Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

The Business of Winning Innovation: An Exclusive Blog Series

"The Business of Winning Innovation” is a series of articles authored by Oracle Agile PLM experts on what it takes to make innovation a successful and lucrative competitive advantage. Our customers have proven Agile PLM applications to be enormously flexible and comprehensive, so we’ve launched this article series to showcase some of the most fascinating, value-packed use cases.


In this article by Keith Colonna, we kick-off the series by taking a look at the science side of innovation within the Consumer Products industry and how PLM can help companies innovate faster, cheaper, smarter. This article will review how innovation has become the lifeline for growth within consumer products companies and how certain companies are “winning” by creating a competitive advantage for themselves by taking a more enterprise-wide,systematic approach to “innovation”.

Managing the Science of Innovation within the Consumer Products Industry

By: Keith Colonna, Value Chain Solution Manager, Oracle

The consumer products (CP) industry is very mature and competitive. Most companies within this industry have saturated North America (NA) with their products thus maximizing their NA growth potential. Future growth is expected to come from either expansion outside of North America and/or by way of new ideas and products. Innovation plays an integral role in both of these strategies, whether you’re innovating business processes or the products themselves, and may cause several challenges for the typical CP company,

Becoming more innovative is both an art and a science. Most CP companies are very good at the art of coming up with new innovative ideas, but many struggle with perfecting the science aspect that involves the best practice processes that help companies quickly turn ideas into sellable products and services.

Symptoms and Causes of Business Pain

Struggles associated with the science of innovation show up in a variety of ways, like:

· Establishing and storing innovative product ideas and data

· Funneling these ideas to the chosen few

· Time to market cycle time and on-time launch rates

· Success rates, or how often the best idea gets chosen

· Imperfect decision making (i.e. the ability to kill projects that are not projected to be winners)

· Achieving financial goals

· Return on R&D investment

· Communicating internally and externally as more outsource partners are added globally

· Knowing your new product pipeline and project status

These challenges (and others) can be consolidated into three root causes:

  1. A lack of visibility
  2. Poor data with limited access
  3. The inability to truly collaborate enterprise-wide throughout your extended value chain

Choose the Right Remedy

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions are uniquely designed to help companies solve these types challenges and their root causes. However, PLM solutions can vary widely in terms of configurability, functionality, time-to-value, etc. Business leaders should evaluate PLM solution in terms of their own business drivers and long-term vision to determine the right fit. Many of these solutions are point solutions that can help you cure only one or two business pains in the short term. Others have been designed to serve other industries with different needs. Then there are those solutions that demo well but are owned by companies that are either unable or unwilling to continuously improve their solution to stay abreast of the ever changing needs of the CP industry to grow through innovation.

What the Right PLM Solution Should Do for You

Based on more than twenty years working in the CP industry, I recommend investing in a single solution that can help you solve all of the issues associated with the science of innovation in a totally integrated fashion. By integration I mean the (1) integration of the all of the processes associated with the development, maintenance and delivery of your product data, and (2) the integration, or harmonization of this product data with other downstream sources, like ERP, product catalogues and the GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network (or GDSN, which is now a CP industry requirement for doing business with most retailers).

The right PLM solution should help you:

  • Increase Revenue. A best practice PLM solution should help a company grow its revenues by consolidating product development cycle-time and helping companies get new and improved products to market sooner. PLM should also eliminate many of the root causes for a product being returned, refused and/or reclaimed (which takes away from top-line growth) by creating an enterprise-wide, collaborative, workflow-driven environment.
  • Reduce Costs. A strong PLM solution should help shave many unnecessary costs that companies typically take for granted. Rationalizing SKU’s, components (ingredients and packaging) and suppliers is a major opportunity at most companies that PLM should help address. A natural outcome of this rationalization is lower direct material spend and a reduction of inventory. Another cost cutting opportunity comes with PLM when it helps companies avoid certain costs associated with process inefficiencies that lead to scrap, rework, excess and obsolete inventory, poor end of life administration, higher cost of quality and regulatory and increased expediting.
  • Mitigate Risk. Risks are the hardest to quantify but can be the most costly to a company. Food safety, recalls, line shutdowns, customer dissatisfaction and, worst of all, the potential tarnishing of your brands are a few of the debilitating risks that CP companies deal with on a daily basis. These risks are so uniquely severe that they require an enterprise PLM solution specifically designed for the CP industry that safeguards product information and processes while still allowing the art of innovation to flourish.

