K3|fashion helps apparel companies meet challenges with collection planning

This piece was originally written by Acando as a result from an interview with K3|fashion's Product Group Manager Gerdien Cameraat .

K3|fashion helps apparel companies collection planning

The fashion industry is undergoing largescale changes as a direct result of the rise of internet and its impact on consumer behavior and must adapt to a new reality. Shorter product lifecycles are one of the factors driving fashion retailers to adopt a “fast fashion” business model in which unique collections are quickly created in response to rapidly evolving trends and customer preferences. As a result, there are several challenges that fashion retailers are faced with during their collection planning and seasonal operations.

Having a modern ERP solution which enables broad visibility into your operations and holistic view of short product lifecycles is crucial. K3 has developed a concept-to-consumer solution “K3 fashion”, embedded in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations. A solution further enhanced to meet the unique and exact needs of the fashion and apparel industry.

The seasonal approach is out

The seasonal approach is out – shorter lead times have allowed retailers to rethink seasonality as much as ten seasons instead of two. Traditionally fashion retailers and brand owners are planning the collection a year in advance –whereas today there are several collections that need to be planned within the same season.

fashion instagram

In the social media age, where fashion influencers on Instagram have more power than the big brands themselves and inspire consumers instantly, customer preferences change rapidly. This results in higher expectations to have a quick customer respond. In addition, there are sometimes special fabrics to consider which have lead times on their own. It means that it is not only about producing the item or buying it, but also buying and selecting the fabric in time. The complexity also comes with the fact that companies work with multiply collections at the same time. Fashion retailers need to manage everything from the production of items, the planning itself to mark downs.

Having control of different stages simultaneously in the fashion process is therefore essential to succeed. The problem is that standard ERP systems are developed to manage seasonal planning on an annual year basis, and not adapted to work with different collection periods. K3 provides the fashion industry customers with more insights and keeps track of all the different stages in the product lifecycle – from early business planning and designing, all the way through the cycle until it reaches the store. The solution gives retailers insights about different variants (for example sizes and colors) styles and collections. Compared to other systems which has tend alone solutions and only supports a specific phase, K3|fashion gives the customers support in the whole cycle, from concept to consumer.

Whitepaper changing landscape fashion industry

The lack of omni channel support

Fashion wholesalers and fashion brand owners are struggling with earning money on products because of fast changing customer preferences. And for traditional brands it’s difficult to combine their own uniqueness with faster time-to-market.

At the same time, consumers require an omni channel supplier – they want to be able buy whatever they want, whenever they want – and return the product wherever they want at any time. Omni-channel processes must be organized to provide customers with an optimal customer journey.

[ Related: 5 Important Lessons Learned From ERP Implementation Failures ]

Companies struggle with the omnichannel concept because it is most common to have siloed systems that are historically designed for different parts of the collection planning process. K3|fashion is embedded in Dynamics 365 for retail and helps fashion retailers manage inventory and prices across all channels to optimize revenue.

In order to be cost efficient it’s important to have ERP system that covers the whole process and provides a clear overview of what you are busy with – for example insights into price levels across collections which enables you to determine that you are targeting the right price level for a specific product. When combined with margin planning control it is a good way to make sure that you make money for your bucks.

Sustainability and traceability requirements

The newer generations of shoppers require transparency from retailers and expects brand owners and retailers to be practicing ethical and environmentally-friendly methods. Environmental concerns have become more important to consumers, forcing companies to design products around sustainability principles.

sustainable fashion

Companies must be transparent and able to prove that they are using the right methods, otherwise they risk consumers not buying their products and losing their piece of the market. Big retailers are suffering backlash from the public opinion due to their bad practices, and it is clear that there is a direct link between social responsibility and reputation of a company.

Major brands say they are keen to build trust in their products by becoming more environmentally and ethically conscious but are prepared only to invest if they can see it will add to the bottom line. Apparel produced using the right methods usually cost slightly more and it’s difficult to offer low prices and at the same time design quality products.

K3 fashion

About Acando:

Acando is a consulting company that leverages an equal balance of specialist technical expertise and human behavioral insight to innovate, streamline and mobilize organizations for sustainable change. The Group has approximately 2,000 employees allocated over five countries.

Acando has long experience in working with advanced retail solutions with major clients in Northern Europe. Every day, over 350 Acando consultants work with retail companies and Acando has helped large organizations to carry out extensive transformation projects and to implement innovative solutions.

Learn more at www.acando.com

About K3|fashion:

Formerly known as ax|is fashion, K3|fashion is a concept-to-consumer solution, embedded in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, and further enhanced to meet the unique and exacting needs of the fashion and apparel enterprises. The out of the box fashion functionality means there is little to no need for extensive back-end customization, resulting in a shorter implementation cycle and a quicker ROI.

Over 16,000 users in 13 countries have already made K3|fashion their fashion software solution of choice.

Learn more at www.k3software.com/k3-fashion

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