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Better PLM Integration Drives Better Business Performance (Webcast)

Tech-Clarity analyst Jim Brown joins Razorleaf's Director of Integrations and Development Derek Neiding to share the results of a recent study on PLM integration. The webcast will highlight the strategies, processes, and technologies Top Performers use to integrate PLM with design tools and other enterprise … [ read more ]

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Product Data Management Survey (Invitation)

How do leading companies manage product data and keep their design processes efficient? Please share your thoughts in our short Design Data Management Survey. Tech-Clarity invites you to join a research study on best practices in data management.  If you've already completed the survey  –> please … [ read more ]

New CAD Survey Invite

New CAD Survey (Invitation)

Please share your experience, thoughts, and lessons learned  in this new CAD survey. Have you migrated from 2D to 3D? Switched from one 3D CAD tool for another? Have you considered getting even more from your 3D models with model based design? Or have you stuck with the same approach? Do you work with … [ read more ]

New CAD Survey Invite

NPDI Survey (Invitation)

How do leading companies develop and launch successful new products? Please share your thoughts in our short New Product Development and Introduction Survey. Tech-Clarity invites you to join a research study on best practices in NPDI.  If you've already completed the survey  –> please share with a … [ read more ]

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Successful Products Start and End with Your Customer (infographic)

Tech-Clarity's Infographic, Successful Products Start and End with Your Customer  provides guidance to CPG companies. By embedding your customer in the middle of your product life cycle, your products will be more successful. The infographic, shows that by capturing insights obtained during the shopping … [ read more ]

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Are There Best Practices for Product Portfolio Management?

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A quick peek into some research on … how companies can take a practical path to improve PPM decision-making. I won’t keep you guessing (if you were), there are some VERY good best practices that have been developed by the new product development (NPD) community. The research consists of interviews with three distinguished manufacturers in different industries, and  they all concurred that the best approach is to start small with PPM and grow over time. The report, Improving Portfolio Decision-Making: Marrying PPM Best Practice Processes and Technology to Drive ROI, provides an overview on the value of PPM in addition to laying out a practical plan to leverage best practices tools and techniques to driver better portfolio decision-making and drive up company profitability.

The Research

During the research I had the pleasure of talking to several very knowledgeable PPM practitioners:

  • Don Kingsberry, Enterprise PMO, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (the man should really write a book, I told him I thought so)
  • Ian McKenna, IT Business Partner, Infineum (a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Shell)
  • The Manager of Quality Management, R&D, and Legal Applications for a medical device company (who unfortunately was not permitted to share his company name in the report, but I promise you I didn’t make him up!)

The Value of Improving PPM

The first thing I discussed with them was why they invested in PPM in the first place. I had done some past research in this area, including Issue in Focus: The ROI of Product Portfolio Management, and thought it was important to start with the business in mind. I was very impressed with a statement from the participant from the medical device company. He saw PPM as his responsibility to be a steward for his company. How many companies would love to have that form of dedication, work ethic, and contribution from their employees? He offered that “PPM processes and tools help us be good stewards of our business. It costs a lot of money to develop products and we should do what we can to select them right and do them right – because then we have more money to invest.”

Mr. Kingsberry of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) has implemented PPM multiple times, and shared experiences from GMCR as well as past experiences where he says PPM has a “profound effect” and “each time I have found the return to exceed our expectations.” He shared the history from one of his past experiences in a very large, well respected company saying “we cut millions of dollars of projects that were wasting time and we shouldn’t have been working on. We got clarity on that immediately and had a huge multi-million dollar return in 6 months. PPM software and process help bring visibility to those things.” What more can I say when people that have “been there and done that” are so positive on the value they received?

Taking the Practical Approach

One of the other key findings of the report is that too many companies overthink their PPM implementation. For some of you that know me, you might be falling out of your chairs! I am always a proponent of a well planned, well thought out implementation. And my PPM benchmark research at Aberdeen Group showed that business processes and metrics were even more crucial to best in class PPM performance than in any other enterprise technology I have researched. So what gives? People need to understand that the goal of PPM is to provide better information, in a standard way, so people can make better decisions about product investments. Too often, even in my own experience when I ran product management for a software company, I have had people want a scoring algorithm to magically spit out an answer. Don’t get me wrong, the metrics and analysis are very important. But they are just one input into a decision making process. As such, it’s important to find out what information and metrics the decision-makers will actually use and trust (think simple versus black box voodoo) to make decisions.

In fact, the companies interviewed used some really straight-forward metrics that helped them make decisions. ” We implemented fairly standard calculations, NPV (net present value) being an example,” explained Mr. McKenna of Infineum. Don Kingsberry also suggested that based on his experience companies need to strive for simplicity, particularly as organizations get bigger.

The other aspect of simplification was to start small and grow. I heard this from every company I spoke with, they all agreed that you shouldn’t do too much at once and go “big bang” with your PPM implementation. This is particularly true because companies are now integrating and extending PPM processes further into the front end of innovation and trying to develop a more integrated, streamlined innovation process. Now this is where I get back up on my soapbox about planning ahead. Just like with my “PLM Program Approach,” you can start small and build – but you had better have a plan for the bigger picture you are trying to achieve. You should also partner with a software company that can help provide the path to your larger objectives as you mature and improve. Don’t paint yourself into a corner, you want to make sure your initial investments and learnings serve as a foundation for even move value over time.

Implications for Manufacturers

So what does this mean to manufacturers? First, there is a lot of value to be had from PPM. Second, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are very good methodologies and metrics available, and software solutions that encompass and enable them. Third, don’t spend months trying to invent a process or algorithm that automatically makes portfolio decisions. That is not realistic and likely won’t be used. Take the time to provide good, trusted, simple information in a consistent way so decision-makers can compare “apples to apples” when reviewing portfolios.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on product portfolio management, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective. And please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PPM, PLM, and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.

Comments

  1. ITC INFOTECH says:

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    ITC Infotech is one of the leading PLM solutions providers globally, which enables companies and organizations to achieve its goals by solving its key business issues.

  2. ITC INFOTECH says:

    p, li { white-space: pre-wrap; }

    ITC Infotech is one of the leading PLM solutions providers globally, which enables companies and organizations to achieve its goals by solving its key business issues.

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