Cosmetic Software for New Product Development


New product development can cause major headaches for cosmetics and personal care retailers, brands and manufacturers, from sourcing delays to unforeseen ingredient compliance issues that send product teams back to the drawing board.  

Roadblocks usually occur because of a lack of visibility and transparency between internal teams and external suppliers or subcontractors. Products need to align with brand marketing, hit trends before they die out, be fully compliant across all selling regions and be appropriately priced to ensure a healthy product margin at a consumer-friendly price point. With many teams working on the same product, all with different goals in mind, no wonder it can be difficult to make it all come together in time!  

Many cosmetics and personal care companies are turning to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions to connect multiple teams with a real-time ‘single source of truth’ for product and go-to-market-related data.  

How to Reduce Cosmetic New Product Development Timelines and New Product Introduction with PLM Software

The cosmetics and personal care industry has shifted radically over the past few years. Same or next-day delivery of online purchases is the ‘new normal’, trends change in the blink of an eye and market forces are impacted by social media influencers. What’s more, with an ever-increasing wealth of industry-disrupting, online, direct-to-consumer brands, cosmetics and personal care consumers have the power to bypass companies who aren’t keeping pace and shop internationally with those who are offering the latest and greatest trend at the touch of a button. 

How can PLM help to overcome hold-ups in new product development and new product introduction?

When teams work in silos, product development suffers. For instance, if marketing and ideation teams come up with an original product concept, but don’t realize that a core ingredient is blacklisted in the target market until they send a brief to the formulation team, it’s a waste of everyone’s time and resources. As soon as the formulation team comes back with a query, the process has to start again.  

Because PLM solutions connect all teams in one digital location to work and share information together, this kind of mistake gets picked up instantly. Formulation teams can see product ideation happening in real time, and vice versa. Users can flag potential issues and work together collaboratively to solve problems and make decisions. Giving subcontractors access to live PLM data simplifies and streamlines the distribution of product and packaging specifications and makes it easier to track the progress of products in development, improving control and transparency to minimize delays and errors.  

Managing product formulas, compliance and portfolios in spreadsheets and disconnected enterprise systems is a recipe for confusion. Formulation management is particularly prone to version control errors, with formulas multiplying and ‘branching out’ into many versions for different regions and target consumer demographics. Makeup is a typical example, with multiple color palettes for regional markets.  

PLM makes it possible to store, track and update all of this complex product-related information in a format that is accessible, visual, up-to-date and immediately actionable. ‘Open platform’ cosmetics PLM solutions pull in data from other connected enterprise systems to build up a complete picture of products in development. PLM sets up a transparent flow of data between marketing, R&D, packaging development, regulatory affairs and quality departments to optimize products for specific target markets.  

Companies are having to consistently speed their new cosmetic product development and time to market in order to keep up with the industry influencing fast fashion race. Not only this, but with the emergence and prominence of e-commerce and social media expanding the accessibility of cosmetics and personal care products to a global scale, consumer preferences and expectations are changing too across the cosmetics and personal care space. 

Like all consumer goods industries, cosmetics and personal care is being hit by supply chain disruptions. When getting to market before the competition is just as important as developing the right product to begin with, bottlenecks can mean the difference between a successful product launch and a flop.  

PLM streamlines collaboration, empowering teams to develop a compliant product formula that fits the creative brief and get it into development as fast as possible. Building product development plans that are informed by real-time input from multiple teams with visibility throughout the value chain makes it easier to see potential challenges down the line, make proactive decisions and adjust schedules to get products to market on time.  

PLM can transform the process of new product development for cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers. From coming up with exciting product concepts to developing multiple compliant regional formulas to coordinating omnichannel distribution, PLM gets teams on one page to make sure that you develop the best product for each market and get it into the hands of your target consumers on time. 

How is New Cosmetic Product Development Impacted by the New Culture of “Fast Beauty” and Industry Globalization?

