What functionality should you expect from Apparel Management Software for Wholesale & Distribution?
The apparel wholesale and distribution business presents distinct inventory management challenges, compared with managing other types of inventory.
The most obvious difference is that you may have hundreds or even thousands of SKUs for items that are similar, but have to be tracked separately. For example, the same style sweater may be available in several colors and also many different sizes.
A single product style, if available in 6 colors and 8 sizes, would create 48 separate individual SKUs (products) to track. This can complicate order entry and processing – not to mention setting up the inventory in the first place.
Fortunately, there are solutions within apparel management software, such as an Apparel Matrix, that will automate this process for you – generating all the required SKUs for a product group from a single definition process.
The following specific functionality that will provide time-saving inventory management tools for an apparel wholesaler or distributor:
- Product Generation
- Order Entry & Purchasing Matrix
In the above example, manually keying 48 separate products for a single style can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Product generation functionality is a vital piece of apparel management software and can save a lot of time when defining new products. Typically, you define a base part number (such as a style) with variations in the product ID to account for size and color.
This is particularly useful when you consider a scenario where you not only need to create dozens of variations of a product, but need to input descriptions, categories, pricing and other product info. Replicating this info manually across dozens of variations would be both time-consuming, and error-prone.
Order Entry & Purchasing Matrix
Since both sales and purchase orders are likely to contain products of the same style with varied colors and sizes, it is much easier to enter quantities in a matrix for a given style. For example:
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Using this approach, an employee can submit orders by navigating a matrix of all colors and sizes for a given style, adding quantities where appropriate. This would create multiple order lines in a faction of the time it would take to key them in line by line.
The same functionality should be available for placing purchase orders. Similarly, a matrix approach to price changes on a sales order purchase order can again save time and reduce the scope for errors.
Matrix entry simplifies the creation of stock keeping units and provides ultimate flexibility for entering orders and quotes by allowing users to enter them the way in which customers dictate them.
Certain systems provide users the option of switching back and forth between the grid and traditional order entry modes.
With appropriate apparel management software, users have the option of switching back and forth between the grid and traditional order entry modes, making entering orders line by line a thing of the past.