Ask any supply chain executive how many of their products they had developed a year ago are still viable today and chances are the answer is few and far between. Such was the case when Jeff Keyser, Enterprise Education Architect for JDA Software Group Inc., presented the question to attendees at JDA Focus 2012, Las Vegas. When asked how many had developed products that died out in three or even six months, almost all of the standing-room-only session’s attendees raised their hands.
In a world where technology is progressing at such a rapid pace that companies who are announcing the next big thing are already behind, shorter product lifecycle management is more crucial than ever.
Manufacturers and software solution developers who have Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) processes in place know that their products have an expiration date. But the ability to forecast potential demand on solutions that are constantly evolving is the challenge as current products today have shorter lifecycles versus traditional technology of the past.
“Electronics has shorter lifecycles because there is always some new kind of gadget coming out,” said Jeff Keyser, JDA Software Group Inc. “Consumers are replacing their cell phones every two years if not sooner. Products are coming in fast and dying out quickly. Traditionally, you would model products based on what you had. Now, with these newer items, you don’t. When a product has sufficient history, statistical data forecasts can be generated for it. But now, the problem is if you want to model a product after a current item, you don’t know what to model it after because the products are so new.”
To overcome the shorter lifecycle challenge, manufacturers and retailers can enable shorter lifecycle algorithms to forecast every stage of a product’s lifecycle. The company’s already available JDA Demand forecasting platform enables algorithm that can manage a product when it peaks and identify when it will decline at some point. Four steps that users can follow to utilize the platform efficiently include:
- Define and prioritize DFU attributes
- Build a shorter lifecycle curve process
- Assign the shorter lifecycle curve
- Adjust the forecast
Such attributes which can be used to forecast and build curves include a product’s color, finish and price. Additionally, curves can be used based on region attributes.
Supply chain collaboration
While it is evident that such tools are necessary for manufacturers to bring product to market faster, a critical part of the process also includes implementing the right collaboration environments for such processes to thrive effectively.
“JDA is connecting all the processes—from product development to shelf-life to logistics to planning to merchandising—in ways that have never been done before,” said Keyser. “Now, the integration is better. Processes that were once siloed—that’s not the case anymore. Now, there is a constant flow of communication. And our customers continue to demand that. The competition has never been higher. Consumers are much more empowered today—they have the resources at their fingertips. And you have to be able to tie all of that in.”
In addition to its already available JDA Demand platform, the provider rolled out a number of platforms at JDA FOCUS 2012 to improve collaboration between suppliers, retailers, manufacturers and other moving parts in the supply chain including its:
JDA Shelf-Connected Cloud: designed to help supplier and retailer trading partners effectively collaborate at the shelf level to improve on-shelf availability; remove unnecessary inventory across enterprises; and set new strategies that leverage cost savings across the entire value chain
JDA 3D: Powered by Red Dot Square, the virtualization solution provides collaboration capabilities to support the retailer/manufacturer range finalization process.
Existent variables in the supply chain are not always guaranteed. But implementing the right tools and collaboration strategies will help ensure that processes are deployed efficiently—not just in product development and supplier enablement but change management as well—to meet consumer demand.
Stay tuned for more from JDA FOCUS 2012.