Data Prep: Why Your Apparel Business Needs It

Apparel third-party logistics (3PL) providers need clear and comprehensive data for smooth operations. Without it, 3PL providers can't provide the consistent service their apparel clients rely on. That's why data prep is so important for any apparel firm using a 3PL provider.

Understanding Data Prep

Data prep, short for data preparation, is the multi-phase process of collecting, synthesizing, assembling, and organizing data for analysis. Data prep is useful for a variety of business functions, but none may be as important as dealing with 3PLs. That's because you're trusting another company to manage elements of your business operations.

Clear data prep means the 3PL provider has all the information it needs in an easily understood format. This information helps your 3PL provider perform its functions to the standard you expect.

data prep for apparel logistics

Data Prep's Role in Logistics

"If you're not willing to share the data, you will end up having issues down the road that you could have addressed earlier," Justin Woodall, vice president of supply chain for Nutrabolt, told Food Logistics. "In the end, you want to be able to share everything that needs to be shared to make the partnership the best that it could be."

Although Mr. Woodall works in the food industry, his words apply to any company using a 3PL provider, including apparel manufacturers.

Of course, no supply chain can completely eliminate all risk. Natural disasters can upset even the most well-planned supply chains, for example. But thorough data preparation reduces the risk of disruptions to the supply chain. With data gathered over an extended period of time, 3PL providers can note regular busy periods for their clients. When the 3PL can anticipate these periods, it can allocate extra staff to make sure the influx of orders is distributed in a timely fashion.

A specialist 3PL provider, such as The Apparel Logistics Group, can also compare each client's data with others in the same industry to provide a more comprehensive picture of that sector's needs.

Prep the Right Data

The more information a 3PL provider has, the better it can meet its clients' demands. But there are some key pieces of information apparel firms shouldn't overlook.

Information about the products is crucial. Your 3PL provider will need the names of fashion pieces, quantities, materials, and their SKU codes.

In addition, your 3PL provider needs information about the retailers or individual clients they will send your pieces to. This information should be comprehensive, including names, addresses, and phone numbers, so the 3PL can easily get in touch with your contacts if problems arise.

Sales data is also valuable for 3PLs. Work with your 3PL provider to learn what other information would benefit them.

The apparel business changes rapidly, with new pieces added regularly to meet the public's appetite for new looks and seasonal demands. So it's crucial that 3PL providers receive up-to-date information. Real-time data is always preferred, so that 3PL providers know they're dealing with current details.

When you take the time to properly prep the data you send to your 3PL, you minimize the chance of delays in the supply chain. If you're new to data prep or want to learn more, request a free consultation from The Apparel Logistics Group. We'll happily discuss the data we need to perform at our best and why that's so important to you.

Posted: 2/15/2017 4:26:39 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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