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Intelligent industry enables agile for new product introduction

Abhi (Abhishek) Dhir
22 Aug 2022

An agile new-product introduction process and faster time to market can enhance an organization’s financial condition.

Is intelligent industry enabling agility for new-product introduction (NPI) in the manufacturing industry? As the business world pivots its focus to new and innovative ways to retain customers and remain competitive, it is important to introduce disruptive and profitable products. As per a Capgemini Research Institute survey  published in 2021, 72 percent of organizations in 2020 say employees can collaborate digitally with other employees, and 67 percent of organizations actively promote the exploration of new ideas and experimentation, compared to only 35 percent in 2018.

The NA manufacturing industry faces many challenges, including:

  • Suppliers in the medical equipment and PPE industries need to increase stakeholder collaboration for product development, with a rapid spike in demand.
  • The aircraft industry is trying to cope with the sudden downfall in demand and is looking for fuel-efficient and more reliable product development by collecting real-time performance data.
  • With the work-from-home model, consumers are spending more time at home, leading to an increase in innovative products from white-goods manufacturers.
  • Several OEMs have tried to demonstrate manufacturing agility by shifting from their core product domain to manufacturing medical components.

Keys to building an agile manufacturing industry  

The future of NPI is a cultural shift towards disruptive ways of manufacturing, and successful organizations must master agility to generate rapid and continuous customer-centric innovations. Flexibility in digital technologies can lead to systematic change in manufacturing management, with a focus on customer delight, building self-managed teams, and valuing the need for continuous improvement. The results can be: 

  • Visualization of key performance indicators of the product in development
  • Decentralized decision making by product developers
  • Real-time collaboration across remote stakeholders to enable faster product conceptualization and scale-up of manufacturing.

Intelligent industry addresses challenges that prevent agile new-product introduction. Manufacturing leaders can plan to overcome the traditional hurdles by digitally transforming manufacturing processes. Immersive technologies in virtualization, such as AR/VR and machine learning, can be leveraged for idea generation, tooling design, prototyping with sustainable materials, and assembly simulation for Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA). 

Cloud technologies like IIoT, edge empowerment and cloud computing, predictive analytics, blockchain, and 5G can be adopted for new-product performance and quality validation. These technologies feature high speed and low latency to provide process automation and rapid decision making with actionable insights into connected operations, products, suppliers, and customers. Digital tools can enable faster time to market, ensuring speed and agility for fulfilling higher expectations of customers.  

NA manufacturers require strategic focus on agility to introduce new products to market. This should start with integrating traditional systems like Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Enterprise Quality Management Systems (EQMS), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and so on. Further, by building digital twins, manufacturers can deploy digital versions of processes in the physical world, through digital convergence of edge sensors, systems, social-media platforms, and online marketplaces. Resulting cybersecurity risks to intellectual property can be addressed by implementing privacy-enhancing computation technology.

Intelligent industry solutions empower agile and virtual work with collaboration of cross-functional teams. This can elevate performance of NPI to previously unattainable levels, fueling a paradigm shift in the new product introduction process. 

Meet the author

Abhi (Abhishek) Dhir

Head of Manufacturing MU, Capgemini NA