Apparel merchandising and management students will have expanded access to cutting-edge software, thanks to an industry supporter.
For the past eight years, Department of Apparel Merchandising & Management students have used AIMS360’s Enterprise Resource Planning software in an advanced apparel production lab class and then in their senior capstone simulation course in which they design and produce a fashion product line to sell in the Bronco Bookstore.
Henry Cherner, the managing partner of AIMS360 and a member of the Huntley College of Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council, provided the software. This new donation doubles the number of student users who can have access to the cloud-based software from 25 to 50 and extends its availability for the next 10 years.
“You’ll be able to run a business with this software,” says Cherner, a member of the California Fashion Association advisory board whose relationship with AMM began when the department was founded in 1997.
The software allows students to enter product line information such as style, raw materials, purchase orders etc., as well as business partners such as vendors, sales reps, factors etc. The system generates invoices, picking tickets, packing slips, order confirmations, and other documents to run the wholesale manufacturing operation, Associate Professor Muditha Senanayake says.
“Some of the students who learned AIMS360 are actually working in the industry using this system,” Senanayake says. “Therefore it has not only assisted us to make students understand the wholesale business operations but also helped the students in their careers after graduation.”
The company is also providing software support and updates during the 10-year period.
AIMS360’s software is used by more than 5,000 companies.
The AMM department at Cal Poly Pomona trains its more than 400 undergraduate students for management and leadership careers in the apparel production, fashion retailing, and textile or related sectors.
The students benefit from Cal Poly Pomona’s proximity to Los Angeles, which is one of the two major centers of the $276 billion U.S. retail apparel industry and an international fashion hub. Although almost all the clothing sold in retail stores is imported into the United States, U.S. companies design, brand, and market almost all of it. High-paying jobs are available in research and development, design, sourcing, sales and marketing.
But technology is changing the apparel and fashion industries. Three-dimensional printing and e-commerce are allowing smaller and newer companies to compete with larger and more established brands.
Learning business software such as AIMS360 also will help the students to have competitive careers, Cherner says.
Although some students might focus on a specific area in their careers like marketing, the software allows them to understand the whole business process, including design, production, manufacturing, shipping and logistics, accounts receivable and accounts payable, he says.
“A lot of manufacturers and wholesalers are becoming retailers too,” Cherner says. “They sell directly to the consumer.”
Heart of Haute is one example. Founded by Teresa Becker, an AMM graduate and Huntley College of Agriculture distinguished alumna, the San Dimas-based apparel company sells mainly to boutiques and online businesses, but also to retail customers online and local shoppers through its showroom. The company also uses AIMS360 software.
“AIMS360 is a very important part of our organization,” Becker says.
AIMS was founded in 1984 by Cherner’s partner Scott Chaban, and other former fashion industry executives contributed to its evolution. It is based in the Fashion District of Los Angeles, which is one of the top two hubs of the U.S. fashion industry.
An adjunct instructor at L.A. Trade Tech College’s Fashion Center, Cherner’s relationship with AMM began in 1997 when professors Betty Tracy and Jean Gipe invited him to be part of the department’s advisory board. He has served on the board ever since.
In addition, Cherner has provided AMM students with internships at his company and has hired AMM graduates.
“He visits my class as a guest speaker every time when I teach advanced apparel production,” Senanayake says. “He has been recognized as a professor for a day.”