What happened to the 'L' in PLM

Product Lifecycle Management or PLM was heralded as the ultimate methodology for retail private brands, promising to transform the performance of new product development. Despite this, modern era new product development often falls way short of expectation. There is no overall industry statistic I can quote here, but typically in retail new products fail to perform to expectation in up to 80 to 90% of the time. Which is appalling!

When you draw back the covers on PLM for retail private brands, you soon see there is actually no ‘Lifecycle’ element to it - there is no 'L'. It is PM only. In fact, Oracle, one of the leading players in the PLM space have renamed their retail PLM offering as 'Brand Compliance', recognising the short- comings of overstating expectations. In a way this is the easy solution. We are still left with the question: what has happened to the most important aspect of a PLM strategy the L - the LIFECYCLE? Without this there is no data being gathered, no insights, no learnings, no continuous improvement! Is it any wonder that the performance of new product development is so poor?

The reason for not tackling the 'L' is that to do so is actually very difficult. Most retailers do gather some 'voice of the customer' feedback as part of the new product development process by conducting consumer surveys, customer panels and the like. But these can be fraught with difficulties and statistical short-comings and are often self-fulfilling. The track record is not brilliant.

Now there is a better way to restore the much needed 'L' in PLM. Here at S4RB we refer to ’One View’ of brand experience.  In its raw form it is one consolidated view of all feedback on product quality performance ( e.g. Product test results, product assessments, warehouse quality assurance) AND customer sentiments ( e.g. customer complaints, product reviews) collected over the lifespan of a product once it is available for sale.

This data represents all of the customers’ unscripted 'touch points'. When consolidated it is an incredible 'treasure trove' of customer opinions, insights and patterns of behaviours. This provides a database of feedback that is totally unique to a retailer, revealing how their products are performing in the eyes of their customers. When used in the context of product development, it provides the basis for understanding how customers are using products, what they like and don't like and even more importantly what they want.

Incredibly, a retailer doesn't have to go out and actively seek One View - it already exists. They just need to have the desire to consolidate the data they are already collecting. A recent project for a major international retailer went from ‘No View’ to ‘One View’ in three months. Want to know more? Drop us a line and we would love to share our experience and ideas with you.

For more information on S4RB's Unified Brand Experience (UBX) please read: The meaning of ‘One View’ for private brand teams.

Tags: Supplier development

Kieran Forsey

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