Byline: Jeanette Hye

NEW YORK — In the first quarter of 1998, VF Corp. will implement new supply chain management technology to better respond to customer demand and optimize sales.
The new software will allow the company to precisely measure a wide range of manufacturing variables, such as availability and origin of raw materials, production location, delivery schedule and mode of transportation, in order to determine the best production methods for each of its products.
This effort goes hand in hand with VF’s micro-marketing plan, which is intended to analyze customers by spending patterns on a store-by-store basis and mold product mix to meet their demands.
Currently, VF’s mixes are set on a regional or chainwide basis.
The micro-marketing initiative involves the gathering of customer transaction data through point-of-sale systems in stores.
VF, which is currently testing the program with one mass-market regional chain, is planning to roll the program out to other retail customers in 1998.
The supply chain management software, from i2 Technologies in Irving, Tex., will put the Wyomissing, Pa.-based VF in more of a Quick Response mode, enabling the company to meet its micro-marketing goals, said Tom Payne, president of VF Services, a division responsible for providing human resources, technology and transportation services.
“In order to realize the vision of our marketing team, we need to have a responsive and reactive supply chain,” said Payne. “This will help us maximize [productivity] in our facilities and maximize customer service.”
VF, which produces Lee, Wrangler, Jantzen, Healthtex and other apparel brands, will begin rolling out the supply chain management software to its Nashville-based Red Kap Industries workwear division in the first quarter of 1998.
Implementation in the company’s jeanswear and intimates divisions will follow soon after.
Both the supply chain management system and the micro-marketing initiative are part of VF’s companywide reengineering effort, which it dubbed Market Response, and which is now in its fourth year.
The program’s three main objectives: continuous merchandising, flexible and modular manufacturing and optimum product flow replenishment.

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