Consumer electronics is an industry driven by innovation, where new product development (NPD) is at the center of business growth. While many consumer-based products demand innovation, a consumer electronics brand’s survival rests on their ability to innovate quickly and to move technology in the appropriate direction based on consumer interest and market trends.
Each consumer electronic brand has a different definition of innovation and how that translates into actions for the brand. Variables such as company size and scope can factor into how an individual company measures innovation. It could be defined as the ability to adapt quickly to in-market changes, for example or be measured by positioning as a trend-setter. For others, innovation may not be directly tied to new tech or being first to market, it could be the ability to scale up or introduce an attractive product missing from the marketplace.
Brands within the consumer electronics space must get many variables right to be successful, including user experience, style, brand imaging, marketing and price points. With so many elements going into even a single product, you need a product lifecycle management (PLM) system that supports new product innovation (NPI) and NPD.
Centric PLM™ helps consumer electronics brands maintain sales data, communications, design files and up-to-date supply chain information all within one streamlined, comprehensive platform. Read more to discover the multiple ways Centric PLM helps support innovation for business growth.
1. Develop products within one single source of truth
NPI and NPD is all about change and requires the input of a variety of teams, from technical staff to designers to marketers. This typically means many teams are working with data at the same time but performing a number of different tasks.
With such flux and so many moving parts, it’s easy for inaccuracies and lost data. This is where a PLM becomes the critical tool for storing and presenting unified and comprehensive data that is accessible to all teams.
Within a PLM solution you can do everything from financial range planning to spot gaps in product assortments, utilize competitor analysis and commit to specific product developments and enhancements. This can all be managed seamlessly within one place with the same set of data information.
As teams continue to work remotely, with many spread out internationally, a PLM drives digital collaboration by providing a centralized hub linking information, business systems and people to one actionable version of the truth.
Information is updated in real time so data is continuously accurate and current no matter who is accessing it from where. This cloud-based digital collaboration tool replaces thousands of spreadsheets.
2. Effectively manage consumer-led products
When talking about consumer electronics, it’s not motherboards and batteries, it’s consumer-focused goods driven by trends in style and fashion. Even the most advanced technology needs to have some design elements in order to connect and inspire people to want to use it. The iPhone is one of the most famous examples of this fact. While it may get all the credit for revolutionizing digital communication technology, Nokia actually introduced the first smartphone. It didn’t feature the design, usability and marketing elements of the iPhone and didn’t become widely popular with a mass consumer market. Far from being solely utilitarian, consumer electronics must address both function and form.
All engineering-focused PLMs can manage bill of materials (BOMs) and streamline workflows. But that’s taking a strictly utilitarian focus on development. Centric PLM allows you to manage design aspects much more intuitively. For example, typically, if you manufacture one type of headphone in five colors, with other PLMs, you would need to have five different headphone listings, even though the only difference is the color. Centric PLM was designed to account for these variables, here you only need one product listing with a color variation option. This allows for easier management of vast quantities of SKUs, color swatch accuracy and easier product overview visibility.
3. Easily locate opportunities with product assortment visibility
A comprehensive PLM gives you the visibility to at-a-glance review your entire product assortment, with all related information easily accessible in just a click. This macro view allows you to better understand your product mix and which areas are in need of further development or investment. Such a grasp of your product landscape empowers NPD, now having the ability to literally see opportunities for line extensions, innovation expansion (products in same categories with added benefits or features) and the refinement of current products either for new markets or to retarget an existing customer base. This information can also inspire the elusive disruptive innovation, reaching unmet needs due to the insight provided by a PLM solution.
4. Capture sales and market data
Innovation is only one half of the NPD equation. For every new product introduced to market, there is a story about what happens on the other side of this launch. Understanding how a product performs is key to fine tuning and improving future innovations. Asking questions such as “did our new products cannibalize top line performers?” and “what did this innovation cost us to bring to market?” are essential parts of this process. Having easy access to accurate data in your PLM provides a pathway to next steps. This data will help provide the context for sales and to determine if NPD is a driver or money maker. The data within PLM can help inform what your next innovation will be, based on performance numbers, cost of products sold and revenue produced. Will you add an extra trim to your Bluetooth speaker or upgrade a headphone line by offering it in a metallic colourway? Your PLM historic data will provide the direction.
Innovation and NPD isn’t just about lightbulb “eureka” moments. Strategic innovation that’s designed to empower portfolio growth uses a host of accurate data to inform next steps. When assessing your data capabilities, it’s important to ask yourself some basic questions. Do you use analytical insights to help decide where to innovate? Are you able to accurately measure innovation? Centric PLM & QMS for Consumer Electronics can help you to not only be more innovative, but strategically target your NPD for maximum growth.