J.Crew and its sister company Madewell have both implemented a new integrated inventory planning solution that allows the retailers to increase efficiency when creating new products and tap into comprehensive data insights to inform assortment and merchandising decisions.
The companies have deployed a new integration between PTC’s FlexPLM product lifecycle management (PLM) platform and the assortment management workspace MakerSights that allows them to synchronize product data with consumer insights.
The MakerSights solution enables product creation and merchandising teams to easily engage with consumers on in-development products to get feedback at every stage of the product-to-market process. Now those insights are combined in an automated workflow with product information from FlexPLM to give product and merchant teams a complete, up-to-date view of in-development assortments, helping the retailers avoid over-assortment and overproduction.
“Integrating MakerSights with FlexPLM has made testing new products with consumers and finalizing assortments a much more seamless and efficient process at Madewell,” said Grace Brooks, Divisional Merchandise Manager at Madewell in a statement. “We are now able to move from evaluating newness to finalizing an assortment more quickly and with far greater confidence because we’re making decisions based on product-specific feedback from our target consumers. This is a game-changer for us in terms of productivity, efficiency and scalability.”
Following the frequent stockouts that characterized the early days of the pandemic, surging inflation and continued supply chain snarls have now left many retailers in the unexpected position of having too much product.
After all the wild ups and downs these past two years, Madewell and J.Crew aren’t alone in taking a hard look at their inventory planning processes. “We’re hearing from a lot of our brand partners that it’s really hard to rely on historical sales data given how much disruption is going on,” said MakerSights Co-founder and CEO Dan Leahy in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “So we’ve focused on not just providing a point solution around better understanding your consumer, but also connecting those insights into other systems, specifically PLM systems, so all of it lives in one connected place and you have a single source of truth. Instead of two different systems around that product data, we’re working to create a single place where all the product data and details about the readiness of the line and the consumer appetite for the line can live together.”