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Don't Let Complexity Disrupt Your Product Delivery Process

Aug. 28, 2020
New survey shows growing importance of digital transformation as manufacturers pivot to meet needs within digital economy.

As the digital economy progresses, manufacturers are embracing the importance of leveraging digital data-based technologies.  One of the key aspects of succeeding within a digital economy is the ability to rapidly design, develop, produce and deliver the products an evolving marketplace demands. Of course, just because the digital economy is all about delivering an easy seamless experience, that does not mean it is easy to delivery, even with today’s advanced technologies.

Gocious, a product decision analytics platform that harnesses data for manufacturers to get to production faster, recently conducted a survey spotlighting the growing urgency for digitally transformed product configuration. And the result paint a pretty clear picture. Roughly 60% of manufacturers surveyed report 6 months or longer to plan and develop one product, and 62% have initiatives in place to reduce the product launch cycle time. However, less than 10% of manufacturers are using product definition tools to help automate, visualize or analyze product configurations.

Unfortunately, complexity is a common concern. Specifically, half of the survey respondents say they have 10 or more products in their product line with a growing number of product variations adding complexity to product release cycles.  Adding to the complexity, on average 43 people are involved in production definition process with an average of 33 people needed for product approvals.

Gocious CTO Maziar Adl tells IndustryWeek, they were surprised by the low number of organizations adopting new ways to reduce their time to market during a moment when the speed of change is rapidly increasing due to the Industry 4.0 evolution.

“It was also interesting to see just how many people are involved in approving a product release. Based on both of these instances, we can see more clearly how more collaboration is necessary even early-on in product development,” he says. “Additionally, we were surprised to see the number of people using tools that are more specifically tailored to delivering software solutions, compared to manufactured products. To me this indicates that people want better solutions than the traditional spreadsheet approach and are prepared to compromise on capability to get what they want.”

The key takeaways? Digital transformation is happening, and some manufacturers are ill prepared to face the challenges of being left behind, explains Adl. “Many are too comfortable and need to look more closely at the massive need for acceleration within their internal digital transformation journeys. Manufacturers need to find ways to become more agile in delivering product. Things are shifting much more quickly than before,” he says.

According to Adl, prior to releasing ideas for build and detail design, manufacturers should first look at early stages of product line definition and planning to reduce waste and complexity. “If a manufacturer is not in control of their product complexity, then any initiatives that may be considered to shorten delivery time cycles will not have as much of an impact as they could. A lack of complexity management can ultimately create waste,” he says.

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