Retailers have their sights set on shortening time to market and improving data access and visibility across their organizations. Those issues rose to the top repeatedly in a series of live polls conducted at PTC’s LiveWorx 2017 Technology Conference & Marketplace, held this past May in Boston.
A sampling of more than 100 retail track attendees revealed that lengthy development cycle times and poor data access/visibility are the top two areas for improvement based on companies’ 2017 business priorities. In third place was a need to address excessive time spent on managing data vs. goals.
Internet of Things-enabled technology, such as the latest generation of PLM software, is a means to tackle some of these challenges. “IoT is PLM,” said Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of PTC, in his LiveWorx opening address. “There are so many possibilities with this new generation of PLM.”
Poll participants ranked these factors as the top potential advantages of using IoT-enabled solutions:
#1: Easier access to data/better reporting and analytics
#2: Better supply chain connectivity/visibility
#3: Deeper customer insights in planning and product creation stage
Attending the LiveWorx retail breakout sessions were not only retailers but also wholesalers, brands, manufacturers and technology providers. Most poll respondents said they feel their product development department/process has the most to gain from better collaboration and communication. The merchandising function also was seen as ripe to reap benefits in this area, followed by sourcing.
The speed-to-market issue was markedly evident in poll participants’ feedback regarding virtual prototyping. The No. 1 motivating reason they gave for potentially using such technology? Reducing concept-to-consumer cycle time. The No. 2 driver was the need for more collaborative and interactive new product development processes, followed by reducing materials costs.
In the live polling, attendees said the top-ranked barrier to implementing virtual prototyping was lack of available employees with the required skills. As their second-greatest hurdle, they pointed to concerns over internal change management adherence.
In his keynote address, Heppelmann described how augmented reality and virtual reality will increasingly “transcend the limits of distance, time and scale” for more companies. “What’s happening at this frontier of innovation, where physical meets digital, creates amazing opportunities,” he said.
For more highlights from our LiveWorx retail breakout sessions, read our full event coverage HERE.