Woolworths, the Cape Town, South Africa-based retail group, is to roll out Geac's QuestPLM (product lifecycle management) solution across its entire clothing offering. 

The US$750,000 investment is expected to increase the speed to market of clothing and footwear products that will be available throughout Woolworths' 200+ stores throughout South Africa and approximately 50+ franchise stores in other parts of Africa and the Middle East.

This will be the second phase of Woolworths' QuestPLM deployment; the software is already being used by Woolworth's women's wear department.

The solution from Geac RunTime, a division of Geac that specialises in IT solutions for the apparel and footwear industry, is designed to ensure that confirmed new products are automatically transferred into Woolworths' sales and inventory system. Previously this had to be done manually, often delaying the launch of new collections.

Woolworths will also work with Geac to integrate Quest PLM with Woolworths' pending implementation of the Retek RMS stock management system and Woolworths' existing Knowledge Management systems to enable Woolworths to improve workflow and streamline the product development lifecycle.

The QuestPLM solution will replace the previously manual product specification to suppliers, as well as enabling the measurement and tracking of key milestones in the product development critical path. 

The improvements to Woolworths' supply chain should mean shorter lead times, with improved availability of clothing, footwear and accessories products.

With 10 suppliers already linked into QuestPLM, Woolworths also is reviewing the rollout of the solution to impose common standards throughout its supply chain. 

Gerard Roux, head of IT for Woolworths, said the supply chain changes are expected to have a significant impact upon Woolworths' operations.

"As we implement the QuestPLM system we are enabling our buying teams to adopt a more standard, more manageable process with measurable results. QuestPLM enables transparency and sharing of product information in a standard way, improving things for us and our suppliers, most of whom are local and share a long relationship with Woolworths. "