New York, NY, August 18, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Investing in the future is important to Direct Corporate Clothing. Over the past few years, it has acquired a 60,000 square metre warehouse and set-up a dedicated, wholly-owned garment-manufacturing facility in China. Crucially, it has also installed a state-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution from Aria Systems to support business growth.
Since installing this computer software, Direct Corporate Clothing has never looked back. In a competitive marketplace where everyone is looking for an edge, it recently developed a new corporate clothing module with Aria to take its supply chain efficiency and customer service to new heights.
Building solid foundations
Based in Oldbury, Birmingham, Direct Corporate Clothing designs and supplies uniforms to the transport, logistics, construction, retail, and oil and gas industries as well as local government organisations.
Since the company was established in 1999, its business has witnessed continual growth in sales and product lines. A more sophisticated back office system was therefore needed to support the increased volume and complexity of activity.
Joint managing director of Direct Corporate Clothing Gini Sohal says: “Our previous system didn’t have the scalability the new system had, so we changed for the better of the business. The business was growing and our current system couldn’t support it.”
In 2005, Direct Corporate Clothing looked at several companies to deliver a new ERP system and selected Aria based on the cost, capability and user-friendly nature of their product solution.
“It’s robust and simple to use,” Gini says. “It was also an easy and smooth transition for our staff to make from the previous system.”
The company also liked Aria’s hands-on approach. Following an initial demonstration, Aria led a two-day workshop at Direct Corporate Clothing’s offices to demonstrate the software operating in their own environment.
“We processed examples of their information through the system so they could be confident that the software would do what we said it would do,” Aria’s business development manager John Driscoll says. “There’s a big difference between having a demo for a couple of hours and actually sitting there and getting your hands dirty.”
Essex-based Aria has been providing the apparel industry with state-of the-art ERP solutions for 15 years and Direct Corporate Clothing is one of more than 450 apparel companies using its product suites worldwide to gain competitive advantages.
Its latest core system is Aria 4XP. It was chosen by Direct Corporate Clothing to eliminate procedural inefficiencies on all production fronts and to enhance the warehousing and sales processes.
Microsoft-based and with the ability to integrate with existing systems, Aria 4XP gives the supplier complete control of all tasks from initial enquiry to order fulfilment. They can manage and forecast stock, track products, produce sales and purchase orders quickly and easily as well as creating financial and management reports.
While traditional methods such as spreadsheets and other standalone systems need to be updated and distributed manually, Aria 4XP works from a fully integrated and centralised database. This means that staff and supply chain partners who are entitled to see the information will have access to updates in real time – wherever they are in the world.
Besides controlling stock and managing finance for the supplier, the system has also helped to increase efficiency and improve customer service levels by speeding up the entire process. This is just as well, because Aria managing director Tony Mather believes that customers are starting to up the stakes in their tenders.
“It’s become far more competitive now, and so you need an edge. One of the edges you can have is by having a slick computer system that gets those orders through your factory and through your warehouse as quickly as possible,” he says.
More control for the customer
In the complex uniform industry, where suppliers are no stranger to processing hundreds of small transactions a day from different customers, a system is needed to deal with its specialised requirements.
Following the installation of the core system, Direct Corporate Clothing began to find that web-based ordering was becoming more important to its customers. In response, it designed a new module with Aria that offered this and a manpack facility.
“You’re always under pressure from your customers,” Gini says. “We’re in a service-based business and we have to listen to what our customers are saying and comply with their needs. We’ve had Aria helping us along the way to do it.”
Going live in August 2009, the new module allowed Direct Corporate Clothing to create an original website for each of its customers within hours, displaying their specific products, prices and corporate look. Besides placing orders, customers can also use the website to look up order history, create management and analysis reports, track shipment parcels and check uniform entitlement and stock availability.
Gini says: “It’s a different way that we can sell our services to the customers. For the customer, it makes sense because they can place and track orders without even having to contact our help desk –they can just go straight to their own website.”