Analysts said the move reflects the increasing trend towards collaborative PLM implementations - a key strategic investment for improving business processes in manufacturing supply chains.
The Teamcenter software, from IT services company EDS, will link buyers, designers and manufacturing partners in a web-based collaboration to reduce the time delay in getting goods on the market which is key to boosting profits, said Janet Biggs, director of trading at New Look.
"To stay ahead in the highly competitive and cost-sensitive fashion market, we needed to reduce the time it takes us to get an idea from the design stage into stores through a complex supply chain," she said.
The PLM software will allow users to send and receive design data and information on production schedules and critical events in an interactive environment. The system will manage the workflow from the design sketch through to the manufactured item. As a result, the time for a design to go from initial sketch to finished item, excluding shipping times, will be reduced by up to 30%.
"The prototype proved our estimates in terms of time savings and potential business benefits," Biggs said. "Following the full implementation of Teamcenter, we are confident of an annual increase in sales of 6%, or an additional £13m in profits, as a direct result of reducing stock shortfalls and overruns."
Michael Burkett, analyst at AMR Research, said collaboration has become an increasingly important strategic initiative for manufacturers and retailers.
"New product development is inherently collaborative, compared to transactional processes, such as financial or material management," he said. "It definitely puts collaborative PLM applications on the list of strategic investments to improve business."
The Teamcenter system will eventually provide online collaboration facilities to about 320 users, including up to 250 suppliers worldwide.