Managing your apparel supply chain isn’t easy — with shipping issues, constantly changing tariffs and taxes and the unpredictability of demand, optimizing your sourcing, production and in-store inventory can be a real challenge. Thankfully, technology can help you get control of the situation.

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Here’s a list of the top 5 apparel software tools necessary to thrive in the industry, including an all-inclusive enterprise resource planning (ERP) and web map service (WMS).

1.) Project Management Software. Project management software is designed to help you and your employees designate tasks, map out projects and maintain accountability in your organization. For example, if your sales team has to put together a monthly report, you can create that task, attach the appropriate employees to it, and track the progress of each step of the process. You can have a project management software suite installed on your servers in the office, but most modern project management tools are hosted in the Cloud. so they can be accessed from anywhere. Basecamp, Trello and ProjectBubble are three of many options available — and all are simple to set up and hosted in the Cloud.

2.) Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP software is the cornerstone of any modern apparel supply chain. ERP tools like the Apparel Business Systems suite give you the power to track every step of your production process from sourcing to shipping with extreme granularity, and deliver a host of reports and analytical tools to help you optimize that process. Many ERP systems come with highly customizable modules for invoices, payroll, financial reporting, and more. Without a well implemented ERP tool, you might as well be guessing at how your business is performing.

3.) Customer Relationship Management Service. Hopefully, your business has many customers – and those customers need to be contacted and persuaded to come back to you again and again. Customer relationship management service (CRM) tools help you to track, categorize, and analyze your customer base and get a better idea of their habits. They are also essential to your sales team for tracking leads and maintaining detailed notes on long-standing customer relationships. Many CRM tools, like SalesForce, include modules for email marketing and other targeted promotions, which can be very useful if you’re involved in direct-to-consumer sales.

4.) Content Management Service. CMS tools allow you to manage and enhance your website, blog, and eCommerce portal — if you have a web presence, you’re probably already using a CMS. However, it’s worth taking the time to make sure that your CMS works for you. WordPress is one of the most popular options – it makes it very easy to set up eCommerce and the interface is simple enough for almost anyone to learn. SquareSpace has become a major player in the past few years as well – they offer an interface similar to WordPress, with native eCommerce capabilities. If you’re running a clunky CMS from the heyday of GeoCities, consider making an upgrade.

If your current ERP tools aren’t delivering the results you want, ABS can help! Our apparel ERP suite is purpose-built to streamline your apparel supply chain. If you would like more information about how ABS can improve your business, contact us today!