For food and beverage manufacturers, developing a brand once followed a predictable path. A local or regional brand would be distributed on a small scale and then, those product lines would be slowly globalized across new regions and markets.
Today, manufacturers don't need to wait for this kind of brand maturity model to launch products at mass scale. The rapid availability of goods internationally, combined with online selling, means that brands can launch new products globally from the very start.
However, implementing an international product development and distribution strategy requires a level of data connectivity and collaboration that many manufacturers often don’t have in place.
Launching products in this manner requires the ability to harness institutional knowledge, historical data and social collaboration across products lines. As better internal data collaboration becomes the new norm, we explain how manufacturers can take their PLM use to the next level to promote faster product globalization.
Create and share a master list of product trials
Being able to reference historical product research data across the enterprise is critical for R&D teams to cut down on research time, improve testing times, and avoid repeat trials. Being able to immediately assess which types of tests may have already been performed in various labs or areas of the business in the past and analyze those for reformulation or reuse involves information sharing that can't be replicated on paper.
As manufacturers create a virtual team for product development, PLM systems provide one formulation library where previous tests can be stored by product, ingredient, team and more. With formulations in one place, manufacturers can then consider adding on social collaboration tools that enable anyone across the organization to directly ask product scientists questions about previous trials and outcomes.
Track more transparent lab procedures
Lab activities can be fiercely protected, but as R&D trials have more and more product requirements built into the testing process, the lines between lab research and production will start to blur. Eventually, manufacturers will keep lab outcomes in a PLM or cloud-based system to create a direct line from testing to manufacturing and ensure product requirements are met before testing begins.
Accepting changing security standards and cloud-based access
Similarly, security standards within and beyond the enterprise will slowly change with the need for more direct collaboration. Siloed department activities will be a thing of past as more and more people inside and outside of the organization have insight into each stage of the product life cycle.
Bringing R&D and lab teams onto standardized PLM systems requires data storage and use that can cross siloed systems. Providing product scientists with cloud-based access to product innovation enables other departments to proactively access the most current product data coming out of testing stages.
Implement on-demand ideation with social collaboration
Manufacturers are also starting to empower their employees to quickly find internal experts across all departments that can advise on products or new technologies uses. Finding an expert across a global corporation is an incredibly complicated and time-consuming process, but having a social collaboration network in place enables corporations to capture and share institutional knowledge on a massive scale.
Within PLM use, product management tools will move more and more towards embedded interactive, on-demand social platforms. PPM tools are already adopting some of these tools around areas of ideation and technology scouting by integrating social messaging and collaboration options directly within product specifications, or at least capturing those interactions alongside product data.