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Leverage software solutions for better product development

The use of cutting-edge product life cycle management software solutions, such as Centric PLM, provides a host of advantages for the supply chain, from manufacturers to retailers. Adam McCleery writes.  

Centric Software’s flagship product life cycle management (PLM) solution is developed for the consumer goods industries, including food, retail, apparel, cosmetics, and personal care, and more.

Centric PLM empowers brands, retailers, and manufacturers to streamline and optimise their product development processes, from ideation and design to manufacturing and retail.

The platform allows teams to collaborate more effectively, manage product and compliance data, track progress, and ensure that products are brought to market efficiently and
on time.

By centralising product information and work flows, Centric Software’s solutions enable companies to improve product quality, reduce time to market, and adapt to changing market demands more effectively. 

They also offer modules tailored to specific industry needs, such as materials management, sourcing, quality management, and retail execution.

Overall, Centric Software aims to empower businesses to innovate, increase efficiency, and drive growth through better management of their product development processes.

A Product Information Form (PIF) is a document used in various industries, particularly in sectors like cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals.

“The best way to talk about PIF is with regards to suppliers of ingredients, manufacturers of finished goods, supermarkets, all these different entities and separate companies, is to say a PIF is the ideal way to exchange information about food in a standard way,” said Graham Jones, Centric Software sales director – Australia/New Zealand. 

It contains comprehensive information about a product’s formulation, manufacturing process, safety data, and regulatory compliance. PIFs are typically required by participants in the supply chain to ensure that products meet safety standards and legal requirements before they can be marketed or sold.

“For example, how does an ingredients supplier communicate to a manufacturer exactly what the ingredient has, its nutrients, its allergens, whether it’s kosher, and so on,”
said Jones.

“For this, there needs to be a standard way to achieve this and have this information on hand, that is Product Information Form. The PIF is a standard statement that can be exchanged between two companies.”

Overall, PIFs serve as a centralised repository of information about a product, helping raw material and ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, regulators, and other stakeholders assess its safety and compliance with relevant regulations and standards.

The PIF is a way of getting ingredient information in to your organisation and sending it out finished product information, but it is not the full story, which is where the PLM comes in.

Image: VicenSanh/AdobeStock

Centric PLM provides a centralised digital platform where teams can collaborate, communicate, and track the development of products from concept to market. 

It offers functionalities for product design, development, sourcing, planning, quality management, and collaboration among different stakeholders involved in the product life cycle. This includes designers, product developers, suppliers, manufacturers, merchandisers, and retailers.

“A PLM is where you keep everything, its one source of truth,”
said Jones.

“That means the information that’s in the PIF, but also all the other relevant and important information. The recipes, the ingredients, labelling, packaging, cost price, sell price. All the details that are important.” 

Essentially, a PLM is a systematic approach to managing the entire life cycle of a product, from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. 

It involves the coordination of people, processes, business systems, and information to ensure that products are developed and brought to market efficiently, cost-effectively, and with high quality.

PLM software systems, like those offered by Centric Software, help organisations manage these stages by providing tools for product data management, collaboration, workflow automation, and analytics. 

These systems enable cross-functional teams to work together more effectively, track project progress, manage changes, and ensure that products meet quality, cost, and time-to-market objectives.

Overall, PLM aims to optimise product development processes, reduce time and costs, improve product quality, and enhance competitiveness in
the marketplace.

Centric PLM does exactly this. 

It enables food brands and producers to streamline product development, enhance the launch of new products, establish organisational structure, eliminate inefficiencies to reduce costs, foster innovation, and accelerate time
to market.

With Centric PLM, businesses gain access to a centralised digital hub for real-time tracking and management of product data. 

This platform facilitates collaboration with retailers and suppliers, fuels product innovation, and simplifies the management of formulation changes and ingredient traceability. From there, the research and development team get involved to help move things along the next stages of development and production.

In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, Centric PLM equips food and beverage producers with the competitive advantage they need
to succeed.

“In food and beverage, the new product idea often comes from the supermarkets,” said Jones. 

“They see a gap in the market and will go to a manufacturer and tell them what they want so they can fill that gap. The PLM is the beginning of that. As it stands, more than 18,000 brands and more than 815 companies use and trust Centric PLM.

“It’s a brief that is handled by sales or marketing, but that must go somewhere to be developed.”

From there, the research and development team get involved to help move things along the next stages of development and production. 

“The R&D team get familiar with the details before finding all the required stake-holders to develop that product solution,” said Jones. 

“Then there is collaboration between the customer and the manufacturer to get the desired product. The whole process is part of the life cycle.”

“Then it gets sent downstream to other systems to produce these goods, and Centric’s PLM is there from the beginning of the idea until the product is approved for manufacturing.”

As it stands, more than 18,000 brands and more than 815 companies use and trust Centric PLM. 

In the wake of the global pandemic, which caused the industry to adapt and pivot, and changing consumer demand, means food and beverage manufacturers have to be more agile and flexible
than ever.  

Being able to follow these trends and meet the demand early creates a string of benefits for both the manufacturer and the retailer. Using Centric PLM offers a perfect tool to help achieve this goal with all relevant development and production information at your fingertips. 

The various advantages provided by the using Centric PLM can be broken down in several categories:

One source of truth and one user interface – including for PIF information

Improved collaboration

Speed time to market

Harmonisation of product data

Staying close to consumers

Managing growth

“The PLM goes from idea to approved product and the PIF is a connector,” said Jones. 

“The benefits of the PLM itself include accuracy. Without a PLM people use spread-sheets, email and sharing documents which can lead to lots of issues.”

Jones said having all relevant product information on hand, from its development right up to the most up to date changes, was of huge benefit.

“With a PLM you can search and find any relevant information quickly. You can also check cost prices, ingredients, all of it,” he said. 

“That one source of truth is invaluable. Everything is also version controlled. It gets more and more important when it comes to compliance, which is very important in the food and beverage industry.”  

To learn more about Centric PLM, visit www.centricsoftware.com

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