bright red commercial ship cutting through blue waters
PHOTO: Chris Pagan

We are all under growing pressure to be more innovative, deliver a better customer experience, and launch the latest products to market faster. Accelerating product development has proven difficult for many of the world’s largest companies. The biggest problem holding back these efforts is the tangled web of processes and workflows that have developed organically over the past decades.

Where technology has been introduced, it's been in a piecemeal fashion to solve particular problems at a functional level. Rarely is the impact on downstream processes considered, and it’s perhaps even rarer to consider how upstream processes can be improved to help solve the business challenge at hand.

Digital Transformation, From Product Design to Customer Experience

When we consider our digital transformation strategies we need to think beyond just transforming one existing functional technology for another that is equally siloed. We need to take a more holistic approach. We need to think of the full idea-to-shelf lifecycle, from product design through to customer experience.

Consider a traditional product manufacturing approach where most of the current processes are analog and physical in nature, and even those with some technology applied tend to be a reflection of the existing process steps. That doesn’t work anymore, especially in a time where efficiency and business continuity is paramount. Product designers can’t wait for new materials to ship from overseas nor can they design products without understanding material lead times and availability. Manufacturing and shipping physical prototypes and samples no longer makes sense in a world where 3-D modeling enables a much more collaborative and real-time design experience.

What happens when traditional manufacturing is shut down, materials and samples become unavailable? When employees are remote and the creation of new content slows at a time when it’s needed the most for digital marketing? It all places an even greater premium on existing digital assets.

In these cases having a well-designed and thought out digital supply chain becomes key. Digital can no-longer just be about automating the existing processes, it should be the catalyst for connecting content and data across the enterprise so it flows from idea, to design, creation, marketing, sales and all the way to delivering consistent, engaging omnichannel customer experiences.

Taking a product asset management (PAM) approach of connecting product data and content across the digital supply chain is key to a digital transformation strategy. The idea of the PAM approach is to pull the data from systems that are not currently integrated and associate that data with the core content. PAM provides the connective tissue that enables information to flow across the digital supply chain. This creates a more efficient digital supply chain and results in an increase in the value of your digital assets. And from an efficiency perspective we want project teams to be able to collaborate with a complete set of information in one unified space.

Related Article: 7 Critical Elements of a Successful Supply Chain

Build Your Digital Supply Chain

Using digital transformation efforts to build digital supply chains — providing ready access to critical visual assets and data throughout the product lifecycle from the initial point of ideation all the way to the shelf — is now a vital part of maintaining business continuity and positioning ourselves for growth in an increasingly omnichannel world.