most important parts of any project, and this starts with setting goals. If you don’t have specific goals going into a project, it becomes very difficult to evaluate the success of a new software deployment.

For example, if you are implementing a new PLM system because you hope it will “improve efficiency” or help you “get to market faster”—how will that actually happen? Can you identify specific features or capabilities that will enable your people to develop or produce new products faster? Are there reliable metrics you can use to measure your progress and forecast long-term outcomes?

With a specific outcome in mind—for example if you expect a new PLM to enable you reduce the number of samples that needs to made during new product development, or reduce the cost of material waste at your factories—you can measure whether you are achieving your goal.

2. Stay Focused on the Net Gain and on the People Who Drive Toward It

Prepare your team for some change. It is inevitable that they will have to learn new processes to learn a new system. ERP, for example, is a very wide system that has the largest organizational footprint of any software. In an ERP implementation, it’s highly probable that one person or department will have to perform some task or other work that was not part of their prior routine. This is almost invariably an activity that delivers a savings and/or adds significant value in another area. So, implementation of a new system may deliver a net gain to the company but from the siloed perspective of one individual, it may not be perceived as a gain.

A good partner will certainly support your people by building a flexible workflow with flexible deployment. At Exenta, we always take that one step beyond and consider the optimal workflow for not only the larger, overarching goal, but also the specific lower level goals that are necessary to accomplish it. Implementation best practices means you will prioritize the goals and maximize the strengths of the organization.

When practical, you want to have as much flexibility as possible to adapt any new system to the way your people work today. This maximizes the advantages of your technology deployment and reduces the potential for disruption to your operations.

But the biggest gains from a new system will come from workflows and functionality that allow users to manage more business with greater accuracy and less redundant, manual work. This empowers leadership to make faster, more precise decisions supported by a real-time, accurate picture of your business.

3. Ensure Access to Expert Training and IT Support

When you implement a PLM or supply chain system, it’s going to affect your business’ bottom line for years to come. We’re talking about not only the hard cost of the system, but how it affects productivity and profitability over the long term.

You don’t just need a vendor who will sell you a system and then walk away—you need a partner who will work with you to ensure success. After you deploy the system, you want to be certain that your staff will be able to get help fast when they need it. Every second spent trying to troubleshoot a problem or get IT support on the phone represents lost productivity. Time is one of the most valuable resources you have—don’t waste it because your vendor offers inadequate support.

When looking for a new ERP solution, choose a partner with the expertise and willingness to work with your team after the system is live, helping to implement workflows that adapt your business practices to an ever-changing business landscape. The right partner will continually maintain and improve their solution to improve your competitive advantage.

4. Get Real-Time Visibility into Production Status

If you have a problem on the shop floor in one of your factories, you want to know that you have that problem the second it occurs. You also want to know, at the earliest measurable moment, when you are trending toward a problem. Visibility into and notification of a potential issue before it happens means knowing of an issue at the end of the day, not the end of the month. There is a big push across virtually all industries today to move from after-the-fact reporting to real-time visibility. With the fashion cycle getting faster every season, visibility is especially critical in our industry.

How Exenta Applies These Best Practices

Exenta’s ERP, PLM, and SFC solutions are designed to make implementation as seamless as possible for your organization. That said, an ERP implementation is not a walk in the park! Enterprise software implementations are never easy. But, with the Exenta team, new software implementation will always be as painless as possible for your organization. Putting people first is a major part of our philosophy, and our systems are extremely flexible so they can support your workflows without disrupting your daily operations. We’re also committed to working with every customer to ensure they achieve their goals with any new system.

Whenever we begin an implementation process with a client, our top priority is to meet or exceed the needs of the people involved. And, we’ve created our systems to be straightforward and easy to use. Every aspect of the way we deliver our solutions is focused on providing the best experience for all users, whether that’s workers in the supply chain or executive-level decision makers. With every implementation our top priority is to meet or exceed the needs of our clients. Our software is designed to be as intuitive and as easy to use as possible, but we are there every step of the way and provide training as needed.

Whether you are implementing a fashion PLM or other system for the first time, replacing an existing application, or looking for a solution to a specific business problem, Exenta can help. We are focused on the fashion and soft goods industries, so we understand the specific challenges you are facing in the marketplace, and our solutions are designed to meet your needs.

We have lived in and operated fashion and apparel brands, and we understand your business.

Exenta’s solutions help more than 40,000 users around the world work more efficiently, get products to market faster, and do their best work to remain competitive in a challenging, fast-paced marketplace.

Contact us today to see a demo of one of our solutions or learn more about the best practices we use in software implementation.

Why Sustainable Fashion Is All About the Supply Chain

Why Sustainable Fashion Is All About the Supply Chain

Sustainability is a growing concern not just in fashion, but in all consumer-facing industries. It matters to everyone: brands, consumers, and investors alike, but it’s also a loaded term that means different things to different people. Despite the wide range of issues and opinions, sustainability is an increasingly important consideration in any business plan for fashion.

