COPY THAT: Early testing of high-speed pattern-digitizing technology yielded positive results for Bernard Chaus, which decided last week to implement the system. Digitizing errors dropped to just 2 percent from 20 percent and the time needed to digitize a pattern was squeezed to just 15 minutes from more than two hours, said Ed Eskew, vice president and cio at the $157 million Bernard Chaus. The New York-based women’s apparel manufacturer projects a 64 percent return on investment, he said. The system, called NScan from Nhega, features a wide-format digital scanner into which pattern pieces are fed, and software that creates electronic images of the pieces. The electronic images can be edited and easily shared among those collaborating on the design of a garment. Eskew said Chaus will deploy the system in a stand-alone fashion initially, but expects to integrate it with Chaus’ computer-assisted design system, called AccuMark, from Gerber Technologies. “I would expect post-integration to yield even better turnaround time for pattern scanning of the finished product,” he said. The traditional process for digitizing patterns is time consuming and requires highly skilled workers who painstakingly trace pattern pieces on a digitizing table. Eskew said productivity gains of the new system may lead to a reduced head count and labor savings.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE: Karen Austin, senior vice president and chief information officer of the former Kmart Holding Corp., will head up technology for the new Sears Holdings Corp. The company, which resulted from the merger of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck & Co., confirmed Austin’s expanded role as senior vice president and cio, effective March 25. A 21-year Kmart veteran, Austin was named cio three years ago. Garry Kelly, who came out of retirement to join Sears in October 2002, exited as senior vice president and cio on April 1.