In the first of a series of blogs examining the importance of NPI and PLM optimization to the end-to-end supply chain and operations ecosystem, Simon Knowles and Dorothea Grimes-Farrow look at the challenges faced by executives as they endeavor to connect today’s supply chain priorities to new product introduction and product lifecycle management.
A new commercial battlefield
Getting the right product/solution/service to market to the customers at the right time, the way they want it delivered, has become the new commercial battlefield for competitive advantage. Accelerating product time-to-market, product lifecycle management and supply chain optimization is key to this success.
A meter from the finish line you visualize victory and, certain of a win, push yourself and your team hard. And why not? You’ve prepared for every step in the path to success within your control. However, despite your best efforts, you fall short of success. The loss feels bad, but worse still, you’ve been here before.
Many senior executives and supply chain leaders live in this paradigm every day, and it intensifies during the quarter-end cycle. Supply chains are complex, but the C-suite has opportunities to overcome these complexities. One solution resides in how organizations proactively and aggressively align new product introduction (NPI), product lifecycle management (PLM), sales and operations planning (S&OP) and data analytics to be part of the supply chain ecosystem. Correctly aligned, supply chain can influence downstream victories – cost, delivery, quality and time-to-market. To be of maximum value, NPI and PLM must be optimized and interconnected to the supply chain to achieve highly effective and efficient procurement, operations and logistics practices. This requires cross-functional leadership and stakeholder alignment. It isn’t easy, but success is well within the C-suite’s grasp.
Keeping pace with a rapidly changing world
Creating greater business value through the implementation of supply chain initiatives is not new thinking. Organizations continuously pursue the best mature practices in tangent with smart technology, to build cost-effective operations. Some organizations are into their third, fourth, or fifth round of programs, re-engineered processes, and supplier and contract manufacturer strategies. In return, they have realized incremental improvements. Nevertheless, incremental catch-up does not keep pace with the monumental shifts across all industries that have necessitated organizations to fast track their existing efforts and look to new and different solutions to accelerate business value.
Smart factories, cloud services, digitization, big data, omnichannel and other movements give rise to supply chain innovation. They are also giving the C-suite cause for concern as they understand and adapt to these disruptors. But where do executives go from here to make supply chain operations a business differentiator? When you’ve re-engineered the supply chain, upskilled the talent pool, championed Six Sigma, adopted lean, and managed with data and metrics, what else must you do to establish competitive priorities that satisfy internal and external customers? The answer is to link these competitive priorities to the supply chain and the upstream processes that affect supply chain capabilities the most and specifically, to link supply chain priorities to NPI and PLM. That is how executives make maximum gains and establish a robust, sustainable advantage.
NPI and PLM are far more than effective processes for rolling out and sustaining new products or services. Together, they can become a competitive differentiator because every function in the enterprise has visibility to the best opportunities to affect cost, margin, time-to-market and the customer experience. Market trends, industry data, and customer purchasing behaviors are interwoven into NPI and PLM decisions. Cross-functional teams that practice aligned NPI and PLM disciplines are more likely to make decisions in line with larger business enterprise objectives and customers’ needs and wants. In effect, NPI and PLM give leadership the ability to “see around corners,” and deliver a differentiated customer experience.
In our next article, we will look at the way in which customer demand is creating an imperative to optimize alignment, synchronization and responsiveness across a mature supply chain.
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Other articles in the NPI/PLM series:
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Maine Pointe is a global supply chain and operations consulting firm trusted by many chief executives and private equity firms to drive compelling economic returns for their companies. We achieve this by delivering accelerated, sustainable improvements in EBITDA, cash and growth across their procurement, logistics and operations. Our hands-on implementation experts work with executives and their teams to rapidly break through functional silos and transform the buy-make-move-fulfill supply chain to deliver the greatest value to customers and investors at the lowest cost to business. We call this Total Value Optimization (TVO)™.
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