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Innovation in New Product Development

By DE Editors

Software provider Sopheon (Minneapolis, MN; sopheon.com) has announced that Surface Specialties UCB, a unit of pharmaceutical and specialty chemical company, UCB Group, has deployed Sopheon’s Accolade product development system in 12 locations in 8 countries across Europe, the U.S. and Asia

Surface Specialties is using the system as the backbone for a structured, measurable innovation process aimed at improving productivity, increasing revenue generated from new products and deriving more value from its product portfolio. It has set a goal of achieving a 20 percent productivity gain in 2004 and a 10 percent increase annually thereafter. 

UCB Group created Surface Specialties in 2003 by combining its existing chemicals and films divisions with the resins, additives and adhesives offerings obtained through its acquisition of the resins business of Solutia.  The newly formed business unit subsequently decided to enhance its innovation process by implementing Stage-Gate, a widely used product development methodology.  Surface Specialties sought to formalize and automate the process through the use of software technology.  According to Sopheon, the organization conducted a competitive review of five product life cycle management (PLM) solutions and selected its Accolade product, primarily for its ease-of-use, high user acceptance, its ability to strengthen portfolio management, as well as its compatibility with the Stage-Gate process. 

Following a brief pilot implementation, Surface Specialties completed roll out of the system in 90 days.

Surface Specialties UCB’s  Accolade deployment includes a process modeler that automates the product development process and helps to ensure its successful implementation through built-in, best-practices content; idea management tools that capture, track and enable objective evaluation of product ideas; resource planning capabilities that allow executives and teams to clearly see where and when to allocate project resources; and portfolio management functionality that supports the early identification of product winners and losers.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of today’s specialty chemical manufacturers,” said Andy Michuda, chief executive officer of Sopheon.  “Industry leaders such as Surface Specialties are evaluating and implementing Accolade not simply to enhance process.  Most view our product development system as an integral part of a comprehensive, organizational commitment to building a platform that will sustain innovation, generate product portfolio value and drive growth.  The fact that Accolade is now in use at 33 chemical and chemical-related companies around the world is testimony to the viability of a system that has been designed to directly impact the ability of such manufacturers to reach their top-line business goals.”

For more information about Sopheon and Accolade, visit the company’s website.

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DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.