Excellence as a product development manager is dependent on making smarter decisions quickly. For many in the fashion industry, where companies are increasing the pressure to deliver more products at a faster rate, the need to optimize performance with accuracy and speed is paramount. This is particularly important for product development managers starting new jobs, at a new company, where it is often difficult to tell where they are in the development process.
In order to know what is working and to course-correct underperforming activities, product developers need real-time access to product data as it moves through the development process (for example with apparel industry plm system). This is achievable when every department in the workflow is able to communicate around the same information at the same time. Managing from a single source of truth reduces errors and accelerates delivery times.
Getting things right requires product development managers to be successful at collaborative planning with their teams, as well as having true visibility over the workflow and access to tools that provide precise and timely reports. Knowing how to leverage the interplay between the people, process and technology driving the product development process is key to making better, time sensitive decisions that influence the bottom line.
Three steps to achieving a seamless and efficient product development process
Breaking silos and fostering collaborative planning
Product development managers are able to determine an ideal course of action to achieve their goals when they can gather input from stakeholders and empower collaborators to share information. For example, estimating material costs and sourcing is faster when everyone associated with the lifecycle of the product can clearly understand the market category of the product, the quality of materials needed to produce the product and the sequence in which they need to be available.
Gaining visibility and control of the entire process
The ability to view the status of every product and identify where in the process they are gives product development managers the power to increase speed and efficiency by assigning the right employee for the right tasks. This can lead to fewer errors, lower costs and improved outcomes. In addition, visibility makes it easier to prioritize projects, resolve issues and prepare in advance any documents required for pricing, marketing or legal. Gaining control of the entire process enables managers to organize and streamline their workflow to produce more in a shorter time without compromising on quality.
Measuring, monitoring and optimizing performance
The fundamental mantra of high-performing managers seeking to get the most value out of their process is, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” For product developers working in the fashion industry, this imperative is critical to the growth of their companies and for achieving success in their profession. To lead the competition fashion companies must have the ability to generate reports to track efficiency and make the necessary changes to improve their performance. The sign of a great product development manager is their ability to test, track, and report with greater accuracy how their products move through the various stages of the product lifecycle
Success in advancing organizational goals, such as increasing development speed, achieving quality standards, and controlling operational costs is only achievable by knowing in real-time where exactly products are in the development process.
Managers seeking to make winning decisions with confidence will need to reduce the complexity and ambiguity in their existing workflow by breaking down operational silos; gaining a unified view of the product lifecycle; and reporting on their overall performance with greater accuracy.