Today, Commotion that surrounds the new product design starts almost 18 to 24 months ahead of the targeted go to the market season. The process begins with marketing, merchandising and sales teams getting together and taking stock of the past couple seasons; aggregating the numbers that reflect demand for certain styles and colors in a specific or all the categories. Several other relevant contributors and team members voice in their opinions creating outlines and instructions for the product designers. This also initiates initial conversations about what would be a hit for the season 'unknown'. We call it unknown because it is more than fifteen months out at that time. Designers usually are working on ideas of their own that affect the style, form factor and use of special materials.
These conversations and feedback today takes place using rudimentary, and inflexible tools like Google doc, or even using seemingly digital, but still unconnected file storage and file share tools like Dropbox or Sharefile. Especially, in apparel and footwear marketplace, it has almost become mandatory to take help of digital tools due to the disparate and global nature of this business. Rapid changes in the availability of various off the shelf tools and digital technologies have helped innovation and product design process, but many times lack of using it in a cohesive and coordinated manner defeats the true benefits of adapting to it.
Visulon's Brand Revue-Review application is a new product review and approval platform that takes care of deficiencies like that. The collaboration intended in this product comes from Internal and external groups and agencies who take responsibility to facilitate the review and approval of product designs.
Early stages of product design need a variety of inputs from global locations including sourcing, manufacturing, quality testing, prototyping, marketing, merchandising and even legal. Visulon's Brand Revue allows all these groups and agencies to securely log in, conduct series of reviews of various concepts, then comment and approve. All this can happen on the 'Whiteboard' that is showing the early stage product in a high-resolution image, with the ability to simultaneously comments on it from any corner of the world. All review comments and decisions are tracked, saved, distributed and then archived. Having a customized application improves the productivity and satisfies the legal and corporate needs of saving all the documentation for future use.
The prevalence of using random digital tools create confusion and disorientation. Using custom design applications that are fully web-based, allowing role based secured logins, and that can preserve all the project review notes, comments and team written interactions has tremendous functional value to bring the new product to market faster and cleaner.
In apparel and footwear industry time to market relates to cost, and all methods of using latest digital technologies that are made to make it dependable and easier should be utilized to add value to the process.