President & Chief Strategy Officer NGC Software
Apparel brands and retailers must break down silos in their organisation
NGC Software powers retailers and brands. These include Billabong, Canada Goose, Carter's, Destination XL and Nicole Miller to name a few solutions for product lifecycle management (PLM), supply chain management (SCM), apparel Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), shop floor control, global quality control, and vendor on-boarding and compliance. Mark Burstein, president and chief strategy officer at NGC Software gives suggestions and insights for apparel retailers to stay ahead of the game.
Instant gratification and customisation are the new buzz words in retail. What are apparel companies looking for in software solutions to fulfil such needs?
Lead time optimisation is the number one trend impacting our industry today. Every brand and retailer in the industry is focused on getting the right products to the consumer faster than ever. To meet consumer demand quickly and accurately, companies must respond instantly to latest sales data. This can only be done by sharing real-time sales data throughout the enterprise, so that everyone in the global enterprise can react to current consumer buying trends.
What are the new age challenges that apparel retailers need to be prepared for?
Apparel retailers must take advantage of real-time sales information to adjust plans in-season and immediately react. If products are selling rapidly, companies must accelerate production; if products are not selling, companies could stop or redirect production and cut their losses immediately.
When retailers see that a product has exceptionally strong sell-through, retailers and brands must move quickly to get products to the consumer faster. To do this, they can take several steps like accelerate more product design in-season, quickly reallocate or reorder raw materials, accelerate production schedules or expedite logistics.
What are the top three things apparel retailers need to change in their production and operation processes to take full benefit of PLM, SCM, and ERP solutions?
Compartmentalised systems and departments are among the biggest barriers to lead time optimisation and process improvement. Apparel brands and retailers must break down silos in their organisation so they can share information in real time across internal departments, as well as with global vendors and suppliers.
Companies must embrace postponement, too. Apparel companies must wait until the last possible minute to decide what to make to ensure that products are on-trend and align with consumer demand. If they do not do this, their merchandise may be headed for instant markdown as soon as they arrive at the stores.
Vendor compliance is also key to process improvements. In today’s socially-connected world, it is more important than ever for retailers and brands to protect their reputation by carefully monitoring vendor relationships to ensure corporate social responsibility (CSR).
In which regions do you see demand for fashion PLM and other IT solutions rising?
Asia is a growth region. In North America, demand is increasing for systems that can expand the scope of first-generation legacy PLM solutions. Big growth opportunity is expanding the scope of legacy PLM systems to encompass the Connected Enterprise, which is why NGC developed the Andromeda platform.
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