Orignally published on 2022-01-21 18:26:55 by www.forbes.com
Jon Hirschtick, EVP, PTC.
Manufacturing and product development touch everyone — from the freelancer in Brooklyn writing in a cafe to the farmer in the sub-Saharan desert working to irrigate fields.
At any given moment, we are surrounded by hundreds of products that come from manufacturing industries. Products that help us cook, travel, communicate, create and do business together. In essence, products make the world go round.
What’s not commonly known is the complex process to get these products from an idea to the hands of a consumer. Raw materials from all over the world come together for one iPhone. Designers from different countries work together to produce a kitchen appliance that bakes chicken wings perfectly.
Behind these products are designers, developers and innovators who rely on product development tools to get an idea from inception to your home. The right tools can unleash the next big idea — or inhibit a team’s ability to develop.
The New World Demands Agile
We are seeing a digital transformation at a rate like no other. And we have to keep up — there’s no going back.
For example, major automakers like Toyota and General Motors are slowing down production despite higher-than-predicted demand because of a microchip shortage. Some experts say this shortage will cost the auto industry billions of dollars and last through 2023.
But one automaker was able to think on its feet. Tesla rewrote its vehicle software to allow for alternative microchips. This flexibility, this agility, has kept the electric car company from vastly cutting down on production (and earnings).
Bottom line: Tesla’s business structure gave production teams the flexibility to source an alternative path. And this is playing out at every company where a team must work together to get things done and give themselves a competitive edge.
It’s not just automakers feeling the pressure to become more agile. Supplier shortages, remote work, dramatic swings in market demand, employee turnover and so many other pressures force today’s teams to find ways to respond — and to be agile. Now there’s an emphasis on the ability to redesign something, to change a part, to make a different product, to collaborate with different people, to work in different places, to be able to shift with the supply chain.
It’s become glaringly obvious that product developers need to embrace change and learn how to pivot to new solutions. It’s been decades of repaving the old paths and being tied to tools that just won’t cut it anymore.
It’s time for manufacturers to rethink the product development process and embrace the next generation of tools that will make teams agile enough to meet the demands of the future.
Agile Requires New Process And New Tools
Imagine if we still relied on the technologies of yesterday to achieve the things we do now? How would we work if a phone call was the only way to communicate with your team? Or if the only way to iterate on a product design is to go into the physical office?
Now, amid a digital transformation, we’ve quickly become used to the flexibility and ease of access to the vital information provided by newly adopted technological tools — many that are powered by the cloud.
Moving to a cloud SaaS (software as as service) environment has opened the flow of information among team members and enabled quick iteration of ideas — something the manufacturing and product development worlds badly need.
We saw how critical it is for businesses to adapt to a changing world. It’s time to tap into these new agile tools that can herald in reimagined new products, spur innovation and make a positive impact for everyone.