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The environmental impact that humans have on our planet is a theme that has become more prevalent over the past decade. Although we as individuals have a responsibility to lead sustainable lives and reduce our environmental impact, in order to have a greater impact, businesses must ensure they utilise sustainable and environmentally friendlier business models and improve the sustainability of their operations. 

In particular, apparel manufacturers have received criticism over their practices which have a detrimental impact on the environment - especially fashion brands that are 'fast fashion' businesses. But through the use of apparel ERP software, manufacturers can begin to understand how to achieve a greater level of sustainability in the apparel industry and set in motion the technologies that not only enable apparel manufacturers to become more sustainable but also improve processes, reduce costs and optimise the supply chain.

How ERP software is driving sustainability in the textile and apparel industries

1. Material Resource Planning (MRP) and Demand Forecasting

All too often in the fashion industry materials are wasted due to the over-purchasing of stock, not selling enough inventory to meet predicted demand, or even inefficient processes throughout production which create unnecessary waste. Wasted materials have a huge negative impact on sustainability in the apparel industry. The waste of materials not only has a significant impact on the environment but also has an impact on profit margins and the efficiency of the production process.

ERP software provides apparel manufacturers with the ability to predict product demand and materials usage requirements with a far greater degree of accuracy to ensure a reduction in wasted materials and resources. ERP technology uses historical data to identify trends and patterns through AI and machine learning to better predict and align materials required more closely with the amount sold.

2. Inventory Management and Delivery Process Optimisation

Many mistakes are typically made throughout inventory management, which can negatively affect the sustainability of an apparel business and its operations. ERP software for the apparel industry allows complete visibility of the business in order to reduce errors being made and in doing so reduce the carbon footprint of the business.

Often, stock and materials are over-purchased by apparel manufacturers due to poor inventory management, this could be due to discrepancies between the system and the actual inventory in terms of quantity, location and even the fact that a working system is not yet in place. By ensuring complete visibility and accuracy using ERP software, items including their exact locations and quantities can be clearly identified within the system, ensuring that additional items and materials are not purchased. This not only saves money and resources but also helps to reduce the environmental impact the business creates, and in turn improves the apparel industry's sustainability.  

Optimising inventory management can have a positive impact on the delivery process and the environmental footprint that it leaves behind. ERP software allows apparel manufacturers to effectively manage multiple inventory locations across many different countries at any given time to ensure that materials and stock being held can be stored closer to their desired destinations to reduce the amount of shipping involved in the distribution process. This process is also similar in reducing the distance and timespan for customer deliveries which further diminishes the environmental impact that is involved in this process, by reducing carbon emissions. 

3. Environmental Compliance and Apparel Industry Sustainability in the Cloud

As governments become more aware of manufacturers' impact on the environment, many environmental regulations have been introduced to which apparel and textile manufacturers must adhere. 

ERP software helps apparel manufacturers to maintain environmental and regulatory compliance. This innovative technology allows the careful monitoring of regulations and alerts for when aspects of regulations change and the level of compliance that needs to be replicated throughout the business. 

Running apparel ERP software in the cloud can reduce a manufacturer's energy consumption by up to 30% or more as opposed to running the same systems in-house (on-premise). Operating in the cloud not only reduces an apparel business's environmental impact but also allows an array of benefits to be achieved through the combination of cloud and other ERP technologies which can significantly improve the production process to reduce environmental impact further. 

Are you looking for ERP software to support your sustainable apparel or textile business?

ApparelX from Syscom is a flexible ERP software system, designed specifically for the apparel and textiles industries. It can support a business to work towards a sustainable future with all of the benefits discussed in this article, helping to promote sustainability in the textile and apparel industries. 

For a chat about how ApparelX could work for your business, get in touch with our team on 01384 400 600, email info@syscom.plc.uk or submit a contact form below.