Customers today can be fickle. Our attention spans—conditioned by years of bite-size news, messages, video clips, and posts—are notoriously short. It’s both a boon and a hazard to manufacturers of consumer goods that the power of social media can make trends viral in the blink of an eye—and discards them just as quickly. Today’s hot product is tomorrow’s “over it” post, and brands have to be quick to respond to stay relevant.
That’s why manufacturers with hopes of competing in the global marketplace must be able to communicate, design, and produce faster than ever before. They have to deliver not just at the speed of today’s global business, but at the pace of social media.
Of course, most manufacturers aren’t merely watching cultural trends go past and hoping to jump on the merry-go-round, they’re also being bombarded with opinions, feedback, criticism, kudos, and requests for help. Their customers around the world are demanding safe, high-quality, and timely products. And most manufacturers are handling all of that while also dealing with a multitude of internal, disconnected systems. It’s an ever-increasing challenge to imagine, design, and deliver innovative consumer goods, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.
The Communication Challenge
Manufacturers don’t typically establish their operations with a fully planned, cohesive network of information. Instead, they tend to grow from tiny operations, adding on software systems and databases of information as necessary to house a litany of ideas, specifications, CAD models, and more. It’s an organic means of growing a business that tends to result in siloed information in a variety of disconnected systems—and difficulty in maintaining a single, shared vision.
Disconnected islands of information make it difficult to design and manufacture products quickly, much less to be agile enough to design and produce a product based on customer feedback. But that’s where a single, integrated platform can be a manufacturer’s game-changer.
The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Solution
A product lifecycle management (PLM) platform can form the basis of a manufacturer’s operations. With multiple components seamlessly integrated together—everything from 3D CAD software, project management, simulation, and manufacturing—you can sustain and preserve all of your operational data in one place. The “single source of truth” allows you to exchange data with such widely flung and disparate groups as R&D, production, procurement, marketing, and even customers.
In fact, PLM leader, Dassault Systèmes has developed My Product Portfolio, a unique solution designed for consumer goods companies based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This solution takes advantage of cloud-based technology to provide a solution for global manufacturers. The solution gives product managers the ability to track customer requests (features) from inception through production—providing an unparalleled opportunity for follow-through and customer satisfaction. Internal teams can engage customers, gather insights, conduct user studies and product tests—then store the information where it can be accessed by any party involved in the product lifecycle. The same is true for design data, marketing information, production schedules, and more. An integrated PLM platform isn’t merely one source of truth, it’s also one source for communication, innovation, and collaboration.
The Bottom-Line Benefits
A solution like My Product Portfolio makes it easy for small and medium retail goods manufacturers to collaborate and produce with the resources of much larger corporations. It provides a collaborative cloud-based system that ensures better communication between all stakeholders. A project management solution for tracking product enhancements and changes throughout the manufacturing process. More efficient engineering and simulation tools reduce the need for physical prototypes. Shortening development and production time. All of these tools improve business processes to save money and accelerate new product time-to-market. No longer do manufacturers have to look at “right, fast, and cheap” and only choose two. With the right tools, they can make the product right for the customer, deliver it fast—at the speed of cultural trends and social media—and save money through collaboration and increased communication.