Adept management of your company’s new products portfolio requires high-level oversight of every aspect of the merchandising process, from preliminary product ideation all the way through to the final specifications for each seasonal product line. As the size of your portfolio increases, so too does the challenge of managing the decision-making process to maximize product line profitability with the right mix of in-demand products. Objective, fact-based product assessments and comparisons are essential for informing your decisions on whether to drop or move forward with each product in the portfolio. To simplify this complex and detail-laden process as much as possible, focus your efforts on these five fundamental tasks:
Create and maintain an interactive, web-based seasonal merchandising plan that allows you to see your entire product line on a single screen.
Direct access to accurate and complete product development data is the cornerstone of effective product line decision-making. An online merchandise planning system provides a shared data platform for your merchandising and design teams; it also captures the up-to-date information you need to make timely product line decisions in response to fluid market trends. Flexible data query capabilities enable on-screen views and comparisons of data for individual products and for groups of products filtered according to specific attributes.
Set financial goals by defining the target profit for each product category, geographic region, and/or market segment.
Making budget for the overall product line for the selling season is your key indicator of success. To achieve this goal, it is essential to consider the vagaries of the market and define specific profit goals for unique product categories, geographic areas, and market segments.
Establish product-centric goals such as product count, carryover percentage, target retail price, and target margin for each product.
Define these goals for each product in the portfolio and share the data with your sourcing team early in the planning process so they can begin to identify suppliers that will meet product requirements at the desired price point. This gives your company a head start on the sourcing and costing of its complete product line.
Generate product placeholders automatically, driven directly by the top-level merchandising plan.
Designers take direction from the seasonal merchandising plan to create specifications for new products. Placeholders are used to set aside additional space in the portfolio for your designers to submit multiple product design alternatives for consideration.
Define seasonal themes including color and material palettes as well as styling based on anticipated consumer trends.
Seasonal products reflect subsets of your overall product line. Create seasonal themes by defining sets of specific colors, materials, and styles to associate with seasonal product lines.
Rather than relying on a combination of spreadsheets and ad hoc analysis to select products for upcoming seasonal product lines, today’s manufacturing leaders are making strategic investments in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems that leverage technology to facilitate more collaborative processes for defining and managing product portfolios. Successful PLM system implementations consistently lead to significant improvements in multiple business processes, resulting in measurable reductions in product development cycle times. No longer just for large manufacturers, PLM systems are now available for companies of all sizes. To learn how an automated PLM system aligns with your company’s product development requirements, please download our whitepaper explaining the twelve most important considerations for selecting a PLM system. If you are considering a PLM implementation and need help calculating the business value of a PLM system, please feel free to download the business case whitepaper.