As a clothing and fashion business manager, skilful use of IT can help you automate some of your most time consuming processes. Procurement software should be top of your list as a great tool for streamlining the administration process. However, as there are so many confusing program options and different characteristics to consider, here are some of the features to look for when evaluating suitable procurement software for your clothing business.
Inventory Management Features
A major role of your procurement program will be in managing your inventory. If you have been spending many valuable man hours counting hundreds of stock items, inventory administration is demanding too much of your indispensable time. The right procurement software will streamline all of your inventory management processes. The ability to be able to customise the software is a particular feature that is most important to your business.
You need a program that allows for a level of modification to accommodate your special inventory requirements. Because you need to cater for numerous products with a wide range of variants such as colour, size and style, you need the facility to provide for product customisation to an advanced level. Also, look for a system with an easy purchase order interface. You need a seamless entry process that immediately updates the inventory of products on hand. Likewise, a fast acting search facility is vital for instantly finding existing products.
Consignment and Reporting Features
A key feature for daily selling is to be able to look up the inventory for available stock as opposed to "committed" in your open orders. A reporting system with a friendly, easy to use interface will help you gain immediate insights about top selling products and products or styles that offer the best margins.
Additionally, a feature that allows you to create a packing list for all your orders is a great benefit to keep in mind, particularly if you are working with consignment accounts and a considerable number of wholesale orders.
It is important to consider the ability of the software to grow with your business. You certainly want to avoid going through the installation, testing and customising of your procurement software to find that your business has outgrown it within a year or so and you need to change it. Ideally a program that is scalable in design and will allow for business growth without the need for a major outlay is a sensible choice. Look for features that allow for future increases in database structure and extended reporting features.
Software Provider Performance
Before purchasing your procurement software make sure that you thoroughly check their customer service protocols. If an emergency should arise you do not want your system down for a lengthy period while waiting for assistance. Consider some of the following factors:
- Check if the company offers free training with the installation of their software.
- Be sure of their hours of operation and check whether or not calls are answered promptly.
- Get clarification about support staff and whether you will be dealing with a designated representative every time you call in.
An active support system is essential and knowing what to expect in this department from the outset will provide peace of mind. It will prevent misunderstandings and anxiety if an urgent situation should develop.
Quite often the issue of software updates is overlooked when purchasing software. Check with your provider about their update policy.
- Do they notify clients about available updates?
- Are minor updates free of charge?
- Is it a simple matter to download and install the new version of the program from the web?
Ultimately, choosing the right procurement software may be a little intimidating but taking time to carefully weigh each feature will pay big dividends. Your clothing business will operate with streamlined efficiency and will be well setup for future growth.Share