More customised products, enhanced process interconnection between engineering sub-departments

The desire for customised products impacts on every department in a manufacturing company. Such are the findings of the 2017 study report: 'The variant management balancing act – how do you master complexity and product diversity?'

In March this year, we.CONNECT Global Leaders surveyed 141 decision-makers and experts in the field of variant and product management and associated areas. When asked about the primary factor influencing variant management, the most frequent response was 'more specific customer requirements' (64 per cent). Some 58 per cent were also of this opinion in 2016. Similarly, in terms of the drivers of product- and production-based process optimisation, 'more customised products' again tops the ranking list with 48 per cent of the responses. Moreover, a clear majority of those surveyed expect product variance to increase.

Consequently, the development already well under way is set to continue. In just the past three years the number of variants has increased considerably for 43 per cent of those surveyed, with a further 32 per cent reporting a slight increase. The importance placed on variant management is therefore commensurately high, with 65 per cent rating it as a complex challenge and 27 per cent as a continuous re-organisation process. Progress in this field was, however, judged to be somewhat lower than in 2016. Moreover: although 18 per cent of respondents are satisfied or highly satisfied with the IT solution applied, more than half still see potential for optimisation. "We are currently experiencing a period of change," stated camos CEO Michael Hüllenkremer. "On the one hand, the nature of demand is experiencing a seismic shift. While, on the other hand, companies are not always reacting with the requisite consistency. This presents an opportunity to create a competitive edge with universal IT support".

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