Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fast retail: The only way to travel in fashion

Apparel manufacturing has outdone itself through new techniques such as flash warehousing and global trend reporting. Nowhere are these more evident than the highstreet, where relatively upmarket brands finish off seasons with crowd-pleasing supplies and blitz turnovers. A handful of apparel brands have broken into this segment offering comparable substitutes to designer fantasy fashion, with their global approaches to retail snapping up the most eager markets.

Image source: oregonstate.edu
Fast retail in fashion is under pressure to touch off trends and respond to fickle consumer tastes at the drop of a hat. The method still keeps a sensitive eye to quality --- clothes never go stale but they could be menaced by shoddiness down the production line without material and workmanship uniformity. This is an industry where information exchange between processes maintains designs and motifs.

The IT connectivity of fashion is one of remarkable data interchange. Global retailers gather their factories and warehouses in a single information environment that, although unimaginable in a highly creative industry, clearly dictates production standards down to the stitch.

Image source: univision.com
Before coming into its own as an industry that could practice economies of scale, apparel manufacturing was either small-scale or big in name, but painstakingly bespoke. Retailers invented customizable uniformity channeled through ERPs ready for global implementation. Larger and newer markets dictated more efficient communication platforms across business processes, culminating in specialized business application software for fashion.

Image source: interiordesign.net
The enterprise software industry started with generalized products, but it is aggressively branching out into industry-specific platforms as manufacturing technologies diverge among businesses. In its more primitive days of earthier operations, fashion could afford standard business applications. More specialized versions such as Infor Fashion, a suite of applications that covers the entire range of apparel manufacturing at varying scales, attest to the diverse directions of business in the fashion industry. 

Image source: clothesshowlive.com

Infor is the third largest provider of enterprise software globally. Its growth, headed by CEO Charles Phillips, is heralded by its invaluable presence in key industries such as aerospace, automotive, food, and healthcare, among others. Visit Infor.com for a background of its increasingly popular ERP in the fashion industry.

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