It's critical to bring in suppliers to the design stages for effective product innovation.

3 things to remember about product innovation

 
It’s clear that the supply chains of today have to be more agile and efficient in order to effectively manage demand and industry trends. To help with that, some are turning to technology and analytics tools. The resulting integration of organizational partners is a product innovation platform that allows enterprises to make better products that conform to the demands of their consumers.

The need to be more efficient and adapt more quickly to changing regulatory environments and consumer desires necessitates a revision of current product innovation strategies. Companies that choose to implement product innovation platforms – which allow large companies to shift supply chain boundaries and derive design input from their suppliers themselves – can create better products faster, therefore taking advantage of everything their supply chains have to offer.

Let’s take a look at how creating new strategies for product innovation is critical:

1. Companies in different industries finding inspiration in one another

Just because two separate industries have next to nothing to do with each other doesn’t mean that they can’t learn by watching each other function. For instance, consumers within the health care industry have begun to research their options more, which is more than likely a lesson learned from their dealings with retailers. In fact, PwC’s Health Research Institute found that 30 percent of American adults called different doctors and asked about pricing in 2015.

As consumers take the lessons learned from dealing with retailers to their interactions with health care providers, so too should those health care companies be taking a leaf out of the retail playbook. They need to innovate quickly and shift with changing consumer expectations – just like consumer product companies. It’s an example of how strategic, forward-thinking innovations can come about by looking at what different industries are doing, especially as challenges continue to exist across multiple industries.

Companies need to implement successful innovation models to keep up with shortening lifecycles.Companies need to implement successful innovation models to keep up with shortening lifecycles.

 

2. The importance of consumer-led decision-making

Digital transformation is the name of the game for many industries now, and as companies seek to assess challenges relating to their supply chains, they’re turning to technology to help them more accurately and quickly meet the needs of their customer bases. However, according to Business2Community contributor Randall Beard, only around 25 percent of new product concepts address consumer desires – which means that 75 percent of them aren’t taking customer needs into account.

Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and powerful when it comes to what they want out of the companies they interact with – so enterprises need to be aware of how their customers’ demands impact their operations, and make decisions accordingly.

“2017 will be a year of action for many companies, as they address the realities of a fast-moving customer-led and digital-centric market,” Cliff Condon, chief research and product officer at Forrester, explained in a recent report. “Empowered customers are forcing the hand of virtually every industry. And so the question for most companies and business leaders is not if they will respond to these market dynamics, but when and how. Inaction presents immediate revenue risk – or much worse – a threat to a company’s existence.”

3. Get products to market faster

In the fast-paced modern world, companies should not only make decisions based on what their customers need and pay attention to digital trends that would help them achieve their innovation goals, but they have to put products on the market in record time, as well.

Data Informed contributor David Kung noted that devising a successful innovation model – or product innovation platform – is a key step for companies that want to meet the time constraints of shortening product lifecycles.

“The ability to repeat a successful innovation model – the holy grail of new product development – confers upon enterprise organizations an important additional benefit: lasting competitive advantage,” Kung wrote.

However, more collaboration is necessary between departments within a business and also between supply chain partners. Integrating suppliers and manufacturers with product innovation strategies is clearly the first step.

For more information about product innovation and how to effectively manage lifecycles in order to get the most out of your supply chain – not to mention create products that your customers actually want and get them to market in time to meet that demand – please check out our webinar on the convergence of product lifecycle management and supply chain management below. Then, get in touch with the experts at Inspirage today.

Mark Whitson

Key Contributor: Mark Whitson

Mark Whitson is a Senior Solution Architect at Inspirage, helping clients achieve business excellence via technology and business process improvement. Mark's primary expertise and focus is designing and delivering enterprise Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions across a broad array of industries/verticals.