Develop a new product category, hire an analyst firm to conduct some market research, and show how your new product provides benefits to customers. We see it in some “scientific” studies and also studies broadcast on TV advertisements. Here is one by a company called Makersite who touts their new approach called product lifecycle intelligence (PLI).

Makersite, a software company pioneering a new approach to sustainable product design and sourcing, released research conducted by Forrester Consulting, titled “Transform Product Sustainability into Performance Initiatives with Product Lifecycle Intelligence,” that reveals over half of organizations’ sustainability efforts are driven by regulations despite the benefits from adopting more sustainable product lifecycle intelligence (PLI).

Once again we are eliminating data silos. After more than 15 years of writing about products doing just that, I cannot believe it’s still a problem. It’s like the companies relying on complex Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to manage production. Oops, many still do that, too.

Currently, manufacturers struggle to translate compliance initiatives into making informed decisions during the product design phase due to outdated data systems and data silos. The study, commissioned by Makersite, shows that by implementing PLI to integrate data held within their systems, product engineers in the design phase can create products that are more sustainable (30%), have faster time-to-market (28%), and reap higher profits (26%). 

The 2024 study, which included insights from 493 respondents with product design and sourcing decision-makers in manufacturing, also pointed to several operational improvements including the ability to support product lifecycle decisions with better data quality (29%), improved visibility of materials and component supply chains (28%), and more efficient sustainability reporting (28%).

Engineers always have trouble translating their benefit calculations into language the C-suite understands—or even cares about.

Despite the benefits, however, respondents reported experiencing challenges while securing executive support for incorporating sustainability in PLI (53%), measuring and quantifying the environmental impact of their products (51%), and obtaining budget to gather material, component, and supplier intelligence integral to optimizing their product’s quality, cost, and sustainability (50%). These difficulties are a manifestation of poor maintenance of availability, cost, sustainability, and performance data in manufacturers’ material and component libraries – an issue for 49% of decision-makers.

For more insight into the impact of product lifecycle intelligence, download the full commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Makersite: “Transform Product Sustainability into Performance Initiatives with Product Lifecycle Intelligence.”

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