One of the main success factors for leading brands in consumer and business products is the speed of new product development and time to market. Time to Market (TTM), is the time from the brand’s product development to marketing leading to the first sales to end customers. All manufacturers strive to shrink this gap. Delay in TTM increases costs and gives competitors to release their product earlier, take over the cream of the market, and then establish themselves as the leader. In most cases, being the first means gaining a significant and sustainable advantage and a larger market share.
TTM for most products includes several stages of the life cycle:
- Idea generation, business planning, and conceptual product development.
- Engineering development and design.
- Start of production.
- Marketing and sales of a new product, creating a product’s market launch.
How can we reduce the TTM?
To optimize business planning, the brand can use the lean approach of Eric Rees, formulated in his book “The Lean: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.” The name refers to the concept of lean manufacturing, but this approach is much more profound; it involves understanding the values of the brand and its customers and the iterative release of products to shorten the production cycle and continually receive feedback from consumers.
The agile method increases development speed by creating small creative teams, shortening planning and analysis cycles, and it introduces liberal management practices. Cross-functional teams, in which members can perform several functions and take on the most urgent and timely tasks, can also speed up development. The SCRUM methodology is helpful to determine short-term priorities within the project. It also increases the involvement of both the development team and the company’s management.
The engineering and architectural strategy of product development dramatically influences the TTM.
One of the winning elements of a business strategy is developing a fundamentally new idea to create an MVP – a minimum viable product. The idea is implemented in an abbreviated form, with only those critical functions for performing the essential claims of a product or service. The results of testing and implementation of MVP and consumer feedback helps to understand if further project development is reasonable. It is also crucial that the brand is confirmed as the leader of the direction in the client’s mind by releasing the product first.
Also, when a company releases new products based on an existing platform, the platform approach is becoming more usual. Previously, this architectural method was common among IT product developers and chipset manufacturers, but more and more brands in other industries are adopting it. For example, this year, Ford began developing two platforms that will be used to produce different models of electric passenger cars and SUVs, allowing the brand to shorten the new products’ release time and reduce development and production costs.
Building an information environment that includes organized and structured data about the product, potential users, and target markets (“360-degree” method) plays a vital role in reducing TTM access to such information on a regulated basis. These are departments and employees of product management and marketing, design, engineering, production department, sales department, and user support. The realities of modern business assume that many of these employees can be located in different offices worldwide.
Such an environment, organized in a circular method, must include the following elements:
- Centralized administration of product information for marketing and sales purposes. This information includes, descriptions and specifications, brochures and product catalogs, marketing content, media materials, etc.
- Knowledge base about potential customers, their requirements, and expectations for the product, separated for market segments.
- Information about competitors: their products, marketing, sales tactics, prices, comparative analysis of brand products and its competitors, highlighting unique advantages.
- Possibility of similar preparation and launch of goods for different market segments, sales channels, and target markets in other countries. This includes product content in different languages, considering the channel’s requirements, and collaboration between other departments and offices.
From a formal point of view, after-sales customer support begins outside of the TTM. However, the organization of this support should take place during the initial stage. The initial knowledge base and materials for providing quality brand assistance to users should also be ready before the sales start.
The Syntes Master Data Management cloud platform, with its product information management application (Products), provides an informational and collaborative environment. The Syntes platform integrates product management, orders, sales channels, advertising campaigns, and customer interactions. Integration radically speeds up the search and access to information for managers and employees, eliminates bottlenecks in developing and launching a product, and significantly shortens the TTM.
Collecting detailed information from various channels makes it possible to draw conclusions about customers’ interest in a new product and study their behavior. Displaying aggregated data in the graphical form will allow teams to effectively discuss and make decisions at each iteration of the development process.
The Syntes project management system allows different models of project work for other products, simplifies the communication process, and increases team productivity that will reduce TTM while maintaining quality.
Syntes, an international company, develops a next-generation MDM (Master Data Management) and PIM (Product Information Management) cloud platform and provides brands and manufacturers with services for creating, managing and automating D2C (Direct-to-Customer) sales and marketing channels. Syntes solutions and services are used by the world’s leading brands and manufacturers of consumer and business products such as Razer, Scarlett, Pantone, X-Rite, AVerMedia and others. Syntes is a registered trademark of Syntes, Inc.
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