Mary Wagner

Fashion Leader Seeks Improve Product Development Efficiencies

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 21, 2004 – Freeborders, the worldwide leader in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions for retailers and brands, announced today that leading men`s and women`s apparel retailer J. Crew Group, Inc. will use Freeborders Fabric & Trim solution to significantly improve the management of its fabrics, labels and trims.

The majority of the product development lead-time and roughly 30-50% of the cost of a finished product is attributed to raw materials. FB Fabric & Trim, a 100% web-based application, enables retailers and brands to lower costs by aggregating raw materials across product lines and to increase quality by ensuring every product has the right physical standard, color, print, weave, composition, fiber content and costing.

As a catalog and retail chain with approximately 200 outlets in the U.S., J. Crew sells classic jeans, khakis, and other fashion items that are mainstays of young adult wardrobes. J. Crew, known for its high quality merchandise, has determined that to meet the constant demand of its consumers and to avoid costly markdowns, it must shrink product development process times and ensure that the right products get to market at the right time.

“We recently initiated a new inventory management strategy, part of which demands that we make our fabric sourcing and trim capabilities highly efficient,” says Paul Fusco, J. Crew`s CIO. “Freeborders Fabric & Trim will enable us to collaborate better with our trim suppliers, speed our decision-making, and streamline the fabric and trim approval process overall.”

As a multi-channel retailer, J. Crew faces significant supply chain complexity. The privately-held company has been an industry leader in creating a cohesive brand image via its linked online, catalog and store presence.

Freeborders’ PLM systems manage this kind of complexity every day for more than 350 customers globally, optimizing development processes and creating a competitive advantage for its customers. Among its clients are Pringle, Dillard`s, Marc Jacobs, Gap, Coach, L.L. Bean, Lands` End, Liz Claiborne, Pottery Barn, Saks, Target, DuPont and INVISTA.

“We will showcase FB Fabric & Trim along with our other integrated PLM modules at the Material World and Technology Solutions show in Miami, May 18th - 20th,” said Ramsey Walker, co-CEO of Freeborders. “We have helped retailers, brands, and manufacturers like J. Crew realize the value of having a raw materials strategy, supported by a strong technology infrastructure. We are excited to share our next generation solutions with the industry at this show.”

Advantages for Retailers

Benefits realized by companies using FB Fabric & Trim include:

Aggregate Raw Materials – Sourcing managers can aggregate raw materials across brands, divisions and categories to consolidate price points and to gain critical visibility, economies of scale and reduced component development; Cut Decision-Making Time – A web-based central repository of both data and communication eliminates faxing, emailing, miscommunication, version-control issues and wait time, thereby improving decision making; Improve Quality Control – FB Fabric & Trim facilitates the sharing of physical standards, testing results, and approval statuses with mills, agents, and dye houses; Streamline Sampling – FB Fabric & Trim enables retailers to request and track samples and swatches online through a centralized ‘Request Center’;

Reduce Research and Sourcing Timeframes – Retailers can minimize component duplication and reduce SKU’s of fabric in pre-production by using the FB Fabric & Trim Library; Decrease Travel Time and Expenses – FB Fabric & Trim reduces the need for extensive sourcing or face-to-face troubleshooting meetings.

About Freeborders

Freeborders (www.freeborders.com) provides Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software and services to leading retailers and their suppliers, enabling brands to more effectively manage the increasing complexity of their supply chains. Freeborders solutions help drive profitable revenue growth, speed products to market, improve inventory management, and maintain control, consistency and quality.

Freeborders software and services are used by over 350 brands and retailers globally, including Dillard`s, Coach, INVISTA, DuPont, Gap, J. Crew, L.L. Bean, Lands’ End, Liz Claiborne, Saks, Target and Williams-Sonoma. Freeborders is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia.


business finance, Gap, Procter & Gamble, Product lifecycle, Target Corporation