Internal silos aren’t limited to data. Often, stakeholders in the NPI process are focused on their own part of the process and their own performance metrics. They focus only on quality, or on purchasing, but not the holistic process. And every stage of NPI is critical to success, even if it seems isolated. When people can more easily see the big picture, they know what’s coming and see how even minor disruptions might result in huge costs.
The Challenge: Unstructured Information Across Complex Systems
Most manufacturers today are collaborating with their direct material suppliers on critical business processes via email and spreadsheets. This includes supplier quality management, Strategic Sourcing, APQP, PPAP, non-conformities, supplier tooling, VA/VE, and order management. While some of these companies have attempted to leverage ERP systems, the reality is that ERPs don’t store or manage most of the information necessary for these tasks.
As a result, essential operational data is collected in spreadsheets and stored in SharePoint drives—or even worse—on employee laptops. Spreadsheets are out-of-date the moment they are completed, which ultimately leads to a vast amount of inaccurate and non-standardized data. When working from out-of-date or conflicting information, manufacturers are exposed to severe risk. Having limited visibility into what’s actually happening in the upstream supply chain can result in costly surprises.
The complex business processes of a new program launch span multiple departments and include collaboration with external suppliers. Forward-looking companies are realizing the benefit of integrated management of this data, but until recently, there were few options capable of managing the New Product Introduction process.
NPI Portal: A Single Source of the Truth
In an NPI portal, all supplier-related business processes and data are integrated into a seamless application creating a single source of information. It is stored in a database that drives alerts and workflow automation, and supports a variety of predictive analytics. Data from every point in the NPI process is integrated in real-time, with an easy-to-use data visualization layer.
The portal delivers up-to-the-minute visibility into activities taking place throughout the supply chain. In particular, an NPI portal helps manufacturers derive real business value by addressing challenging questions such as:
- What is driving up cost from launch to production?
- Which suppliers represent the highest risk?
- What is the root cause of expedited costs?
- Where is the next supplier related crisis likely to occur?
- Why is there too much or too little inventory?
An NPI portal ensures all departments and stakeholders are working with the latest, up-to-date information—complete with alerting— keeps the New Product Introduction process moving forward and drives improvements in time-to-market, costs, and performance quality.