- 5 October 2016
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New product development can be a challenging and multifaceted process, but it can also be necessary to keep a business growing and meet a changing customer demand. In order to thrive, a business must be competitive. And to remain competitive, it must not only keep up with new advancements but innovate to set itself apart from the herd. An ERP system can help streamline new product development and take some of the burden off of a business working to remain competitive in the market.
In the first stage of product development, a business must collect ideas from its customers, competitors, and stakeholders. Strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities, and competitors are reviewed and help to influence design.
One very important benefit of an ERP system is its ability to collect and store product failures, as well as successes. This information can provide critical insight into past trends and help innovators conceptualize product designs that don’t incorporate past mistakes.
Once the concepts have been laid out for consideration, the next step in the process is vetting them for viability and success. Opinions come in, any existing product regulations are reviewed, manufacturing costs are reconciled, technology challenges are considered, return on investment is calculated, and consumer opinions are collected.
An ERP system provides the analytical tools to help businesses produce the information necessary to check with regulatory bodies. Because product development is a fluid process, the ability to pull accurate and tailored data is essential to providing information in a variety of formats.
Once a new product is selected, the design and manufacturing must be planned out and performed. Development requires a great many decisions to be made, ranging from which vendors and materials are chosen, to whether the product should be produced in bulk.
For comparison purposes, an ERP system can store and produce a list of suppliers and costs for the same or similar materials to help a business understand how to best reduce costs. Product development often comprises multiple iterations and various prototypes before the product is ready for the market. The data provided by an integrated ERP system can help companies hone their product development process and cut down on the trial and error by using data from prior iterations and products to choose the best-fit solution earlier on in the development process, helping reduce time to market.
Advertising and Sales
Finally, the promotion begins and the product hits the market. The research completed at the beginning of the product development lifecycle helps determine when, where, and how to launch the product for the best chance at success.
ERP can provide insight into historical product launches, and reveal the most successful trends in the scale of production, product pricing, and marketing campaigns.
Globalization has brought more competitors to the table, regulations have become more stringent in recent years, and the diversity of manufacturers and suppliers has exploded. All of these changes have made product innovation and development even more difficult in recent years. The ability to bring some transparency to the process can greatly decrease the time to market and make a positive impact on product profitability. An ERP system can help support and manage the product development lifecycle by integrating all elements of the process and providing quick and easy access to historical data and future projections, helping businesses build competitive products, and thrive.