Footwear firm Brown Shoe Company Inc has taken steps to improve collaboration and visibility across its global product development process by implementing a new product lifecycle management (PLM) platform.

FlexPLM from PTC, the Product Development Company, should also help the company manage costs and reduce development times.

Brown Shoe operates more than 1,100 Famous Footwear stores and also markets brands such as Naturalizer, Dr Scholl's, Via Spiga and Etienne Aigner.

Based on PTC's Windchill technology, FlexPLM is a web-based solution that streamlines communication, tracks milestones, pre-empts performance bottlenecks, and provides instant visibility throughout the product development cycle.

Brown Shoe's implementation follows an analysis by its product development team across the US and China.

They looked at the company's systems and how its global supply chain could become more streamlined, efficient and disciplined, while also cutting costs.

Brown Shoe uses FlexPLM to connect the development of its line calendar, the structure of line planning/sample planning, and the management of product specifications in one system.

It also offers the company critical visibility for planning and budgeting.

"This solution is designed to create a more cohesive product development process, which is important to managing our business well," said Brown Shoe's senior vice president-product and sourcing, Dan Friedman.

"It is still up to our teams to put in the work, but we expect FlexPLM to make it easier for product teams to speed up the development process, obtain visibility at every step and streamline one system for planning."