Kathleen S.C. Heberger, Responsible Research & Writing LLC, is a writer and researcher specializing in business technology and manufacturing trends. She covers fashion industry IT, advanced materials and supply chain issues.

Written by

Kathleen S.C. Heberger
May 30, 2024

Connected ERP: The Power of Getting on the Same Page

Connected ERP

The retail supply chain requires resilience and agility, especially for companies in fast-turning product categories such as fashion, footwear, accessories, home furnishings and consumer lifestyle products.

To win sales and meet customer expectations, the most competitive brands, retailers and manufacturers are streamlining their concept-to-consumer cycle and improving supply chain visibility. They are building better connections between company divisions and with suppliers.

Design-to-Sourcing: Why Closer Integration Matters

Design and sourcing play pivotal roles in supply chain management. Much rides on their decisions, communication and coordinated response to opportunities and challenges. The rewards for meeting customer expectations are great.

  • 2024 U.S. retail sales are forecast to grow 2.5% to 3.5% to reach $5.23 trillion to $5.28 trillion, according to the National Retail Federation (Associated Press)

It’s not easy keeping up with fashion trends and evolving consumer shopping behaviors. When will most Americans shop for back-to-school (BTS) and the holiday season? Both seem to move earlier every year, and some say BTS shopping is becoming a year-round activity. When will consumers go shopping for new products and when will they go thrifting? How to avoid Red Sea risks without missing delivery windows? When to make fabric commitments amid fiber price fluctuation?

Connected supply chain technologies help design and sourcing teams stay agile and in synch by:

  • Automating the transition of design and product development specifications to purchase orders, with continuity of visibility to production costs
  • Centralizing text, audio, video and production files while maintaining control over the workflow of all digital assets
  • Tracking and managing process milestones across teams and vendors
  • Using the same platform to manage design, technical design/product development, raw materials, purchasing, sample approval and workflow tracking

“To enhance visibility, streamline communications and provide insights into how to better allocate resources, we need a platform that works across all departments and provides a single source of truth,” said Claire Murphy, CEO, KYHA Studios, a made-to-size and ready-to-wear wedding and event wear label. The business is implementing CGS BlueCherry® Enterprise Platform.

Better Visibility from Factory to Fulfillment

Supply Chain Solution Integration. Digitalization, such as integrated ERP, PLM and Shop Floor Control (SFC), improves supply chain management by:

  • Quickly exposing potential delivery issues and bottlenecks
  • Recommending PO allocation given vendors’ capacity and capabilities
  • Offering real-time visibility to order status, productivity, QC pass/fail rates and production milestones

Some liken this to illuminating black holes that have traditionally lurked between when a PO is signed and when finished products leave the factory or even reach the DC.

RFID in Supply Chain. RFID is considered a gold standard for improving visibility. After Walmart U.S. began implemented RFID item tagging for apparel, it saw:

  • Better inventory on-hand accuracy
  • Increased online order fulfillment
  • Stronger sell-through
  • Improved customer satisfaction

“We loved the results,” said Julie Barber, executive vice president, general merchandising, Walmart U.S., in a video about the retailer's RFID plans. She said RFID simplifies processes and enhances the customer experience in stores and online.

Now there are opportunities to extend RFID technology into factories, yielding benefits from production to point of sale. Doing so accomplishes multiple objectives. It gives retailers and brands increased visibility to orders. It also helps automate product traceability and supply chain mapping, which are major priorities due to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, corporate ESG goals and consumer demands for greater transparency.

CGS BlueCherry® has entered into a sales and distribution partnership with Tradelink Technologies. The partnership provides for the industry’s first end-to-end factory RFID solution, from raw materials to shop floor control and shipping, including serialization and traceability necessary to meet EU digital product passport requirements. Using local and cloud-based RFID and barcode scanning applications, the combined BlueCherry SFC and Tradelink solution can be scaled to fit the largest global companies to the smallest suppliers. Any factory can be outfitted with this automatization and digitization, allowing for more efficiency, visibility, and actionable insights.

Want to get your teams and supply chain on the same page? Contact CGS BlueCherry to discuss your company’s business objectives. See also: 2024 Annual Supply Chain Trends and Technology Report.

Kathleen S.C. Heberger, Responsible Research & Writing LLC, is a writer and researcher specializing in business technology and manufacturing trends. She covers fashion industry IT, advanced materials and supply chain issues.

Written by

Kathleen S.C. Heberger