GUESS?, bebe and Eddie Bauer have joined the Competitive Knowledge Apparel Advisory Board for the industry's first collaborative online community dedicated to streamlining operations and improving management decision-making.

Los Angeles-based Competitive Knowledge Inc. will collect and distribute shared data via its hosted Web site, ck4Apparel.com. The site will enable members to synchronize aggregated data, benchmark their performance, assess their competitive position, and review other critical information to make quick, informed decisions.

Members of the Competitive Knowledge Apparel Advisory Board include: Beth Breaux, director of Merchandising and Supply Chain Systems for Eddie Bauer; Timothy R. Millen, vice president of Information Services and Technology for bebe; and Bryan Timm, CIO at GUESS?.

Together with Competitive Knowledge, these major companies are establishing the framework for the Competitive Knowledge Apparel Community. Additional advisory board members will be appointed in the future.

"While some sites merely compile apparel news and data, only Competitive Knowledge is taking that next step to aggregate and broadcast industry-specific metrics," said Timm. "By integrating information such as compliance, trade and inventory performance, while maintaining anonymity, CKI will facilitate industry collaboration."

Competitive Knowledge's apparel site is the first of a series of industry and government gateways that will facilitate competitive collaboration via the Internet. Each gateway will feature both an industrywide site for business metrics and private secured company sites for proprietary information.

"Collaboration is the competitive model for the new economy," said Saeed Mohasseb, CEO and co-founder of Competitive Knowledge Inc. "By providing our members with a complete and timely overview of their particular industry, we are giving them the tools to continually gauge their performance and make smarter decisions."

Competitive Knowledge Inc. is an online service provider committed to increasing the competitiveness of vertical communities, one industry at a time. Consultants from the respected Anabasis-Straub organization formed the company in 1998.

CKI delivers timely, relevant, industry-specific, decision-ready knowledge -- at Internet speed -- to guide strategic progress for each of its member companies. CKI currently operates ck4Apparel.com and soon will launch ck4Justice.com to serve the state and federal court systems across the nation.