Cosmetics and personal care companies who want to future-proof their business have their work cut out for them. They need to quickly innovate new, consumer-driven products that are high-quality and compliant, manage complex product portfolios, improve margins, manage formulations, collaborate with suppliers and ensure flawless packaging and labeling.

Fast, quality, cost-effective and on-trend are challenging goals without the right digital tools and workflow efficiency. This is why digital transformation is the key to success for cosmetic product development. Cosmetic product development software, like Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), is a must in the new cosmetic product development toolkit.

PLM is a powerful solution for companies that face design and manufacturing complexity, globalization and the need to develop and move goods fast! Centric PLM™ is built to handle the rapid innovation and launch of formulated and non-formulated products at the same time. It’s ‘single source of truth’ approach drives innovation, collaboration, collapses timelines and gets companies closer to consumers. Centric PLM connects product and R&D teams on a single platform from anywhere and enables teams to work in real-time. This means fast creative ideation, decision-making, collaboration and innovative new product development helping you create trend-setting products, quickly that meet expectations for safety, quality, compliance and sustainability.

Let’s dive into the key stages of new product development and discover how PLM is the foundational software for each part of the process.

Formula Development

Centric PLM empowers product developers to manage the creation of product briefs, formulation and risk assessment and provide detailed specifications for suppliers, speeding the entire process. Forbidden ingredients and raw material origins are accounted for in Centric PLM to ensure you meet regional requirements.

For example, if you’ve got intel from your marketing team on an emerging trend that you want to move on, PLM can speed that process. Centric PLM’s open Application Programming Interface (API) integration with external product formulation software for raw materials and labeling cosmetics gives you access to ingredient features such as INCI Name, CAS number, chemical name, functions and restrictions for accuracy and compliance. Product briefs can be immediately updated to include label claims for validation by legal and quality control teams.

Centric PLM’s libraries, templates and integration with external databases save enormous amounts of time when developing product briefs. Every moment saved in the formula development step of new product development drives efficiency, cost-savings and speeds time to market.

The pressure is on for cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers to innovate new products at warp speed and assess current product assortments flawlessly. How do you establish bestselling products that will survive multiple seasons and rise to cult status? How do you manage your formulated product lines for cosmetics, fragrance and personal care alongside your non-formulated cosmetics and personal care accessories?  How do you concurrently focus on consumer-driven trends, quality and sustainability to outpace the competition?

Keeping up with an accelerated marketplace while maintaining innovative, new product development and excellent formulation quality while controlling product margins is best achieved by employing a single, digital solution to optimize product portfolio management (PPM) and retail assortment planning. Banish hundreds of outdated spreadsheets, overwhelming email chains, PDFs, PowerPoints and disconnected software solutions for good. Keep reading to find out how.

First, let’s deconstruct what product portfolio management strategy is. Next, we’ll dive into how a Product Lifecycle Management System (PLM) solution empowers you to perfect and optimize your product portfolio management.

Deconstructing Product Portfolio Management

PPM is a dynamic, complex, data-driven process. It empowers cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers to determine which products make the cut for development, how to pinpoint the optimal price and define product updates and refreshes needed to make assortments more alluring to customers and meet market and trend demands.

A prime example of the complexity of product portfolio management is the opportunity presented by different seasons and holidays. How do brands and retailers respond to maximize sales potential and update existing product lines to meet consumer demand? Let’s consider a brand with a bestselling formulated product such as a bath scrub. How can they leverage the popularity of that item, strategically theme and package it with non-formulated accessories like a gift bag and exfoliating bath mitt and create an on-trend gift set to boost margins and drive sales across regions and channels?

Retailers are also seeking the perfect cosmetics and personal care product mix to drive business growth, support new product introduction success and power private label development.

To expertly execute PPM, give the following questions careful consideration:

  • Which SKUs are most profitable?
  • What’s the best way to adapt products for different seasons, holidays and regions?
  • Can bestselling products be relocated to or rebranded for new markets?
  • Are we meeting the product needs of all of our target markets?
  • How much should these products cost?
  • Do our products comply with regional regulatory requirements?

