By centralising all of its pre-production information into one collaborative system, RG Barry Corporation - one of the world's largest manufacturers and marketers of slippers and casual footwear - has substantially improved its time-to-market. The company says it is now looking to reduce its overall cycle time by up to 50 per cent.

With about 2,000 employees and more than a dozen office, manufacturing and distribution locations globally, RG Barry has a 40 per cent share of the US slipper market with brand names including Dearfoams, EZfeet, Mushrooms Slippers, Snug Treds and the licensed Liz Claiborne label. It also sells its products also in Canada, Mexico, Europe and South America.

Don Van Steyn, RG Barry vice president-CIO, said that prior to implementing the product development, engineering and workflow management solutions from Justwin Technologies, "we had information in so many different formats and locations that it was difficult for our teams to efficiently work together.

"Now, with all of our design images, materials information, costing, assembly and packaging instructions in one integrated system, we have created a much more collaborative and smoothly flowing environment.

"By focusing our initial Justwin implementation within a defined workgroup and a specific product line, we were able to accurately track its benefit and ROI. We are now expanding the system to include all involved pre-production associates company-wide. We soon will begin utilising the web-enabled components of the system to make pertinent information accessible to our locations in Europe, Mexico and China," he said.

Justwin Technologies specialises in Collaborative Product Commerce (CPC) solutions for the apparel, footwear, textile and fast-moving consumer goods industries. For Tommy Bray, RG Barry vice president-product, one of the system's key strengths was its workflow management capability.

"We utilise these tools to automatically track and manage the major milestones in our product development process, all the way from concept to MRP. The change really has paid off. We have seen substantial improvement in our time-to-market. We expect that with full implementation we will reduce our overall cycle time by up to 50 per cent," he said.

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