Better, Faster, Smarter CPG Innovation

By Rosemary
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Maintaining financial viability while delivering innovative, environmentally-sustainable products may be the most important business issue confronting Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies today.

Faced with a global recession, ever-changing consumer preferences, and higher development costs, CPG leaders want solutions that provide Better…Faster…Smarter innovation.

Leading CPG companies are finding success deploying Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) practices. As a strategic pillar for creating business growth, PLM enables:

Better innovation while providing open, yet directed collaboration across the enterprise, and with consumers and suppliers

Faster innovation through efficient use of internal and external resources and repeatable phase-gate processes

Smarter innovation by efficiently capturing and re-using intellectual property (IP) and value chain capabilities throughout the product development process

PLM practices drive organic growth by linking a company’s innovation engine intrinsically to its business strategy and empowering management.

“How do we develop new, successful, and environmentally-sustainable products, at a competitive price, and increase profitability at the same time?”

Stay tuned! I’ll be tackling this question in a blog series over the coming weeks . . .



What Did You Consume Today?

By Tim
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Have you ever stopped to count the number of store-bought packages you open in a day; in a week; or even a full year? Think about everything you consume and the list of products will get pretty long, pretty quick:

  • Drink bottles
  • Food containers
  • Snack bags
  • Boxes of cereal
  • Toys
  • Toothpaste
  • Electronics
  • Candy
  • Medicine
  • . . . and the list goes on and on.

These products and more are part of the multi-trillion dollar Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry which includes food and beverages, tobacco, cleaning products, as well as hygiene and beauty products. The packaging for these product have to be designed strong enough to make it from the factory to your home without being damaged – yet provide a pleasant, convenient experience that makes you rush back to the store and buy more week after week.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how product manufacturing companies came up with the package that you’re ripping into? Too often, opening a package is hard and clumsy, and it makes you go ‘grrrr’. I am sure we can all relate to some of the videos and photos at the “Wrap Rage” gallery at

In the past few years, many CPG companies have been putting significant effort into developing extremely innovative and easy-to-open packages. Some of the development is being driven by environmental concern, but many advancements are being driven by the need to improve the safety and ease-of-opening for an aging consumer population. The Swedish Rheumatism Association has recently commended Scan AB for several of its different easy-to-open food packs. One of these packs is the Amcor Push Pop, an innovative new packaging design, which Scan has used for their delicatessen meatballs called Delikatesskottbullar.

You’d be amazed at the level of sophisticated research, engineering, design, and manufacturing that goes into the design of product packaging, let alone the actual product inside. Things we take for granted are thoroughly researched. When it comes to product packaging, designers and engineers have to determine if the package can be manufactured. They seek answers to a wide range of questions, like:

  • Can it survive the manufacturing process?
  • Will the container break or leak during transportation?
  • Will it be easy to open yet reseal effectively?

Silgan Containers recently announced that they are using Abaqus FEA software to predict “real-life” performance of its cans with a high degree of accuracy before a single container is manufactured. Alvin Widitora, director of new product development, Silgan Containers explains,

We have validated our modeling and simulation process up to a 97% level of accuracy that the actual container will perform as predicted. That means that we can take a lot of the guesswork out before we get to the tooling stage.

Check out the complete Silgan press release here.

It’s pretty amazing that CPG companies are using the same realistic simulation technology that is used to evaluate the performance of airplanes, cars, nuclear power plants, and medical devices. And their simulations are very sophisticated and include; virtual drop testing, top loading analysis, manufacturing line simulation, squeezing pressure, fluid-structure interaction, as well as adhesive and forming simulations.

It’s not surprising that with so many simulations being performed, that consumer packaged goods companies are looking for ways to capture their valuable simulation processes and data. A couple of weeks ago, SIMULIA announced that Proctor & Gamble had selected their simulation lifecycle management solution. According to Tom Lange, Director, Corporate R&D Modeling and Simulation, Procter & Gamble,

SIMULIA SLM will help our global teams accelerate innovation by providing access to simulation tools, validated processes and corporate knowledge bases throughout the product lifecycle.

You can read the SIMULIA press release on P&G here:

So, when you’re opening your next hundred packages or enjoying some conveniently packed Swedish meatballs, I hope you’ll have a little better appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes to get those convenient products into your hands.



PLM as the Enterprise Backbone Part 2: Product Portfolio & Program Management

By Brian
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Imagine a group of automotive executives sitting around a table and examining a new vehicle on-screen presented in its entirety as a totally accurate geometric 3-D virtual model. They are discussing the windshield. Using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) technology and simulation, they have uncovered an issue.

There is going to be a problem inserting the windshield into place, which will either bump up the cost of the vehicle program or require a revision of the design. The initial windshield design was based on new styling, safety and fuel efficiency concepts which are to be used to differentiate the vehicle’s brand. It is critical to the company’s strategy that this be preserved.

Resources from other projects need to be realigned to complete the rework for both the product design and the manufacturing and assembly processes, and the windshield vendor and suppliers of adjoining components need to be notified of the change and involved in resolving the issue. Finally, cost saving opportunities need to be assessed across the whole vehicle program to maintain adherence to the program’s business targets. There are multiple derivatives (2-door, 4-door, convertible) and regional variants for individual country regulatory requirements that will need to be included in the assessment.

