Can ERP systems drive Digital Transformation in the textile industry?
Whether you are a manufacturer of fabric rolls, a merchant, or a soft furnishings producer, I am sure you will agree that the industry generally involves complicated and intertwined processes such as procurement, inventory management, sales orders and distribution. It is easy to think of digital transformation as simply selling online, but that couldn’t that be further from the truth. For true, long-term transformation, both internal and customer-facing practices need to be addressed.
What is Digital Transformation (DX)?
There is no denying that technology is all around us and is growing in popularity and expectation every day. As technology capability increases, so do customer expectations. Therefore, no matter the industry, it is safe to say that DX is vital for businesses long-term.
Digital Transformation is the implementation of a digital system which enables the seamless integration of information relating to all or most business functions between employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. For SME’s and larger companies, this is likely to come in the form of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. Set up and used correctly, this system will improve efficiency, reduce errors, reduce wastage and costs, and improve customer service. All of which help to give a competitive edge.
When talking about ERP software, you probably hear the word efficiency a lot. This is because of the time and cost savings that are associated with such systems. However, digital transformation and indeed ERP can also enhance the customer experience (CX).
Is Digital Transformation relevant to the fabrics and home furnishings market?
There is a lot of tradition ingrained within the textile sector, however this does not mean DX should be disregarded. Afterall, its purpose isn’t to change your business into a faceless robot, but rather help to achieve functional improvements across all departments.
If anything, it will help to maintain those traditional values in a changing world, such as personal & fast service, maintaining quality, and employee wellbeing.
A lot of your competitors will have started their DX journey already. Those with legacy systems will be seen as living in the dark ages and won’t benefit from what DX can achieve.
How does ERP software drive Digital Transformation in the textiles industry?
ERP software helps manage your entire business process, end-to-end. An ideal ERP system uses a single database which allows different departments to communicate with each other, without having to maintain data at multiple locations/departments.
Although your chosen ERP software predominantly manages internal function, it can also include external functions such as courier management and online sales. Either way, if the system allows for the sharing of information in a digital way, it will positively affect all users.
A specialist textile industry ERP system is likely to suit your requirements more closely than a generalised option. There will be fewer set-up configurations to battle through and essential functions will be available without extra integration with associated costs. It will likely include industry specific functions such as cut length management, memo & sample cuttings, and even made to measure product management, as well as universal process management such as stock levels, sales orders, warehousing/distribution, and reporting. Some, such as Mertex, will go even further by offering things like weaving manufacture management and multiple piece/roll pricing for purchasing and sale.
What affect does DX have on its users?
A good software system will not only make improvements to business management but also to its users. Reducing the length and complexity of menial or repetitive tasks will only have a positive effect on employees, but the same can also be said for customers. This may be entering their own orders online with the same access to accurate stock levels as staff get, or it could simply be customers getting fast answers to their queries. All contribute to the CX.
For an example of how a Sales Office Co-ordinator’s working day changed after implementation of Mertex ERP software, see this A Day In The Life article.
Where to begin
As with most things, it will pay to do your research. Request a demo from at least two providers as this will enable you to see which will suit your exact needs best. Although price isn’t everything (there is no point spending less on a substandard system), it is still important. Although you may not get this in your first conversation with a provider, you should get a full breakdown of cost soon after you have engaged further.
If you would like to request a demo of Mertex , please contact us.