Many CP companies have already created a winning advantage by leveraging a single, best practice PLM solution to establish an enterprise-wide, systematic approach to innovation.

Oracle’s Answer for the Consumer Products Industry

Oracle is dedicated to solving the growth and innovation challenges facing the CP industry. Oracle’s Agile Product Lifecycle Management for Process solution was originally developed with and for CP companies and is driven by a specialized development staff solely focused on maintaining and continuously improving the solution per the latest industry requirements. Agile PLM for Process helps CP companies handle all of the processes associated with managing the science of the innovation process, including: specification management, new product development/project and portfolio management, formulation optimization, supplier management, and quality and regulatory compliance to name a few.

And as I mentioned earlier, integration is absolutely critical. Many Oracle CP customers, both with Oracle ERP systems and non-Oracle ERP systems, report benefits from Oracle’s Agile PLM for Process. In future articles we will explain in greater detail how both existing Oracle customers (like Gallo, Smuckers, Land-O-Lakes and Starbucks) and new Oracle customers (like ConAgra, Tyson, McDonalds and Heinz) have all realized the benefits of Agile PLM for Process and its integration to their ERP systems.

More to Come

Stay tuned for more articles in our blog series “The Business of Winning Innovation.” While we will also feature articles focused on other industries, look forward to more on how Agile PLM for Process addresses innovation challenges facing the CP industry. Additional topics include: Innovation Data Management (IDM), New Product Development (NPD), Product Quality Management (PQM), Menu Management,Private Label Management, and more! .

Watch this video for more info about Agile PLM for Process

Tuesday May 08, 2012

New Free Report Available: 28 pages on Oracle’s Enterprise PLM Solution

Featuring seven customer case studies and enriched with industry-specific best practices throughout, this Oracle Enterprise PLM Report is most definitely a “one-stop-shop” for anyone looking for a solid overview of Oracle’s Agile PLM and complementary solutions.

Here’s a brief summary of the almost 30 pages of content:

The Origins: From Agile Software to Oracle

As part of its commitment to providing the most complete, most integrated and most industry-oriented range of applications available, Oracle in 2007 acquired Agile Software Corp., a leading provider of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software solutions worldwide.  Since that date, Oracle has extended and further developed its PLM applications portfolio to create the industry’s most comprehensive suite of applications for full, enterprise-scale PLM throughout the product value chain.

The Challenges for Product-Oriented Businesses

From industrial manufacturing to pharmaceuticals and retail, today’s product-oriented industries face a unique set of challenges such as complex design and supply chains, increased global competition, market demand for customized products, economic uncertainty, and industry regulations.  To thrive in these conditions, product businesses need to be efficient, agile and innovative while ensuring quality, traceability and safety.  But this difficult to achieve for many businesses, which are often plagued by delays and failures due to disjointed and inefficient product development and commercialization processes. 

The Oracle Solution

Drawing on our extensive work with product-oriented businesses across multiple industry sectors, Oracle has developed the expertise and the technology solutions to enable a new streamlined approach to managing the product lifecycle: managing the entire product value chain with Enterprise PLM solutions.  Enterprise PLM is much more than just a technology solution.  It represents a new, strategic approach to the product value chain that emphasizes process efficiency, cross-functional collaboration in the extended enterprise, rapid innovation, rigorous quality control, risk mitigation and cost effectiveness.

