This post is number three is a series of posts discussing commonly misunderstood ERP software terms.
Apparel inventory software is designed to streamline all processes of an apparel wholesale/distribution business. Aside from specific apparel functionality such as product generation and an order entry and purchasing matrix, an apparel inventory system should also include full inventory and accounting functionality, contact management, and eCommerce integration. With all processes accounted for in the same system, users can quickly access quantity and pricing information while creating sales orders and efficiently reorder product when necessary.
In the apparel industry, users will frequently need to create dozens of variations of a product in addition to inputting product descriptions, categories, pricing and other production information into their system. A system that can handle product generation will allow users to define a base part number (for example style) with variations in the product ID to account for elements such as size and colour. This eliminates the need to replicate the above information manually across dozens of variations, which can be a time-consuming and error prone process. In the apparel industry it is common for products of the same style to come in varied colors and sizes, making management of these SKUs a nightmare. For example, a style that comes in 6 colors and 10 sizes generates 60 separate SKUs – a product generation will create all 60 in one pass as opposed to having to manually set them up one at a time.
When referring to an apparel matrix, I don’t mean a dystopian world in which every day you show up to work in just your underpants. I am referring to a particular feature of apparel inventory software that makes it easy to organize multiple product SKUs that differ only by size, colour or style for transaction entry and display. An apparel matrix allows order entry and purchasing staff to enter quantities in a matrix format of color/size/style (see screenshot above), and also to review product availability in this format. This replicates the way people in the apparel industry think of product lines, making it not only a huge time saver, but also more intuitive.