It’s not easy being a Consumer Products company, especially during the hectic push to meet back-to-school and holiday shipping schedules. Consumer Products businesses must sense market trends and adeptly respond with new products, often getting them to customers within tight delivery windows. Products have to be thoroughly vetted for proper performance, safety and sustainability. On top of these concerns, product marketing, packaging, and labeling must effectively attract the consumer’s attention and provide helpful instructions, warranty information, and other details.
CIMdata, the independent global management consulting firm, explored some of these issues as they pertain to product lifecycle management (PLM) in its new commentary, “Getting Your Product Consumer Ready.” The commentary describes how Consumer Products companies can benefit from leveraging PLM beyond core design and manufacturing functions. The firm advocates for PLM’s extension into planning, packaging, artwork management, and labeling.
“CIMdata believes that taking a holistic perspective of the product lifecycle offers the biggest benefits for manufacturers trying to deliver complex consumer products to the market,” the commentary states. “While focusing on product and manufacturing processes is critical, efforts invested in upstream and downstream activities like line planning, packaging, artwork, and labeling can turn a loser into a winner and more importantly, help companies select and develop winning products from the start.”
In the commentary, CIMdata discusses how PTC’s FlexPLM solution supports end-to-end management of the product information lifecycle. Following are a few highlights.
Product portfolio and line planning: Consumer Products companies have an opportunity to expand their use of PLM into critical merchandise and line planning activities. By doing so, they can fill visibility gaps between product designers and engineers and their colleagues in marketing, brand/category management, and other business planning functions. When there is a common PLM platform, these teams no longer have to rely on manual communications and ad-hoc status updates to share important plans and product information. “The integration of a solution that can capture product planning and share that information with product development, manufacturing, and distribution can shorten time to market, ensure the right products get to market, and reduce costs,” CIMdata says.
Post-manufacturing operations: Artwork management, packaging, and labeling may be considered “post-manufacturing operations” by many Consumer Products companies, but in fact, they need to be intricately connected to planning, product design, and manufacturing processes throughout the product lifecycle. If they are not, then change management becomes even more time consuming and complex. For example, CIMdata describes the different roles and levels of Consumer Products packaging. Packaging presents myriad specifications to manage within PLM, all of which must tie back to the original product design as well as to customer requirements, such as compatibility with automated pick-and-place systems. “If data and processes are disconnected, it is difficult to assess the impact of change which can lead to rework, launch delays, and reduce company profitability,” the commentary says. One way PTC’s FlexPLM addresses these complexities is by accommodating a stock keeping unit bill of materials (SKBOM). “This SKBOM contains the product as an item and includes all the information necessary to get the product to market — the packaging material, artwork, instructions, as well as carton, case, and pallet information,” CIMdata says.
CIMdata’s body of PLM research indicates the following business improvements are possible through PLM implementation:
Businesses that embrace a holistic PLM strategy are more likely to achieve results on the higher end of these ranges, according to CIMdata. To read the full commentary, click HERE.