Hong Kong based garment manufacturer TAL Apparel has implemented two new software applications to help it become more efficient, more responsive to market trends, and to reduce total costs.

The Lawson M3 Fashion Planning Workbench and the Supply Chain Order solutions will also help the company achieve shorter planning and production lead times, respond faster to market trends and improve inventory management.

TAL is one the largest and most successful fashion apparel producers in the world producing approximately 55m garments each year.

The company owns 4.2m square feet of production floor area in 12 factories worldwide, and creates one in every seven dress shirts sold in the United States.

"We used to rely on Excel spreadsheets for mid-to-long-term capacity planning but it was time consuming, not integrated and susceptible to human error," said Delman Lee, director of technology for TAL.

"With Fashion Planning Workbench, whether it is the sales team loading orders or the planners balancing capacity, all changes are immediately updated for everyone to see.

"We also saved time. For 200,000 orders, we used to take eight hours to download and sort date with Excel, but it can be done in 30 minutes now."

Implemented at 10 of TAL's production sites, the Lawson M3 Supply Chain Order solution helps TAL plan and manage order chains by linking orders with supply chain data.

"With Supply Chain Order, if we change the quantity of a customer's order, all other related material requirement orders are taken care of. We estimate that this gives us 80% savings in time spent on these tasks," added Lee.