MyDyer Transforms Its End-To-End Supply Chain with ERP

Originally posted in Apparel Magazine

Retailers and manufacturers share the same goal: increase sales and improve margins on those sales. They also share the consumer — someone who expects an integrated, omnichannel experience, in which their likes and dislikes are “understood” on an individual level. In today’s complex retail environment, the requirements for delivering this consumer experience, as well as understanding the viability of consumer goods, are jointly owned and influenced by retailers and manufacturers. That’s why collaboration — between retailers and their manufacturing counterparts — is paramount.

MyDyer, a full-package apparel manufacturing and global sourcing firm based in Long Beach, CA, has experienced consistent and steady success and growth in its nearly 20 years in business, but until recently had been utilizing a small financial package and a highly customized solution on a common development platform as its primary business solution.

As Jack Nestell, CIO for MyDyer and co-author of Successful ERP Systems: A Guide for Business and Executives explains, continued success for MyDyer required a change to its business systems —namely, accounting, manufacturing, distribution, and inventory — which were at the time limited in functionality and unable to keep pace with its growing business requirements in terms of function and volume.

“MyDyer ownership has incredible vision,” he says, and understood that a totally integrated ERP would not only improve business functional tools but also provide strategic business advantage for short-, mid-, and long-term strategy vis a vis providing stellar customer service and delivery. The MyDyer team realized that it was time to take their “game to the next level” in terms of providing the platform and foundation for proactive business intelligence.

“True cost benefit comes from process improvements that the properly selected ERP supports. … MyDyer recognizes that, second to our people and customers, there is nothing more important than our data,” Nestell says. Here’s why: reliable and immediate access to accurate data becomes information, which becomes business intelligence, resulting in a high confidence level in strategic business decisions and management.

And this value is what drove the company to implement CGS’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems.

Overall ERP strategy

ERP has proven to be an efficient method of utilizing hardware, software and people to increase productivity and profit, and improve companies’ business processes. For MyDyer, ERP has provided the company with the general, initial, and improved foundation to realize improved visibility, data accountability, scalability, flexibility, and transactional discipline/workflow management within the organization.

According to Nestell, ERP has provided MyDyer with the foundation to realize continuous business growth, customer care and service, and customer quality.

“The company’s overall strategy is to continue to leverage our ERP as a tool for continuous improvement, metrics, and business intelligence,” he says. “Implementing ERP has provided MyDyer with the tool to realize even greater business efficiencies via improved business solutions integration with business partners and customers and end-to-end supply chain management by strategically managing business KPIs.”

Using ERP, MyDyer’s strategy is to provide efficient, organized tools and processes to business operations. Implementing ERP technology that best supports these processes will provide MyDyer customers with exceptional support, service, and quality.

“MyDyer understands the value of focusing on customers and the value of letting processes evolve to support changing customer dynamics,” Nestell says. “Most importantly, MyDyer leadership understands ERP as a change agent and tool to support our vision, strategy, and the development of a culture of innovation and creativity.”

Key characteristics

While ERP systems present a comprehensive yet integrated view of essential business processes across all industries, certain features of ERP are key to ensuring these solutions work at each specific company. When evaluating ERP’s role in its company systems, MyDyer put a great deal of effort into making sure that the proper ERP solution and partner was selected.

MyDyer’s selection process consisted of a deliberate, objective, methodical approach to ERP evaluation which included four major categories: Operational workflow review in which current state is mapped to future state; requirements mapping; vendor selection; and implementation.

“During the selection process ERP vendors were determined based on weighted and prioritized strategic and functional selection criteria,” Nestell said. “The ‘strategic factors’ were designed to give potential vendors a sampling of elements that MyDyer deems as key elements of its ERP system.

This list was generated via participation of internal steering committee meetings, internal departmental business review, and market research. The strategic factors were weighted and prioritized to determine a final “grade” in each of the areas below. This grade was determined via market research, surveys, professional resources, references, resource experience, vendor discussion, presentation, and response to a vendor RFP. The “functional” criteria were determined via review of current ERP solution and operational requirements, and a “future state requirement” analysis, which identified key opportunities for enhancement of the current ERP.

For example, strategic factors included total cost of ownership, ease of use and end-user learning curve, industry fit, technology architecture, service and support, R&D investment, references, scalability (functional and technical), product flexibility and implementation partner to name a few.

“PLM also was a critical component and requirement in our ERP selection process. … The apparel industry is extremely fast moving and competitive and we wanted a solution that allowed best design management,” Nestell says. Because PLM contributes significantly to its ability to speed product to market, MyDyer wanted a tool that provided effective development, management, and archiving functions. The company also wanted a tool that would allow the finalized product, BOM, and costs to be easily be moved to production with the click of a button. With its new PLM system, the company has acquired better tools for collaborative teamwork, process visibility with real-time information, and workflow management, says Nestell.

MyDyer has always placed great emphasis on providing customers with the best cost and most efficient supply chain strategy and partners. It has worked to improve integration with partners with better processes, including a new product label initiative to facilitate inbound receipts. It has also implemented RFID solutions throughout its entire supply chain, with partner SML.

The company has improved vendor portal capabilities, improved ASN (EDI), and improved vendor management via integration between BlueCherry and its vendor management software, which facilitates vendor onboarding, document management, and vendor payables information.

Ongoing strategies

MyDyer continues to focus on tools and technology that will facilitate tight systems integration with its partners. The company is improving its ability to measure supply chain performance, customer demand planning, and inventory across the increasingly complex supply chain.

As Nestell explains, MyDyer’s long-term strategy is based on a fundamental business partner philosophy: when all partners in the supply chain have useful, timely business data, then the entire supply chain can react more promptly to changes due to business dynamic and customer requests.

The company continues to look for EDI opportunities within its supply chain, and seeks to use its ERP to help manage and identify cost, performance, and service correlations. “We are leveraging our ERP solution by looking into opportunities to improve integration with supply chain management functionality. ERP has enabled us to implement a vendor management portal for direct vendor access to check orders and status.” ERP also allowed MyDyer to implement improved seamless order management via EDI.

The apparel industry is only going to continue become more dynamic and competitive, says Nestell. As a result of continued globalization, supply chain options will continue to get better, more complex, and more dynamic all at the same time. As such, new technologies, systems, and computing platforms will continue to evolve.

“ERP systems are really designed to provide business transaction information,” Nestell says. And, these business transactions really represent dollars. Therefore, technology needs to continue to provide that catalyst and value-added business tool that turns these transactions into data, and then information, and then business intelligence in the most effective, real-time, integrated way possible.”