Planning the future rather than reflecting the past
This blog article continues the discussion of PLM as the Enterprise Backbone: Emerging with Advantage, with a focus on portfolio and program management capabilities offered by an enterprise approach to PLM. A PLM enterprise backbone anchors all enterprise systems (ERP, SCM, MRP, CRM) around a forward view of a company’s product and market strategy.

Competitive corporations establish their market strategies based on their portfolio of products, and their manufacturing and sourcing strategies that support them. Using ERP or MRP systems as the enterprise backbone would be equivalent to driving out of your rear-view mirror, and would reflect an emphasis on yesterday’s strategies and product lines.

Companies that position new and innovative products will lead coming out of the current economic downturn, over those that simply retrench and rationalize their previous products, manufacturing footprints, and supply chains. Today’s challenging economic times necessitate tighter data mastering and integration across these mission critical systems. It is the ability to manage a product portfolio with program management capabilities that enables this forward looking market capability at the enterprise level.

Product Portfolio and Program Management processes need to be managed and configured based on strategic alignment, financials, revenue and market segmentation analyses, as well as the:

  • Customer needs and market requirements for each targeted market segment
  • Product architectures, product lines and product derivatives / configurations
  • Manufacturing strategies and tooling platforms
  • Sourcing and standard parts strategies

Here is Product Portfolio and Program Management reduced to its essential elements:


A. Analysis includes defining business and market needs, requirements and technical targets across product, manufacturing and sourcing functions.

Executives assess risk versus opportunity for each initiative through financial analyses. Simulations are run on product and manufacturing models to validate the platform strategies and to define the approved parts and tooling / assembly components into a master catalog. PLM tools provide an integrated capability to track market requirements through the configurable cross-systems design (powertrain, electrical / electronic, entertainment, heating / cooling, braking, etc), and their simulation analysis of the functional and logical architectures as well as manufacturing systems.

B. Planning and Control takes this analysis capability through a process to define the product / market strategy, and the required product and manufacturing platforms and sourcing programs that define product portfolio.

Strategy Review Board and Investment Review Board processes manage ongoing portfolio investments and decision making. The PLM tools enable the workflow and approval processes, while providing 3D models of the products and manufacturing systems for those reviews, as well as the ability to define the sourcing strategies and aggregated spend opportunities afforded by the product and manufacturing platforms.

C. Product Development and Launch Execution Systems use the parts and supplier master data defined by this strategic portfolio to quote, design and solve project and launch issues and customer orders.

A central data base contains the parts and supplier masters, but also the product and manufacturing portfolio data, as well as all the product and manufacturing simulation and test data used to define and execute the business strategies. Strategic management of the product portfolio is actively maintained by business line and product line executives, against their rolling business plans.

How parts and assemblies for the products get requirements defined, parts sourced, selected or designed, and manufactured determines the overall cost, timing and quality of any given product launch. In addition, acquisitions can be more effectively consolidated into ongoing operations and product-market strategies if the enterprise PLM backbone has been mapped across product development, manufacturing and sourcing systems.

Current economic business cycles necessitate companies maintain a tight integration across their mission critical systems so that investments and projects can be appropriately prioritized and sized across the product portfolio. A key enterprise PLM capability for this is to have executive level dashboards that support management of the development pipeline to reprioritize or cancel projects in early phases, and to maintain ongoing oversight of strategic and mission critical programs.

Executives need to be able to assess risk versus opportunity for each product initiative, on an ongoing basis. For companies with severe risk and exposure on large-scale projects (for example in aerospace and defense, or large infrastructure projects), visibility to program status against contract deliverables is often critical.

Dassault Systèmes PLM solutions support resolving my opening scenario of the windshield insertion issue. Having done the analysis and planning work described above, management of the product program and its derivatives as an integrated portfolio of projects in a PLM environment should be straight forward. A single view access to the related derivatives and regional variants can be accessed through the PLM solution, and resources can be reassigned from lower priority or less strategic programs.

  • Interactive live 3D model review and revision sessions can be held on the internet with globally dispersed teams, both internal to the OEM, and with the vehicle program’s affected suppliers.
  • Design alternatives can be directly reviewed against the program requirements to assure adherence to the costs, styling, branding and energy efficiency objectives tasked to the program.
  • Simulations and analyses can be run on the revised parts, and compared directly with the prior tests and analyses.
  • Issue tracking can provide an ability to directly reassess program and launch readiness to make sure that all critical items are addressed and closed out prior to production ramp-up.

This description of product and program portfolio management is the initial foundation of enterprise PLM.

Having enabled the analysis and planning capabilities through PLM, companies are then poised to reap the greatest advantages PLM offers for sourcing, extended enterprise collaboration, eco-design / sustainability, regulatory compliance, and integrated new product market launch.

Stay tuned to the next article in this series; I will cover the basis of direct materials sourcing and extended enterprise collaboration, when PLM is positioned as the enterprise backbone.



P.S. For more information you may enjoy:

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