2011 marked a significant change in South Africa’s fashion industry as we knew it, with the introduction of the internationally successful clothing store, Zara. This has been closely followed by other international fashion retailers, including the likes of Top Shop, Cotton On and Forever New, which are quickly expanding their presence in our shopping malls.

Cotton On is an Australia-born brand with close to 1 200 stores around the globe, 32 of which are now in SA. The company’s Robert Kenny says Cotton On is comfortably occupying its own niche market, somewhere between Mr Price and Woolworths. Forever New, another clothing and accessories brand founded in Australia, is another one of the international retailers that is fast establishing its presence in the apparel industry in SA, putting added pressure on our local retailers, not to mention the much anticipated arrival of H&M to South Africa in 2015.

“The increased presence of foreign retailers will result in a shift in market share. It will squeeze retailers’ margins and they will either have to offer a better product or reduce prices,” says Stephan le Roux, Growthpoint’s retail director.

Streamlining business processes, reducing lead times, increasing employee productivity and ensuring on-time delivery is becoming more important than ever in this highly competitive, ever-changing industry. Sync ERP and PLM software, specifically designed for the apparel industry, is an all-encompassing software solution for the apparel industry, comprising 16 modules from costing, sales management and purchasing through to production planning, quality assurance, mobile sales and critical path management.

Sync’s Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) module supports the product development, sourcing and manufacturing processes by improving visibility and facilitating workflow management. It is a single-source database that helps control, manage and track product changes to maintain one version of the truth for everyone involved in the product development process, improving communication and eliminating errors.

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