As global manufacturers sort through how to employ a unified product and service innovation approach to best succeed in today's global economy, we thought it an optimal time to field a survey to determine current product and service innovation methods, practices, and plans. My colleague Heather Ashton and I are in the midst of writing our report on the results, but thought we'd provide a preview.
How manufacturers design, engineer, manufacture, and service products has changed dramatically in recent years, driven by multiple factors such as the increase in complex, "smarter", connected products, unique, dynamic demand from customers, and highly competitive markets particularly in emerging economies. Our ongoing discussions show that no longer do manufacturers want to manage their ideas, product data, quality information, service processes, and customer information in unique siloes spread across the enterprise; they are considering how to unify this information to accelerate the response time to demand, reduce development cycles, and improve service and quality management.
Organizations are considering, according to our research, how to connect product lifecycle management information with other applications and data, and in particular integrate to engineering, manufacturing, and service to improve product quality. In fact, improved product quality is the top Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) initiative by a wide margin (of course manufacturers also want to accelerate time to market and improve product introduction success, as well as gain a greater control of the product development process). Faster response to product quality issues and customer complaints is also the top Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) initiative, reflecting the desire to improve customer responsiveness as well as the opportunity to tie service data more tightly with PLM. Almost 60% of respondents answered that quality is a top business driver of their PLM and SLM efforts.
3rd Platform technologies (Big data/analytics, mobile, social, cloud) are all perceived as critical to the success of PLM and SLM efforts to enhance collaboration and decision making - analytics is most important according to the survey results, and almost three-quarters of respondents have an in house social media network but most don't see this as a primary business initiative; perhaps because it is established part of the collaboration mechanism of the company.
These are interesting results that show a maturation of how manufacturers now approach, or aspire to approach, product and service innovation. We'll be publishing the full report on our survey by the end of June. Stay tuned! Once you have had a chance to digest our research, we'd love to engage with you to discuss the implications for your business.