Product Development Implemented at Lenzing AG

Cellulose fiber manufacturer to use software to reduce development costs, improve time-to-market

Cellulose fiber manufacturer to use software to reduce development costs, improve time-to-market

Minneapolis and London — February 11, 2004 — Austria-based Lenzing AG, a global leader in the manufacture of cellulose fiber for textile and non-textile applications, said it has implemented the Sopheon Accolade new product development system, which includes users in research and development, quality control and sales and marketing.

Lenzing AG has 3,200 employees at production sites and distribution offices worldwide. Its flagship offering, Lenzing Lyocell, is used in a wide range of applications in textile products. In addition to its core fibers business, the company has business groups in paper, plastics and engineering. Lenzing said that one of its principal ongoing challenges has been to enhance its product portfolio in order to offset global competition and fluctuating currency values.

In 2002, Lenzing decided to adopt Stage-Gate, the widely used product-development process methodology, as a way of reducing developmental costs and improving time-to-market. The company subsequently looked for ways to automate its implementation of the process.

Lenzing said the Sopheon's Accolade system was the only solution considered, owing to its capacity to reinforce the Stage-Gate structure and its integration of best-practice process manuals to ensure the steps of the process are properly executed. Lenzing said it was further attracted to Accolade by its portfolio management features, which provide executives with a comprehensive view of project work.

In addition to implementing Accolade's automated process framework, Lenzing explained that it is taking advantage of many of the system enhancements introduced in the recently launched version 5.0 of the Accolade system.

Included are resource planning functionality to centralize the management of project resources down to the individual level; a document routing and approval component to formally review and approve key deliverables in the development process via electronic signatures; and integration capabilities to link Accolade's process framework to other software that is already widely used by Lenzing's product development teams.

Later this year Lenzing said it plans to deploy Accolade's idea management and screening functionality to facilitate the generation, capture and assessment of product ideas. The company hopes it will also provide a centralized, electronic "suggestion box" that will enable employees to submit their thoughts on everything from new market and business opportunities to ways of improving existing processes and policies.

"One of Lenzing's central strategies is to continuously improve product mix," said Thomas Fahnemann, chairman of Lenzing's board of management. "Accolade solidifies the structure and efficiency of our stage gate process and gives better oversight of project status and resources at each step."