After diving into these questions, teams will have the clarity to inform their product portfolio management strategy. The decision to optimize a product through an update, modification or discontinuation becomes clear.

Refining Your Product Portfolio Management

While customers are often driven by emotions, influencers and trends when making purchases; PPM is driven by data. Numbers including sales performance, projections, price points and margins must be rigorously analyzed. And, marketing data such as the overall product offering, packaging, branding, target markets and competitor information are also connected to perfecting product portfolio management. When assessing multiple products, across several regions and channels, this can seem like a monumental task especially when information and data visibility is concealed in scattered and disconnected systems.

Enter Product Portfolio Management Software

To perfect product portfolios, cosmetics and personal care, retailers and manufacturers need a robust PPM software solution. Innovative digital technology powers end-to-end product development efficiency with full visibility and control of costs, supply chains and workflow from the initial idea all the way to when it’s ready for retail. Most importantly, digital solutions give product portfolio managers and assortment planners real-time data to inform business-critical decisions.

A Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution is the linchpin to mastering large-scale product portfolio management. PLM enables all categories of cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers to have full visibility throughout the entire product lifecycle. It offers robust analysis, reporting and team connectivity to ensure decision-makers are armed with the information needed to make strategic and profitable, product decisions.

Scale Up Product Assortment Planning with PLM

PLM drives digital transformation for retailers by being the ‘single source of actionable truth’ for everyone involved in decision-making. PLM is the hub for product-related data and seamlessly connects with other systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Information Management (PIM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), e-commerce, packaging software and many more.

Because PLM is the central hub for all product data, cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers can rapidly manage workflows, estimate and track costs, streamline supplier communication, update and carry over bestsellers and swiftly adapt products for new seasons. The complete workflow and process management offered by PLM gives laser-like visibility into decisions impacting the bottom line. Decision makers can align financial and operational targets per season to reduce time to market, optimize assortments and set informed revenue targets.

To optimize your product assortment, ensure your digital PLM solution is equipped with portfolio management and assortment planning capabilities. By delivering real-time data and connecting key players throughout the workflow, users have 100% visibility across the entire product lifecycle. Another key benefit is that teams can create multiple “what if” cost scenarios that vary product design specifications, packaging, suppliers and more to understand the implications for cost, time, formulation and compliance.

For retailers entering into the potentially lucrative private label and supplier co-created product development space, a digital PLM solution is a must to streamline operations. PLM connects R&D with product developers, formulation, purchasing, compliance, legal, packaging, labeling and quality to ensure data-informed decisions are made on product development and assortment planning.

The retail transformation ushered in by PLM radically improves decision-making by making it easy to see complex product mixes, identify private label development opportunities and increase product margins while expanding into more markets and more channels with more product variety.

Simplify Complex Product Portfolios

The cosmetics and personal care industry moves fast and real-time insight on product performance can make or break brands, retailers and manufacturers. Streamlining complex portfolio management is a superpower of PLM. Product Portfolio Management capabilities in PLM give industry players the ability to plan, optimize and manage product portfolios to speed time to market and adapt to consumer demand and market trends quickly.

Connecting sales and product performance data to narrow the focus on the right products for development, reduces confusion in the market by eliminating replicated products and reduces rework by leveraging existing products. Brands and retailers can easily identify revenue opportunities by updating carryover and bestsellers.

Step into More Markets with PLM

PPM is critical for cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers wanting to expand into new markets and geographies. With expansion comes complexity and the risks of costly duplication and redundancies are real. New geographies can pose challenges including operating in different languages, adhering to regulations and adapting to different market trends and consumer preferences.

The holistic, centralized PLM platform ensures 100% visibility across the product development chain and makes it easier to manage large, complex portfolios and eliminate barriers between departments and regions. Business critical activities such as defining local market commercial offers, adapting labeling, language copy and formulation information and ensuring regulatory compliance is streamlined with PLM.

Harnessing the power of a digital PLM solution with robust portfolio management capabilities is the key to streamlining workflow, perfecting product assortment and maximizing sales performance.