Monday Mar 25, 2013

Private Label Management for Grocery Retailers

Alex van de Velde  - Principal Consultant, Enterprise PLM Solutions EMEA

Broader Solutions 

Managing product information remains important in private label strategy. Today, leading grocery retail companies are increasingly looking for broader solutions that allow them to better manage cross-functional product lifecycle business processes across their global product networks.

Product Lifecycle Management solutions give complex enterprises the comprehensive support they need to implement an integrated private label process.  These solutions provide a single view of products across business processes and geographical regions. By optimizing the global product network, they allow private label retailers to achieve key business objectives such as enhanced product innovation, faster speed to market, shorter time to shelf, lower costs, improved product quality, and regulatory compliance.

Accelerate Time to Shelf

Time to shelf and time to volume determine success and failure in many markets. Product Lifecycle Management helps retailers turn time into a competitive advantage for your company by enabling your teams to collaborate across your extended supply chain to design, source, and build (outsourced) products that are right for the consumers. As a result, you can eliminate information latency, minimize errors,   and accelerate both time to shelf and time to volume.

Minimize Cost

As your product network extends around the world, managing costs can become more complicated and cumbersome. It becomes even more important to streamline and formalize (cost) price management processes by giving  managers the information, tools, and analytical power they need to apply their business insight and skills to (cost) price management and product sourcing activities. Product Lifecycle Management gives private label retailers the ability to manage and improve product margins, release new products at or below target costs, control margin erosion through purchased material repricing, and outsourced (manufacturing) activities without losing control of your product cost. 

Improve Product Quality

As the product network expands outside the four walls of the company, it becomes more difficult to manage the design, formulation and manufacturing details that affect product quality. With private label management, retailers can put into place the processes and product improvements required to improve quality and customer satisfaction. It also allows retailers to design higher-quality products, improve product reliability, shorten complaints resolution times, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Without a product lifecycle management backbone, managing compliance documentation and processes across a global product network, complying with diverse regulations from various countries, and keeping documents consistent can be a tough challenge. Software solutions allow some retailers to turn regulatory compliance into a competitive edge by tightly controlling the whole process. With these solutions, retailers can establish and manage compliant, efficient, and auditable product lifecycle processes, thereby reducing business risks and ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements.

Drive Innovation

Innovation is the engine of growth for shareholder value. Product Lifecycle Management enables private label retailers to accelerate innovation without compromising creativity or supply chain flexibility. Dispersed product design teams can collaborate in real time to leverage insight, creativity, and core product designs. As a result, retailers can compress cycle times from concept through release  .

Drive Strategic and Operational Decisions

Leading grocery retail companies need solutions that let them leverage embedded decision support and analytics capabilities to drive better strategic and operational decisions about their private label portfolio.  Out-of-the-box decision support allows grocery retailers to make better decisions that improve product quality and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Product Lifecycle Management helps retailers to add best-selling products or drop poor-selling ones from the supply chain faster, and it helps in reduction of inventory losses. It also helps increasing product quality by minimizing errors in the design and development process and bringing compliant products to the market. 

Monday Mar 11, 2013

Software Product Lifecycle Management

Marc Charmetant - Principal Consultant, Enterprise PLM Solutions EMEA

Why Software Product Lifecycle Management? 

When talking about Software management, it is often said that it is a high risk scheduling activity. Why? Well,  software management combines several specifics making it difficult:

  • The release plans are at the program level  but  execution is at the feature or at the sprint level.
  • Software is often embedded into hardware and the maturity of the hardware obviously impacts the embedded software.
  • Changes are constant and overlapping. Scope changes, content changes, schedule changes generate unplanned and iterative processes that can overlap one another.

Is Software Management the Same as Source Code Control?

Very often software management is reduced to source code control. Most companies have very good code source code control and test management tools, but this is not enough as software management requires more than source code control and test. 

These tools leave very important questions open such as "Is everyone aware of the scope, content and schedule changes?", "Are the programmers working on the right specifications?", "Are the system test cases in alignment with the programmer’s code and requirements?", and  "It is all about the alignment of product content, schedule and quality."

Managing the Software Product Lifecycle in PLM

We can consider two main cases in the software development lifecycle:

  • Software that is developed independent of hardware
  • Software as an integral part of a hardware

In the two cases, the software is driven by a release date defined by market and customer requirements. Software can be managed in PLM as PLM can support the BOM beyond only the hardware BOM, providing a full information repository for the hardware and software. Enterprise PLM also provides a global security model and supports the following four important processes for software development:

  • Schedule Management
  • Content Management
  • Change Management 
  • Quality Management

Schedule Management

A good PLM system includes a schedule management system  managing the complex schedule of multiple interdependent projects. It will be used to manage the release scoping and execution, the feature /sprint process execution, the build process/test execution, the approval and gate management and last but not least, the customer commitments. It could also manage the alignment with the hardware schedule for the embedded software case

Content Management

Content definition should be done with the use of a source code control system. Source code control is an authoring tool like an ECAD or MCAD system, a highly specialized tool with integration to build tools and automated test systems. 

A PLM tool is a software IP management system providing  enterprise visibility and compatibility to software. It provides software configuration control as well as  software IP tracking and audit.

Change Management

Change management is the core of SPLM. It will allow detailed control of :

  • Specification changes 
  • Schedule changes
  • Test plan changes
  • Scope plan changes
  • Requirements changes
  • Resources changes 

Quality Management

 A PLM system includes a closed loop quality system allowing integrated product testing and issue tracking, with full visibility given to stakeholders of the process. It allows full content revision and version alignment on requirements, test plans, scope and specifications. Driven by deliverables the  formal gate review and approvals will guarantee completeness. Audits can also be managed directly in the PLM tool for customer certifications or regulatory audits. 

In Closing

Combining all the facets of a Software PLM solution is very challenging, however  Enterprise PLM solutions like Oracle Agile PLM can enable full software lifecycle management. Combing advanced program management features, full change management with traceability, closed loop quality processes and advanced content management allowing full control over the Software Product Lifecycle. 


A cross industry discussion on ways to better manage product data and the entire product lifecycle from idea to end of life with special attention to the unique challenges faced by European companies.


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