 

Globally, more than 70% of consumers say they’re willing to change their habits to reduce their personal environmental impact, and this includes the brands and products they buy. Social responsibility is also an important concern. Total “sustainable spending” is forecast to reach more than $150 billion per year by 2021.

 

However, as always, there is a balancing act between the most idealistic visions and the practical realities of meeting customers’ expectations in a competitive marketplace. An analysis of relevant surveys by eMarketer pointed out that although sustainability is definitely trending—especially among millennials and younger consumers—shoppers are still much more focused on the fundamental concerns of design and value.

 

This means the real challenge is for brands to reduce waste, energy use, and other environmental and social impacts in a way that supports their core mission and make their operations more efficient, rather than more expensive.

 

Social and Environmental Impacts Are Focused in Supply Chains

 

The environmental dimension of sustainable fashion has relatively straightforward goals: reducing waste and sourcing materials in ways that limit environmental impacts. These goals also have clear benefits from a business perspective; increasing efficiency also improves profits. However, sustainability is also about the livelihoods of the tens of millions of people who work in fashion supply chains.

 

Brands have every reason to be concerned about whether the labor that produces their goods is sustainable. Not only is it an ethical issue—it also has practical, bottom-line impacts. Morale and job satisfaction on the shop floor can have a direct effect on the quality and consistency of production, which in turn effects profitability and material use.

 

The raw materials and human labor that go into fashion merchandise are concentrated in the supply chain, far away from the retail shops and corporate offices where demand is generated and resources are allocated. In many cases, brand leaders lack the visibility and control to identify and implement effective sustainability initiatives.

 

As fashion supply chains have become increasingly globalized and complex, companies have struggled to implement the right tools to manage product development and manufacturing efficiently. Unfortunately, many companies are still relying on aging enterprise systems or an ad-hoc mix of email, spreadsheets, and text documents to manage product development and manufacturing.

 

How Exenta Can Help Your Brand Be More Sustainable

 

Exenta provides a comprehensive set of tools for managing fashion supply chains that help promote sustainability and efficiency on the shop floor. Our solutions are currently enhancing the lives and livelihoods of more than 40,000 users worldwide, while helping brands reduce material waste and improve efficiency in all aspects of product development and manufacturing.

 

Respect is one of our core values as a company, and we recognize that the people who work in supply chains play an essential role in getting products on store shelves and generating successful business growth. That’s why we’re committed to providing solutions that support positive relationships based on mutual transparency and trust.

 

Sustainability issues will continue to rise in importance as younger generations become a larger force in the market for apparel and other fashion merchandise. A recent Nielson survey found that strong majorities of U.S. millennials say they’re willing to pay more for products that are environmentally friendly (90%) or socially responsible (80%). As these conscious consumers continue to drive a greater share of spending, brands will need to meet an expansive set of expectations that includes sustainability alongside traditional concerns of style and price.

 

Contact Exenta to find out how we can help you with this balancing act.

3 Ways the Right PLM Solution Reduces Cycle Time, Costs, and Inefficiency

3 Ways the Right PLM Solution Reduces Cycle Time, Costs, and Inefficiency

3 Ways the Right PLM Solution Reduces Cycle Time, Costs, and Inefficiency

 

There are several different issues that affect the efficiency of product lifecycles in the fashion business. When you specifically look at product lifecycle management (PLM) software for fashion, the top concerns tend to include:

  • Effective communication between designers, product managers, and suppliers
  • Quality and accuracy of all the data in your tech packs
  • Your PLM solution’s flexibility and ease of use

Ideally, your PLM software will be adaptable enough to support the way your team already works. However, all too often, deploying a new system means disrupting everyone’s workflows and forcing them go through a long process of training and adjustment. When this happens, people tend to resist the new system and avoid using its more advanced features. As a result, the expected ROI from the deployment never materializes—leaving you with little to show for the effort except a big hole in your bottom line.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here at Exenta™, we’ve made it our mission to revolutionize the role of PLM systems in the fashion industry by eliminating the pains and inefficiencies of new system implementation and maximizing the positive effects on product development costs and cycle times. Get ready to take a fresh look at PLM software. It’s time to experience the power of PLM REVO™.

 

Flexibility Empowers Your Team to Do its Best Work

 

Rather than forcing your team to use pre-defined one-size-fits-all templates, PLM REVO™ enables you to define your own category labels, milestones, calendaring. This way, our system supports your existing workflows with minimal disruption during the transition. We also designed PLM REVO™ with a clean, minimalist interface so it’s easy to pick up and use the system quickly. We’ve even had managers tell us they barely had to train their team at all.

 

Equally important, we’ve made sure that our system is responsive when accessed on mobile devices. This is critical, because you never know when inspiration will strike. Your team needs to be able add notes or details to a new product design anywhere, anytime. Our mobile-friendly PLM interface makes this fast and easy to do from any device.

