CAD/CAM specialist Assyst is intending to drive the development of new products though an "innovation partnership deal" with leading men's fashion manufacturer Ahlers AG.

Not only does it hope the arrangement will enable it to better gauge the requirements of apparel makers, but it also hopes in-plant trials will make its software as seamless as possible from development to production.

For its part, Ahlers intends to expand its use of technology "to achieve our strategic, vertically-oriented objectives," according to Uwe Dubbert, managing director of the Ahlers Zentralverwaltung GmbH (central administration). This includes shorter time to market, high quality and cost savings.

To make its processes as seamless as possible, Ahlers is equipping all its CAD workplaces with the latest release cad.assyst 2010. Ahlers is also testing the platform for structured laying and order optimisation.

Another aspect of the deal is the development of an expanded collection planning program, including complete integration with the Ahlers area management and ERP software systems. The collection development will be harmonised across Ahler's brands.

The next few months will also see the company's various PDM systems standardised, based on plm.assyst.

Ahlers will participate in the software development, and in return will receive new functions some time before they are introduced to the market.

The manufacturer will also test the Human Solutions products for its Pionier Workwear brand, using 3D body scanners and XFit mass customisation software to increase the efficiency of employee measurement during its corporatewear projects.