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  • SOLUTIONS

    Microsoft Dynamics AX

    Master Complexity with Apparel and Textile for Microsoft Dynamics AX

    White Paper

    This paper discusses how the makers and distributors of apparel and textiles can integrate item and process information, improve effi ciency, and enhance profi tability using Apparel and Textile for Microsoft DynamicsTM AX.

    October 2007

    www.microsoft.com/dynamics/ax/product/industrysolutions.mspx

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  • MASTER COMPLEXITY WITH APPAREL AND TEXTILE FOR MICROSOFT DYNAMICS AX

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    Contents

    Introduction ................................................................................................................................................ 3

    Industry Trends and Challenges ............................................................................................................... 3

    Turning Challenges into Opportunities: How Technology Can Help ................................................... 4 Manage complexity ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 4 Enhance fl exibility ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 4 Connect trade partners ................................................................................................................................................................................. 4 Increase effi ciency ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Gain insight for improvement ...................................................................................................................................................................... 4

    Apparel and Textile for Microsoft Dynamics AX .................................................................................... 5 Take control of multidimensional item variables ...................................................................................................................................... 5 Respond effectively to change with enhanced fl exibility ....................................................................................................................... 6 Improve supply chain collaboration ........................................................................................................................................................... 7 Reduce costs and increase profi tability ...................................................................................................................................................... 8 Make confi dent decisions .............................................................................................................................................................................. 9

    Technology Overview ................................................................................................................................ 9 Solution map .................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Quick implementation and return on investment ................................................................................................................................. 10 System architecture ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 11 A quality product with dependable support .......................................................................................................................................... 11

    Conclusion................................................................................................................................................. 11

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    Introduction

    Driven by increased globalization, companies in the apparel and textile industry face a variety of challenges. Delocalized production and complex, expanding supply networks make it harder than ever to coordinate effi ciently with trade partners and maintain product and material traceability while still making a profi t. Price pressure, intense competition, and demanding customers erode margins and increase the urgency of cost control and fast time-to-market. Apparel and Textile for Microsoft DynamicsTM AX can help by connecting complex item and order specifi cations with fl exible process management through an integrated, cost-effective business management solution. When apparel and textile companies can achieve greater end-to-end control of item and process variables and information, they gain the visibility and insight they need to enhance profi tability and build a competitive advantage.

    This white paper reviews current trends and challenges in the apparel and textile industry, which represents businesses that produce a wide range of products including fi ber and yarn, consumer and industrial fabric, carpet and other woven materials, and mass-market, designer, or luxury clothing and fashion accessories. This paper also addresses the role of technology in helping companies turn these challenges into opportunities that can drive business success, along with the specifi c features, benefi ts, and advantages of Apparel and Textile for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

    Industry Trends and Challenges

    Although globalization is nothing new in the apparel and textile industry, the increasing geographic dispersal of production, supply networks, and markets intensifi es competitive pressures and operating challenges. Production delocalization continues, with wider, more complex supply networks creating challenges for effective communication and supply chain management. More materials or processes may be subcontracted or outsourced, while new distribution channels and markets emerge.

    In addition to the challenges of conducting business across national borders and in foreign markets, apparel and textile companies typically face:

    • Upheaval from frequent acquisitions and mergers as companies increase their vertical integration, go after new retail distribution options, or move into new markets.

    • Bills of material (BOMs) and production routings complicated by the large number of item variables, from seasonal collections or brands to multiple color-way and size dimension matrices.

    • The need to maintain traceability from fi nished goods back to raw materials and suppliers despite complex supply networks and variable production routings.

    • Competition-induced pressure for higher quality at lower cost. • Increased retailer demands for fast time to market, new higher-performance materials, or customized products,

    put-up, and delivery. • Existing stand-alone information systems that lack integration with each other, and technology solutions that are

    inadequate to handle the industry’s complex item and process data.

    Companies who survive in this dynamic and diffi cult environment are those that can quickly access critical information; make fast, informed decisions; collaborate effectively with trade partners; and adapt rapidly to change.

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    Turning Challenges into Opportunities: How Technology Can Help

    Fortunately, technology can help deliver the information, insight, and collaboration that apparel and textile companies need to compete profi tably. When people, processes, and information come together in streamlined, integrated operations, the entire organization can work effectively to drive business success. The right business management solution can help by improving control of complex variables, automating tasks, speeding the fl ow of information, connecting processes and partners, and delivering comprehensive business intelligence to support strong decision-making.

    Manage complexity Apparel and textile companies routinely juggle material performance characteristics and customers’ item specifi cations with the product complexity of seasonal lines, brand or trade show collections, styles, quality grades, color-ways, size and color matrices, fi nishing variables, put-up, and delivery options. BOMs and manufacturing orders add another layer of complication with size and color assortments for every item style. Technology is critical simply for keeping track of all these item variables, along with managing production routings, handling distribution, or helping ensure backward traceability to sources and suppliers. But the right business management solution can also integrate multidimensional item coding with production, distribution, and accounting processes to streamline tracking and fi nancial processes, speed production planning, increase supply chain visibility, and provide the insight for effective item management.

    Enhance flexibilityfl Aging and disconnected information systems hinder an organization’s ability to respond to new market opportunities or last-minute customer changes by limiting access to the