September 2016 Entries

Closing The Zara Gap – The Role of Technology

Author: Megan Castillo, NGC Software

Last week, I attended the annual Sourcing Journal Summit in New York, where once again the topic of Zara came up.  Everyone in this industry wants to achieve the level of success Zara continues to have each year, but the question still remains: how? 

The Zara model presents a flat-out culture shock to most companies.  I mean, who ever heard of designing for 26 seasons a year?  Or better yet, getting product from concept-to-store in just 15 days!  We’re not programmed to think or work in that way.  And not everyone wants to get into the business of ‘fast fashion’.  But we could all learn a little something from Zara on how mastering the fashion supply chain leads to greater profit. 

Most of the attendees at the event held titles such as Manager or VP of Production/Sourcing/Supply Chain, or something similar.  As the discussion turned to how critical it is to speed up production and to eliminate the indecisiveness that tends to slow down the supply chain, most attendees seemed to shrug their shoulders.  One woman at my table leaned over and said, “If it was only that easy. You should see the number of design revisions we go through for one style!”

The reality is, it may take some investment in time and money on your side, but the efficiencies you will gain are worth it in the end.  As I said, the very way in which Zara operates is a culture shock to most, but there are ways to achieve efficiencies in your supply chain using technology.  Does that mean you will turn into a profit house overnight?  No.  Just like anything else, you have to walk before you run, and implementing a fashion SCM solution that enables the processes below, will take you one step closer.

  • Establish intuitive workflow calendars that manage milestone events and alert you when dates are missed that can cause production delays.
  • Collaborate with your global supply chain partners in real-time, and eliminate the use of spreadsheets and emails that become outdated or lost. 
  • Reduce sample turnaround times, revisions, and overall cost with improved communications.
  • Start planning material requirements to lock in costs.
  • Eliminate indecisiveness with key analytics like sell-thru analysis and other big data, so you can cut what’s not selling and allocate materials and resources to more of what is selling.
  • View real-time work-in-process updates when making decisions, not last Thursday’s numbers.
  • Improve quality control with remote inspections, eliminating mistakes at the source, rather than waiting until the goods are shipped, saving time and money.
  • And more…

To sum up, you need to start making changes, even at the smallest level, and an SCM technology solution can help.  It’s no longer a game of driving down cost at the supplier to achieve the greatest margins.  It’s about achieving efficiencies in your own processes that lead to gains in the bottom line.  By identifying and alleviating those bottlenecks in your supply chain, each season, whether you produce 6 or 26, will be more profitable than before!

Ease Communications and Improve Packing and Shipping Accuracy with NGC’s EZ-Ship

One of the biggest dilemmas we hear about from customers is the need to communicate with factories overseas to make sure merchandise is packed and shipped correctly. NGC’s EZ-Ship is the best solution to this common problem and a necessity in today’s omni-channel world to ensure shipments make it from the factory to their destination. 

What is EZ-Ship?

EZ-Ship is a scan-pack solution and electronic data exchange that interfaces with NGC’s Retail Supply Chain Management solution and can handle standard EDI X12 retailer’s requirements. The software empowers manufacturers to introduce scan-packing and scan-loading to be compliant with purchase orders types such as: musical or mixed SKUs, solid SKUs or pre-pack orders. Therefore manufacturers are able to improve carton content and shipment accuracy to its distributions centers (DCs) and/or customers, and help reduce chargebacks and shipping errors that occur when merchandise is not delivered according to purchase order (PO) requirements.

Benefits of NGC’s EZ-Ship

If you’re already deploying NGC’s SCM solution, there are no integration costs and no master data entry required. Benefits of EZ-Ship include:

  • Ease of Use: EZ-Ship has a simple workflow and easy to use system
  • Data Integrity: All data comes from SCM and/or EDI interfaces to ensure data integrity
  • Flexibility: Supports multiple shipping methodology and GS1-128 label formats
  • Security: Only P.O.’s assigned to the factory can be downloaded to EZ-Ship
  • Data Protection: All data is seamless transferred between EZ-Ship and SCM
  • Automation: Uploading and downloading of data can be automated

Trusted by Large Omni-Channel Apparel Brands

Leading apparel brands, including DXL, have already integrated EZ-Ship. DXL uses EZ-Ship to reduce chargebacks and packing errors by validating the contents of each carton and shipment sent from the retailer’s factories. The retailer, who also utilizes NGC’s Fashion PLM, is the largest omni-channel specialty retailer of big & tall men's apparel.

EZ-Ship integrates with DXL’s SCM and EDI systems and allows for shipments to multiple DCs directly from the factory. The solution supports unlimited ASN and label formats, providing remote shipping sites with the flexibility to use a standard import and export data set that easily integrates with any ERP, WMS or DC system. See why DXL is deploying EZ-Ship, here.

To learn more about EZ-Ship and begin implementing, contact us today.

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