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Ascena Retail Group get to the source with unified PLM


Mahwah, N.J. – For Ascena Retail Group, managing a portfolio of disparate brands that includes DressBarn, Maurices, Lane Bryant, Justice and Catherines is a complex undertaking. One area where Ascena needs to streamline operations for maximum efficiency is product lifecycle management (PLM).

“Although it was a daunting challenge to eliminate legacy processes, systems and tools, the company made a strategic decision to handle the (PLM) challenge not just an IT issue, but as a critical component of our business strategy,” said Hannah C. Schmitz, director of sourcing systems, Ascena, in an exclusive interview with Chain Store Age.

To create a single version of the truth” across the entire product lifecycle, Ascena brought in TradeStone Software to implement a single, collaborative platform. The platform enabled collaboration across Ascena’s entire supply chain including its vendors, factory, brands and direct sourcing arm.

Even more importantly, Ascena leadership leveraged a standard technical implementation methodology as the vehicle to create a new culture focused on the core values of community, and a standard set of partnership principles representing a progressive approach to project implementations.

“The implementation project had classic change management overtones that required buy-in from several key stakeholders within Ascena,” commented Schmitz.

According to Schmitz, these stakeholders included brand leaders, IT and the global supplier community. All quickly bought in based on improved PLM efficiencies and capabilities.

Without constraints of an aggressive timeline, TradeStone was able to implement a single platform, designed to encompass aspects of product design, product development, collaborative sourcing, production, quality management, supplier management, order management, logistics, finance and business intelligence.

With TradeStone in place, Ascena leadership now has a single point of visibility into the entire sourcing operation across all brands. Prior to TradeStone, a single task could have required an email search, multiple downloads of various PDFs and data exports from Excel spreadsheets, and this process would need to be repeated multiple times. Now, Ascena has a scalable global sourcing model poised for future growth, rather than operating a separate sourcing department within each brand,

“The efficiency gains and time savings that TradeStone provided have allowed us to focus on more value-added activities and services,” said Schmitz.

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