Does this sound familiar? You're deep into a new product development process and heads down working on executing the product plan. Suddenly, you realize discrepancies in the products and feature definitions, the timelines to launch them, and their configurations. A myriad of spreadsheets, text documents, and presentation files stored in different places make it confusing to navigate as you are not sure what the latest approved decisions and definitions are. This means that now is the time to stop what you're doing and jump into the 'data scramble' and send a deluge of emails to product planning and product management teams to get the answers you need with a definitive picture of the product line.
Most hard goods manufacturers are embracing the digital transformation by focusing on their factory floor operations. They are spending millions and, on occasion, billions of dollars on upgrading equipment and streamlining processes. Often though, very little attention is given to the front-end of manufacturing. Why do manufacturers fail to extend their digital transformation to the early product definition, planning, and design stage?