Industry News

Product Field Testing Apps

June 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

Rapid technology advancements have created a continuous stream of new services geared toward snow sports manufacturers. Now with today’s mobile industry, product testing technologies can allow consumers to understand what products will do for them and which products are the best value. Additionally, the snow sports manufacturer can now utilize mobile apps to seamlessly interact with product lifecycle management.

As an intro to Centric PLM’s Wednesday Webinar, I sat down them and learned a little more about product field testing and

  • TD: For those unfamiliar with the concept…what is field testing?

Centric: Field testing is the process of using product prototypes and samples in real world conditions to evaluate product characteristics like comfort, durability, and fit. Typically, the person using the product has the skill to push the product to the edge of it’s design parameters, and this person has the ability to describe issues and ideas that come up during the use of the product.

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TD: How can it help with product innovation?

Centric: For companies that produce performance products like running shoes, skis, helmets  or backpacks, field testing is an essential part of the innovation process. For example, early in the r&d process,  new materials must be evaluated to determine if they can meet the target performance requirements. It is very common for r&d teams to make product prototypes in multiple materials (or even use different materials in the same proto), and then for the team to have field testers evaluate the products in real world use. The results of the testing will be used to select material candidates for the development stage.  Also, field testing is very common during the product development and sourcing stages in order to verify new product ideas and robustness.

 

  • TD: Was this product developed because our consumer’s behavior has changed?

Centric: No. Customers with performance products are extensively using field testing in their processes. The change is that this process is typically not considered part of the PLM workflow because the field testers are not apart of the development organization. The field testers are typically not internal employees — they maybe sponsored athletes, outdoor professionals, or industry experts. They are selected because of their ability to exercise and “abuse” the products, and effectively communicate their feedback. With our field testing system, we are providing a way to extend the PLM process to include these testers, capture their feedback, and analyze the results to improve products.

 

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  • TD: Where do you think the future of snow sports PLM is going?

Centric: Big challenges for snow sports companies include ensuring the product meets the performance, comfort, and durability requirements for a target price point, and ensuring the target product sales and margin are achieved. PLM will help this by integrating merchandize planning deeper int o the PLM processes, expanding the testing and QA processes, tying into the sell through data generated in the sales campaigns, and providing tools to optimize MOQs.

 

Want to learn more about Centric PLM? Be sure to register for their next webinar on June 29th @ 2:00pm ET.

 

 

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