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, businesses must ensure they utilise sustainable and environmentally friendlier solutions in order to have a greater impact as a whole and improve the sustainability of their operations.
Manufacturers are particularly renowned for needing to improve the sustainability of their operations in various areas throughout the supply chain. In particular, apparel manufacturers have received criticism over the different practices which have a detrimental impact on the environment. But through the use of ERP, apparel and textile manufacturers can begin to understand how to achieve a greater level of sustainability 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 is driving sustainability throughout complex supply chains in the Apparel industry.
Material Resource Planning (MRP) and Demand Forecasting
All too often throughout the fashion industry materials are wasted due to the over purchasing of stock, not selling enough stock to meet predicted demand or even inefficient processes throughout production which create unnecessary waste. The waste of materials not only has a significant impact on the environment but it also has an impact on businesses 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 utilises historical data to identify trends and patterns through AI and machine learning in order to better predict and align materials required more closely with the amount being sold.
Inventory Management and Delivery Process Optimisation
Many mistakes are typically made throughout inventory management which can have a negative effect on the sustainability of an apparel business and on their operations. ERP software makes sense of inventory management tasks and allows complete visibility of the business in order to reduce errors being made and in doing so reduce the footprint the business leaves behind.
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 throughout using ERP software, items including their exact locations and quantities can be clearly identified within the system which ensures 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.
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 for reducing the distance and timespan for customer deliveries which further diminishes the environmental impact that is involved in this process.
Environmental Compliance and Sustainability in the Cloud
As governments become more aware of the impact manufacturers have on the environment, many environmental regulations have been introduced which apparel and textile manufacturers must adhere to.
ERP software helps apparel manufacturers to maintain environmental and regulatory compliance using AI technology coupled with the cloud. This smart technology allows the careful monitoring of regulations and alerts for when aspects of regulations change and the level of compliance needs to be replicated throughout the business.
Running ERP software through the cloud can reduce a manufacturers energy consumption by up to 30% or more opposed to that of running the same systems in house (on-premise). Operating on the cloud not only reduces an apparel businesses 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 be able to reduce environmental impact further.