January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Apparel Gets Its Own Exchange

E retailers selling apparel on the Web can now go there to source their stores, too -- at the first online trading network specifically designed for global retail and apparel sourcing. FreeBorders, the developer of an online trading network and collaborative tools specifically for global outsourcing, will combine its proprietary web applications and international partner network with IBM technology to bring cost savings and streamlined processes to the global b2b apparel and retail market, say company officials. The offering, built on IBMÕs new WebSphere Commerce Suite, includes two customized products. The Private Trading Network is a complete sourcing solution for major brands and retailers; the Public Trading Network is for use by qualified buyers and suppliers in the global apparel and retail supply chains.

Global outsourcing and product delivery present "unique challenges, ranging from extended forecasting lead times to ensuring socially responsible factory environments," says Debbie Korcheck, vice president of customer relationship management for FreeBorders. "FreeBordersÕ Private and Public Network strategies in conjunction with partnerships around the work will provide an efficient solution to this process for the first time."

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