Cutter & Buck Takes a Swing at Product Lifecycle Management

Sportswear designer deploying Freeborders PLM solution in bid to speed product development processes

Sportswear designer deploying Freeborders PLM solution in bid to speed product development processes

San Francisco, CA — December 2, 2004 — Upscale sportswear designer Cutter & Buck is set to use a product lifecycle management (PLM) solution from Freeborders in a bid to speed products to market as it grows its business.

Seattle-based Cutter & Buck primarily sells its products through golf pro shops, resorts, corporate accounts and upscale specialty retail stores. The company reported sales of $128.4 million in its latest fiscal year, ended in June.

Cutter & Buck will use Freeborders PLM Suite to shorten the lead time for the design-through-procurement phase of its production cycle. The company will use FB Product Manager, FB Line Optimizer, FB Fabric & Trim, and FB Workflow to cohesively link its supply chain and collaborate better internally and externally with suppliers.

All the modules are browser-based to enable real-time communication with supply chain partners, according to Freeborders.

"We evaluated several vendor products but found that Freeborders PLM Suite best meets our current and future needs to manage data more effectively throughout the organization and accelerate the time to market to meet the growing demand for our products," said Kenneth Stringer, chief information officer of Cutter & Buck.

"Increased efficiencies and improved visibility of information across functional groups were key motivators for us in selecting the Freeborders PLM Suite," added Jody Crow, product development manager at the company.

FB Product Manager, the flagship product development infrastructure module within Freeborders PLM Suite, will enable real-time coordination between Cutter & Buck and its supply chain and shorten the product lifecycle, Freeborders said.

Using FB Line Optimizer, Cutter & Buck will be able to more easily design and develop line concepts and product assortments within the parameters of the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP), merchandise resource planning (MRP) and product data management (PDM) systems, according to the solution provider. Line Optimizer assists in planning the right products at the right time by providing the critical link between ERP, MRP and PDM systems.

In addition, FB Fabric and Trim are designed to improve the development process for fabrics, labels and trim elements. By improving upon standard product data management systems, FB Fabric & Trim helps designers and developers to map the correct fabrics, labels, zippers and buttons to the right garments, Freeborders said. The solution extends the degree of management control in the product specification process, improves collaboration internally and externally and enables retailers and brands to accelerate how they define and develop products, according to the solution provider.

Finally, Freeborders said that FB Workflow will provide Cutter & Buck with a Web-based tool for managing the global critical path throughout the entire lifecycle of a product, from product planning through design, production and delivery. Using this product, Cutter & Buck will be able to more easily allocate, revise and automatically track internal and external activities, the solution provider said. Workflow will also provide Cutter & Buck supply chain partners visibility to product and order milestones, as well as automatic, configurable status alerts.

"It is critical for retail brands to plan product lines that map to enterprise resources and to increase communication internally and with suppliers to be able to speed products to market," said John Cestar, co-CEO of Freeborders. "Using Freeborders' PLM modules to create designs faster and more efficiently will enable Cutter & Buck to shorten its production cycle and increase its profitability."

Other brands and companies using Freeborders PLM software and services include Gap, J. Crew, L.L. Bean, Saks and Woolrich. Freeborders is headquartered in San Francisco.

For more information on mid-market companies using product lifecycle management solutions to gain competitive advantage, see "Stuck in the Middle" in the April/May 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.