PTC has expanded its product lifecycle management solution to help companies in the retail, apparel and footwear industries create product specifications faster and reduce cycle time.

The latest release, FlexPLM 9.0, is said to improve collaboration across merchandising, design and sourcing departments, as well as with supply chain partners.
FlexPLM was originally designed to help connect merchandising and design with product development and sourcing in order to realise greater value in their implementation. 

FlexPLM 9.0 now brings together designers, merchandisers, planners, suppliers and buyers early in the product development process so that more products can be efficiently created and quickly delivered to the market.

Design enhancements include integration with Adobe Illustrator, faster creation of product specifications, and advanced capabilities for financial, creative, sourcing and material planning.

A new feature also enables designers to create multiple concept products for placeholders in the line plan and then adopt into seasonal lines when appropriate
On the sourcing side, designers can now create an enhanced Request for Quote (RFQ), send it to one or more suppliers, and review quotes from multiple sources.

They can also request samples for multiple products and sources at the same time, and work off-line with suppliers located in countries that may not have reliable Internet access.