 

One End-to-End Solution for All Your Data and Workflows

 

It’s common for new product designs or ideas to start off in a spreadsheet or an email, and only move into the PLM system once all the details are settled. Because this requires your team to manually type the data in more than one place, the risk of errors is increased. PLM REVO™ enables your team to start entering data directly into the system as soon you start working on a new design—eliminating redundant data entry and reducing the risk of errors. With all of your data in one place, your team will never be left scrambling to find the right information from disparate emails and Excel files.

 

Ultimately, having all of your data and workflows in one system helps reduce the number of samples you need to produce, which is a major factor in the cost and time required for new product development. With numerous cycles of manufacturing, shipping, testing, feedback, and repetition—the costs add up quickly. When you can get all the details right in fewer cycles, you not only save money, but also get your products in front of customers that much faster.

 

Reduce Your Cycle Time and Start Getting Products to Market Faster

 

As fashion trends continue to accelerate, the bottom line is that you need to get products on store shelves faster than the competition to capture sales and market share. Looking ahead, the need for rapid, efficient product development will only increase as innovations like 3D modeling and virtual sales become more popular. In this environment, Exenta helps your product managers, designers, and suppliers work together seamlessly to take new products from a concept on the drawing board to your new best-selling item of the season.

 

Whether you are preparing to implement your first PLM solution for a growing company or replace your legacy system for an established brand, Exenta PLM REVO™ can help take your organization to the next level. Our philosophy is based on empowering clients to achieve success Without Limits™ by delivering powerful business solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional enterprise software.

 

Your team can work more efficiently, reduce the cost and time of product development, and get products to market faster. Schedule a demo or contact Exenta today to learn more.

Experience the Exenta Difference in Vendor Communication and Management

Experience the Exenta Difference in Vendor Communication and Management

The Evolving Challenge of Vendor Relations

 

The fashion world keeps getting faster, driven by new technologies and rising consumer expectations. As a result, supply chain management and vendor relations have become increasingly complex for fashion brands. A 2017 poll of manufacturing and retail companies by American Shipper found that 70% have at least 11 different suppliers—and up to 500.

 

In this extremely competitive environment, the way you work with your vendors has a huge impact on your bottom line and ability to succeed over the long term. Unfortunately, many brands have been slow to implement modern vendor communication and management tools—and even fewer have integrated these solutions with supply chain and product lifecycle management (PLM) software. If you are still spending your time tracking down the latest status information from disparate spreadsheets and handling design files with email, it’s time to stop the frustration and step into the future of fashion.

 

Disparate Systems Cause Blind Spots and Communication Breakdown

 

More than 50% of companies have PLM software in place. However, more than 70% said their digital systems are only partially or not connected at all—leaving them dependent on email, spreadsheets, and other ad-hoc solutions to fill the gaps. Companies are even more disconnected in terms of supply chain management software.  More than 80% of companies said these systems are partially or not connected to other solutions.

 

This digital disconnect can cause big problems with when it leads to unexpected delays, empty shelves, and lost sales for your customers. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Today’s technology can provide all of the capabilities you need to permanently break down those data silos and manage your vendors more effectively than ever before.

 

How Exenta’s Vendor Portal Enables Seamless Communication

 

Exenta offers a powerful Vendor Portal as an add-on for our PLM REVO™ and ERP customers. This web-based solution brings unprecedented visibility and efficiency to your organization’s vendor relationships—helping you save time and stay competitive in an industry that is not only extremely fast-paced, but also rapidly evolving.

 

With Exenta’s Vendor Portal, you will be able to manage essential product information, tech packs, purchase orders, and shipment and container information in one central location. As a result, you’ll be able to:

  • Automate your procurement and bidding processes
  • Eliminate mistakes from disorganized emails and spreadsheets
  • Improve the quality and accuracy of your samples
  • Save time and simplify communications with all data in one location
  • Track items throughout your supply chain

When vendor communications are centralized in Exenta’s Vendor Portal, your team can save a lot of time that’s currently wasted searching through inboxes and spreadsheets. That’s time you can re-invest in creative initiatives and customer interactions that enhance your brand and create value for your organization.

 

Exenta’s solutions provide excellent value because they are designed for the fashion industry, with specific features built in to optimize your vendor communications and supply chain management. Our vendor portal enables you to:

  • Easily add images or attachments to note changes
  • Update measurements with variances
  • View costing information by vendor
  • Manage large files via a central image library
  • Access PO comments and revision history
  • Track production, WIP, and shipment details
  • Integrate seamlessly with your ERP system
  • Eliminate emails with built-in messaging

 

Why You Can’t Afford to Wait

 

Fashion just keeps getting faster, and in a global marketplace your customers have more choices than ever before. Consumers expect constantly increasing speed, selection, and convenience, so the bar is continually being raised for every brand and retailer. Exenta’s Vendor Portal gives you the power to make seamless vendor communication feel effortless, so you can work more efficiently, eliminate administrative headaches, and put your organization’s focus on creating and delivering great products.

 

It’s time to experience the Exenta difference. Contact us or schedule a demo today to experience the power of Exenta’s fashion-focused solutions firsthand.