Collaborative, Efficient, Tech-Driven R&D Results In Products That Meet Immediate Demand

Collaborative, Efficient, Tech-Driven R&D Results In Products That Meet Immediate Demand
Consumer Goods

The Future of Manufacturing report, a collaboration between PSFK Labs and Microsoft, outlines emerging practices in R&D that take new products to market more quickly than ever before

PSFK Labs
  • 29 june 2017

The research and development process is a cornerstone of manufacturing: determine what customers want and how best to make it. With ever-changing markets and technology, R&D teams face increasingly quick turnarounds in order to generate products to meet demand. Good products start with effective communication, and R&D must collaborate with groups across the manufacturing spectrum, from engineering, to supply, to quality assurance and, on the other side, the consumer.

Emerging technologies offer an opportunity for timely, high-quality feedback that speeds up the manufacturing cycle and improves the products reaching the consumer. A scenario from PSFK’s Future of Manufacturing report shows how artificial intelligence, a flexible manufacturing line, digital prototypes and other advancements are revolutionizing 21st-century R&D.

The excerpt below is a snapshot of the analyses provided in the Future of Manufacturing report. Click here to download the full free report, which includes expert insights, key scenarios and enabling technologies.

Connected Product Research And Development: The Opportunity

For Research and Development teams, the road to creating a successful product means communication with both ends of the supply chain—from raw material vendors to customers purchasing the finished product. Insightful ideation begins with in-depth consumer knowledge, but to enable at-scale product creation, manufacturers must open communication channels with their global supplier teams and engineers.  

With enhanced collaborative tools and real-time communication softwares, development teams have the ability to collaborate on product designs while reducing time to market and improving product longevity through actionable insights. For brands and manufacturers, this means reduced product development costs and creations that are assuredly robust.

Scenario #1 – At The Drawing Board: Easing The Path From Concept To Creation

Katelyn, the lead product developer of a tire manufacturer, has been tasked with designing an all-weather tire that utilizes the company’s latest material formulation. As this will be the first of its kind in the marketplace, she wants to gather insights from their targeted consumer base to create a successful launch. At the same time, she will need to collaborate with a new set of partners throughout the development process to ensure they have the necessary material, production and testing in place.

  1. Katelyn and her team work with their network of retail and automotive partners to gather information about customers’ driving and purchasing habits. They also employ social listening tools to gather commentary from the marketplace with the goal of identifying unmet needs.
  2. The results from these initiatives are analyzed using an AI-powered platform that extracts key insights around pricing, service and usage. These metrics can be visually compared to a competitive set of offerings that can be leveraged by the R&D team to inform important design decisions.
  3. Using these inputs, Katelyn and her team develop a digital prototype that takes the qualities of the new composite formulation into consideration, allowing them to virtually test the performance of a number of different tread patterns, tire widths and weights on a variety of road conditions.
  4. Once the team has selected three potential models, Katelyn runs a remote meeting with her international engineering and supply teams to conduct a cost benefit analysis of material sourcing and decide which new vendors to bring onboard.
  5. Katelyn orders a short production run of each of the three different tire models so that the Quality Assurance team can perform a series of real world tests that will influence the final design. By leveraging a flexible manufacturing line, the plant can quickly turn around prototypes without impacting ongoing production.
  6. While conducting the tests, QA can send the R&D team a real-time analysis of how the tires perform under various levels of stress. While one prototype clearly outperforms the rest, feedback from the test group suggests further refinements to the final design. Based on this input, Katelyn and her team revise their tread model and deliver an updated prototype to Quality Assurance.
  7. After QA tests and approves this final design, the digital prototype is delivered to the production team, who readies it for full-scale production.
  8. The production team implements a telemetry system into the tire, which allows Katelyn’s R&D team to implement ongoing insights or produce updated components that are derived from usage data.

Highlighting The Opportunity

“Whether it’s changes in packaging or even various forms of product innovation, timely and quality feedback is core to the overall ability of a manufacturer to not only provide what the market wants, but also to anticipate market changes.” Bill Moffett. Global Industry Senior Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft

“45% of manufacturers have not set a specific goal for reducing new product development cycle times.” The Future of Manufacturing: 2020 and Beyond. IndustryWeek, 2016

“Companies must align R&D with strategy and ensure that they have robust innovation management processes in place to take products to market.” “Why R&D Spending Is Not A Measure Of Innovation.” Forbes, August 2016

“A focus on innovation additionally requires that companies establish a multidisciplinary R&D department that is sufficiently agile to adapt to changing market tastes and regulatory constraints.” “Metals Industry: Growth Strategies to Outlast Commoditization.” Strategy&, February 2017

What Trends Are Driving This

  • Digital Prototyping
  • Agile Development
  • Preemptive Troubleshooting
  • Dynamic Logistics

The 30+ page report includes:

  • Insights into the evolving manufacturing landscape and how to prepare for increased supply chain pressure
  • 5 forward thinking scenarios illustrating the digital landscape
  • 10 trends shaping connected manufacturing
  • Four industry disruptors influencing makers
  • Actionable takeaways for business and information technology decision makers

In partnership with Microsoft, PSFK presents the Future Of Manufacturing report, an opportunity playbook that explores a new era of supply chain management and the technologies that enable faster, more agile manufacturing operations. Tune into psfk.com for a 10-week in-depth look at expert insights, key findings and detailed scenarios, or download the full report here.

The research and development process is a cornerstone of manufacturing: determine what customers want and how best to make it. With ever-changing markets and technology, R&D teams face increasingly quick turnarounds in order to generate products to meet demand. Good products start with effective communication, and R&D must collaborate with groups across the manufacturing spectrum, from engineering, to supply, to quality assurance and, on the other side, the consumer.

+consumer goods
+future of manufacturing
+manufacturing
+Market Research
+Market Research
+Microsoft
+Research and development
+retail
+technology

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