Companies face new complexity in bringing products to market. Getting things right early on makes things simpler.
In conversations with manufacturing and engineering customers over the last few years, speeding up products’ path to market has become a recurring theme.
At the same time, customers want innovation and differentiated products. Manufacturers have to cope with unprecedented complexity when designing and sourcing products while seeking cost efficiencies.
Arriving at the platform
An important step to achieve these goals is to develop a product platform approach to the early stage of product development.
Put simply, it’s always quicker and more efficient to modify an existing design than to start from scratch. That’s why many products share up to 80% of their components with previous versions or other variants of the same product.
The automotive industry is leading this approach – and many companies are exploring the idea.
We recently worked with HELLA, the German maker of lights, electronics and other auto parts. HELLA wanted better coordination of its early-phase product development.
The company had already run SAP systems for 12 years and decided to add the SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) application.
SAP PLM is designed to keep product data up to date and consistent across the product engineering process. It gives people across the company consistent, high-quality information from the first idea to product delivery.
As a result, HELLA has standardized key design processes across its businesses and locations.
HELLA’s various departments in different countries were able to view consistent images of early-stage developments to create, track, synchronize and exchange product details.
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This has increased collaboration and coordination between development groups in different countries that previously worked separately from each other.
The result was that HELLA was better able to design and devise the complex product structures required for dealer options packages in the automotive industry.
Integrating product development helps reduce development times, cut costs and enable smoother production. It leads to shorter change cycles, better products and differentiated products that build the company’s brand.
What are the challenges your company faces when it comes to product development and how can we help?