The Industries

Recognizing that different industry sectors have unique pressures and concerns, Oracle has developed dedicated Enterprise PLM solutions for a range of industries, including Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Retail, Industrial Manufacturing, High Tech Electronics, Consumer Packaged Goods and Food & Beverage.

Pharmaceuticals: Enabling Business Transformation
With a case study on
Bayer Healthcare

Medical Devices: Supporting Innovation, Accelerating Compliance
With a case study on
Stryker

Retail: Get Control of Product Information
With a case study on
7-Eleven

High Tech Electronics: Accelerate Innovation in a Fast-Moving Industry
With a case study on
Sun Microsystems

Consumer Packaged Goods: More Efficient, More Competitive
With a case study on
Herbalife

Industrial Manufacturing: Bring Better Products to Market, Faster
With a case study on
ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Food and Beverage: Improve Compliance at Lower Cost
With a case study on
Tyson Foods

The Recommendations

Oracle recommends that in order to start taking advantage of the benefits of Enterprise PLM, supply chain technology leaders and CIOs should undertake a few key actions:

  1. Take a purposeful, thoughtful and honest inventory of existing IT product value chain operations and opportunities.
  2. Develop a complete understanding of Oracle’s Enterprise PLM capabilities and how they may be deployed to fulfill specific operational product value chain priorities.
  3. Develop short-term and long-term roadmaps for Oracle strategy and deployment to optimize product value chain impact.
This summary features just a few highlights from the full report, so please read it today!

Tuesday Dec 06, 2011

Making the Right Product Decisions Even Better

It’s a common problem – more information adds complexity spanning several dimensions: Where did it come from, and where should it go? How do you organize it? Who needs to know, react, deliver?  How do you respond and what are the implications of each option?  Do you even know everything you should?  What is missing?  Is it accurate?

Yes, the multitude of today’s data can be massively overwhelming without the right plan in place to synthesize it.  Bluntly, not having the right handle on data as a company can be downright disastrous!  As companies continuously generate and collect data, it grows increasingly difficult to comprehensively take the correct information to the next level:  the best decisive action.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), like most applications, generates many data points about product performance every day.  Using best-in-class solutions like Oracle’s Agile PLM to consolidate data, streamline processes, and connect all aspects of a product network to speed time to market provides extremely valuable results for a business looking to achieve a competitive advantage through profitable innovation. 

But take a step back and consider: what would an executive level analysis of all the activity inside your PLM solutions reveal about your business?  Consider being able to glance at a dashboard of charts and graphs tailored to your business, instantly gather deep insight into product performance, and then make the best decisive action.

The Oracle Product Lifecycle Analytics solution enables companies to gain actionable insight into large volumes of product lifecycle data from all operations and entities, exposing critical trends and metrics that enable business users at all levels to make key product decisions. With increased visibility into the new product development pipeline, product risks, and quality trends, companies can make the most informed product investment decisions, mitigate new product risks, increase responsiveness to product complaints, and improve customer satisfaction.

Oracle Product Lifecycle Analytics is making headlines as today’s complexity increases.  Gary Swanson, VP of Corporate Quality at Herbalife speaks in a webcast in early December 2011 about how his company leverages the solution to support major corporate initiatives around innovation.  Swanson spoke at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, and even accepted Herbalife’s 2011 Consumer Goods Industry Excellence Award for Product Innovation.  Also, you can check out the Oracle Product Lifecycle Analytics data sheet for more specific details, and view this YouTube video about “Turning Innovation into a Competitive Advantage” by making the right decisions about your products.

Making the right decision at the right time depends a lot on the information available.  Empowering decision-makers at all levels of the business with the most accurate, relevant data in a timely manner is critical to success no matter what product you bring to market.  Deploying quickly with rapid ROI, Oracle Product Lifecycle Analytics delivers sophisticated analysis to drive performance excellence and improve customer satisfaction.

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