6 Apparel Inventory Management Tips & Strategies

6 Apparel Inventory Management Tips & Strategies

Fashion retailers, inventory and warehouse managers, and apparel business owners have a problem.

They have competitors whose business operations are more efficient, more responsive, faster. How do they catch up and (eventually) get ahead? 

Technology is the answer. That’s why a trusted apparel inventory management solution is a necessity in today’s fiercely competitive business landscape. 

This means using that solution to its fullest extent, exploring all of the features it has, and making it work to help you reach your specific goals. Otherwise, common inventory management issues will mean your business isn’t running as smoothly as it should be.

Here are a few ways you can make the most of the features apparel inventory management software has to offer. Your business can get the accurate stock control, raw material management, and other features needed to ensure you stay on top of your inventory.

Schedule Regular Inventory Reports

Making sure your inventory is accounted for is, arguably, the most important thing you have to do for your business. However, inventory accuracy is something that 63% of retailers struggle with. Schedule regular inventory reports with your software solution to automate the reporting process and make sure everything is up-to-date.

Demand forecasting in the apparel industry is difficult and can contribute to inaccurate inventory reports. Huge inventories, trends that change quickly, and unpredictable consumer preferences make it all but impossible for apparel retailers to perfect demand forecasting. 

Take multiple forecasts, pay attention to which forecasts are the most accurate. Give those more weight over time. Always adjust and update your forecasts when you have real sales data for that product.

Optimize Your Apparel Supply Chain

Supply chains can be difficult to manage, especially for fashion and apparel retailers. There are several key challenges to apparel supply chain management. These include overseas manufacturing delays, transparency issues, and demand forecasting problems.

Your inventory management software can help you optimize the chain, manage relationships with your vendors, and work through issues with your suppliers. An apparel inventory software solution can even help you make your supply chain more sustainable. Some of the business benefits of making your supply chain more sustainable include a better brand reputation, lower operational costs, and increased reliability and security of the supply chain itself.

Accelerate Order Fulfillment

When your customers place an order, they expect to receive their products in a timely manner. Use your apparel inventory management solution to improve and speed up order fulfillment from allocation to pick-and-pack, through invoicing and shipping.

Efficiency and transparency mean accurate fulfillment, which in turn means more repeat business, larger re-orders and improved customer loyalty. 

Whether you fulfill orders from a single warehouse or manage multiple inventories for your sales channels, your software should give you instant notifications of low stock. It should sync inventories to your B2B and B2C ecommerce sites. It should make transferring inventory between locations easy, along with fulfilling orders by earliest due date, customer priority, individual style availability, or your own custom sorting.

Manage Your Entire Product Lifecycle

Your products are the core of your business, so you should use the right apparel inventory management software solution to manage the lifecycle of those products. This will give you more control over every aspect of your products, from manufacturing to distribution.

Efficient product lifecycle management (PLM) is crucial for fashion retailers seeking to improve product quality, reduce time to market, and reduce waste from production. 

In fact, the right apparel management software offers PLM functionality, allowing you to control costs and maximize profitability. When using PLM software that is specifically designed to improve the efficiency and quality of your operations, the benefits will likely include:

  • Enhanced compliance with industry regulations 
  • Accelerated time to market
  • Increased throughput
  • Consolidated product records
  • Improved communication and collaboration
  • Clearer visibility across all development phases
  • Improved product quality

Embrace Mobile Functionality

Today’s business is done on-the-go, and there’s no reason your inventory management software can’t come with you everywhere you go. Many apparel inventory management software solutions have an easy-to-use mobile app that you can download to your phone for use any time, any place. 

This means you can scan barcodes and instantly bring up style details, inventory, and more using your phone’s built-in camera. Even when you don’t have Wi-Fi or cell service, a quick data download will keep your catalog and inventory current.

Utilize Software Integrations

Some apparel inventory management solutions can integrate with other popular applications, service providers, and software solutions. Take advantage of these integrations to make the most of all of the applications you need to manage your inventory.

Make sure your apparel inventory management software integrate with other services and apps for maximum functionality. Integrations with Shipstation, Bergen Logistics,  Shopify, Amazon and Xero can help you gain customers, increase sales, ship faster, and make more money.

As you can see, in the apparel industry, getting more out of your apparel inventory management solution can benefit your business in more ways than one. 

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