Is now the time for textile businesses to consider upgrading their internal operational software?

The textile and home furnishing industry experienced a rush during the Pandemic, but many companies are now facing a temporary slower pace as the economy recovers. Should you as a textile business owner/manager take advantage of this to reflect on past issues and make positive changes?

Busier times can often highlight issues and the need for change. However, even though the funding may be available, the time is not. The slight industry slow-down has enabled companies to consider investing in operational software that can not only improve efficiencies and save costs but also prepare them to take on the next rush.

What is operational software?

Often referred to as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, this type of system is designed to manage your business operations from beginning to end. This is not separate bits of information – you would be able to see everything relating to your product, from its manufacture or arrival in your warehouse, to its sale, and everything in between. For example, a fabric merchant can view a roll of fabric’s identity, its original length, its current length, who cuts have been sold to and when, plus invoices relating to it.

How exactly can new operational software help my textile company?

There will be benefits and cost savings for all companies who adopt a more sophisticated system but where these come from can depend on the individual business. Most good ERP software providers will be able to guide you through where these be. However, a simplistic description is with all data being on one system, time is saved which gives employees more time for other tasks. Customer queries can be answered without delay because all information is easy to find within one piece of software, resulting in happier clients.

The Inventory management of fabric rolls (as described above) will result in fast and accurate information for your staff. Gone will be the days of having to re-measure the fabric to know how much is left or using spreadsheets to look it up (assuming everyone remembered to update it). This piece-level accuracy will mean the sales office always knows what lengths are available, will improve picking and packing time as the operator will be given the location of the correct length roll, reduce errors, and improve communication between departments. This will also result in better service for your customers.

Over the past 2 years, we have spoken to many textile merchants, manufacturers, and converters. They were extremely busy in this period because people spent more time in their homes and craved the colour and comfort that textiles achieve. Although industry businesses admitted they see the real value in upgrading their software, because they were so busy, it was simply not the right time to go through a change.

Jeremy Alcock
Managing Director, Mertex ERP

Will the software benefit the company immediately?

For sure! Whilst the market is a little quieter the improved efficiency and cost savings will help streamline your business. Once the industry hits another boom, your business will operate well without the degradation of service or employee working environment. Plus, costs will continue to be minimised.