The accessories market for consumer electronics is very fast paced due to the continuous release of new gadgets and devices, especially smart phones and tablets. With each new release of a smart phone, matching accessories are also released such as chargers, protective cases and cables. In the following section, we will list down the key dynamics for this embedded system industry and then see what benefits you can achieve by implementing Agile PPM to manage NPI projects.
Short Product Lifecycle
Since new models are released every year or so, the life cycle of related accessories is very short. New models have to be designed, manufactured, marketed and sold in a very short period of time.
Time to Market
If you look at the revenue model of these products, over 90% of the product revenue is typically earned within the first couple of months after the device is released. For example, if you are designing a case for an iPhone, 90% of the revenue for case will be earned in first 1-3 months. After that, the demand for such accessories rapidly declines due to short product life cycle for the specific iPhone model. If you are unable to release your product within the market in first few months, basically you lose the whole opportunity for that specific model.
Lack of Information
Another big challenge is the lack of information about new devices. Big consumer electronics manufacturers are very sensitive to releasing details about new models.
Companies, working in this environment, want to optimize the new product introduction process as much as possible to seize every possible improvement opportunity. This includes redesigning and optimizing processes, collaborating with partners, leveraging existing assets (designs, materials, and technology) as much as possible.
Now let’s talk about how Agile PPM, (product portfolio management module in Agile PLM), can help manage these challenges.
Use Project Templates
Building new models of phone accessories for newer devices is typically a very predictable process. This is because you have to go through a similar product development process to build a case for it. Using project management templates helps to optimize the project management process. You can build project templates with all necessary tasks, document templates (quality reports, financial models, and marketing collateral) and project team roles. With templates, initiating a new project becomes very efficient, without thinking about such details again.
Integrate Project Data across the Product Value Chain
You will need a very strong integration with product data management tools in order to successfully execute a project. You can use an integrated platform such as Agile PLM to integrate NPI projects with your product records across the whole product value chain, including your suppliers and vendors. You can also assign project tasks directly to the vendor to build prototypes for new devices. Once you receive prototypes, you can review and submit first article inspection reports using the same platform.
Secure Product Data
Security is another big concern for devices as well as consumer electronics manufacturers. You have to comply with certain standards in order to qualify for an early release of device information. Since you are building accessories for multiple devices from different vendors, your IT solution should have very tight controls to protect that device information before it is actually released. Agile PLM provides a very robust security model to control access at a very detailed level (parts, field, attachment etc).
In this hyper competitive market, you will need to identify every possible improvement across the product development process. BI tools, like OPLA, provide analytical insight into the NPI process. You can measure various KPIs and find correlation between various activities to better plan NPI projects.