Products are becoming more and more complicated—and manufacturers are having a harder time keeping up. 92% of manufacturers have reported that their products have become more complex over the last half-decade. This complexity isn’t limited to incorporating the software and circuitry that comprise the IoT—even purely mechanical designs have become more intricate.
The hallmark of a good company is that it’s sensitive to the ways in which users want them to improve their products. The benchmark for sensitivity, however, has changed dramatically over the past few years. Product lifecycles are much shorter—across manufacturing industries, companies now derive more than half their revenue from products less than three years old. In other words, product planners need to begin adopting an Agile mindset iterating the new and improved version of their product almost as soon as the Mark One version hits the shelves.
If you're a manufacturing product planner, designer, or engineer, join us on Thursday, July 30, 2020, for our first webinar: Customers want customization...but do they want the options? In this webinar, experts from JATO Dynamics market research and Gocious product decision analytics will explore and discuss trends around customer behavior in manufactured products.
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?
Within the manufacturing world, product planning teams are chartered to define new products to meet customer and market needs. These products are often made up of countless individual feature sets, packages, and options, adding to the complexity of products. There is a strong need for decision analytics to help inform decisions, reduce complexity, and increase speed to market.
Product planners are like artists. They interpret and translate customer needs into product requirements. Unfortunately, they spend so much time managing the product requirements process that they don’t have as much time to truly innovate.
One of the biggest challenges product planners and manufacturers face is hitting the production schedule. You have to be careful that you don’t rush product launch and end up with a misaligned product, or miss fulfilling customer needs or market opportunities. The goal is to optimize around production and equipment efficiencies. And although changes are inevitable during production, having the tools to quickly react and resolve them is critical.
The complexities of manufacturing products can get out of hand quickly. Product planners and manufacturers need practical, robust tools to gain valuable insight into their product management.
Product Planners have to be obsessed with the development of their products.
What do consumers really need? What features are essential? What will resonate with the market?
It can be a little too easy to aggressively pursue product development in a way that drives a misalignment between expectation and reality in the customer's experience. Of course, product planners want to create the perfect product, but even an ideal model can produce a negative customer experience if you don’t plan ahead.
As a product manager, you are responsible for defining the "why" and the core of the "what" when planning a product. It is vital to understand your customers in and out to connect a product that meets their needs and wants; otherwise, you are just wasting time and money.
Topics: Product planning