Having the right product mix has always been an ongoing challenge for discrete manufacturers. The trends associated with the digital economy have only intensified the challenges including the need for market driven customization. 

As customization becomes increasingly critical to acquire and maintain customers, product lines are a way to for discrete manufacturers to provide optionality, especially build-to-order products. Los Angeles-based Gocious is bringing a data-driven SaaS approach to managing product lines versus legacy spreadsheets, which lack functionality and are time consuming to maintain.

Gocious recently unveiled its Product Portfolio Roadmap, enabling product planning teams to plan and track entire product lines on a single platform, removing the need to update multiple sheets and documents

CTO Maziar Adl tells IndustryWeek, “Our mission is to help these organizations, define or decide what products to put into the market and what features make the most sense. There are a lot of manufacturing companies experiencing rapid growth,” he says. “As a result, they’re feeling the pressure to make market-based product decisions to keep pace with changing preferences. Spreadsheets do not cut it in these environments.”

Often the data manufacturers feed into the system centers on the products and their features specifications. “For instance, a car model may have a satellite navigation and entertainment system you want to tested out. The type of information would include whether it supports car play, the size of the screen, phone connectivity, etc,” says Adl. “A manufacturer can also include customer ratings and preferences which assist in scoring against a target. What do you want the rating to be so?”

Constant evolution

With its new roadmap, the goal is to enable discrete manufacturers to create a roadmap of features and products as they become available, with the ability to visualize a configuration timeline cataloguing major events such as feature changes or new product, in real-time. The need to manually stitch together disconnected documents is eliminated, since the roadmap ties directly back to the product line’s details.

“Developing products and getting them out to market at the rapid pace required for success today requires workflows that are efficient and transparent,” said Jake Shafran, chairman and CEO of Gocious. “We are finally providing product planning teams with the tools they need to perform their job within the modern market, overcoming prior shortfalls to foster collaboration, communication and unification across all of an organization’s stakeholders.”

The new offering enables product teams to collaborate, increase transparency and communicate changes to set the direction across the organization. Since the tool is cloud-connected and integrates with existing PLM systems, users will experience a more streamlined approach to product planning that reduces costly mistakes and time to market.

Road ahead

According to Adl, Gocious has its own roadmap for new capabilities.  “One thing that we’ve already started is competitive analysis enabling competitive feature data in a side-by-side format,” he says. “People do this today in spreadsheets, but the difference is, as your products evolve over time, it requires constant updating. Our objective is to provide an active system where as manufacturers make changes, all those reports are automatically updated with live feeds and market research.”