Developing and launching a new product (NPDI or New Product Development and Introduction Process) has been an area of both opportunity and weakness for companies in the Consumer Packed Goods or CPG sector. New successful products often translate into millions of dollars in sales but a long launch period or delay could mean heavy losses due to missed opportunity cost and potential loss of market share.
Velocity of NPD (New Product Development) process is hence critical and directly impacts the top line of the organisation
NPD is a heavily customised process and very specific to organisational or industry needs. This process traverses across multiple departments and roles. It touches many people in the ecosystem – a few hundred across various countries in case of large organisations, extending to external vendors and suppliers. Typical divisions that come into play in the process are R&D, Marketing, Supply chain, Finance, Brand management and Master data. It is in this context that the need for an enhanced collaborative and integrated Smartapp becomes more pronounced.
Tools like Product Lifecycle Management Systems, Supply Chain Systems, ERPs or other enterprise systems have been in existence for a while to address these challenges. However, a large part of them fail to cover end-to-end lifecycle of new product development.
Smartapps built on top of a platform such as Process Orchestration from SAP comes to the rescue. These apps improve velocity of the process by bringing together various people and system components as well as through increased automation and integration. A new technology implementation or development of a new app is also an opportunity to streamline and optimise the ‘as-is’ process. As technology alone is not a silver bullet in the run in the faster product introduction lifecycle
Proof that this works
We embarked on a Smartapps initiative for one of our large CPG customers with presence in 100+ countries. Through our Smartapp solutions, this customer of ours managed to reduce the number of steps involved from 300 to 142 and brought down the NDPI cycle from 6 months to 2 weeks.
This was achieved by building a Smartapp that aggregated multiple process steps into one, eliminated non-value-adding human touch points in the system and converged UIs across systems into a single user interface. This created a layer of abstraction that shielded the users from differences and changes in the underlying systems. For the user, this meant a common User Interface (UI) that resulted in a highly simplified User Experience (Ux). This resulted in an overall reduction of 70% in the think time i.e. time spent on the application screen.
It is vital to collaborate complex processes, especially in a large organisation where product data is spread across divisions and multiple people donning multiple roles.
Smartapps give an advantage through a combination of an intelligent user interface, increased collaboration, automated substitution, workload based routing and improved visibility.