Sopheon, the international software and services company, announced today that Riyadh-based Almarai, the Middle East's largest producer of dairy, fruit juices and bakery products, has selected Sopheon's Accolade product life cycle management (PLM) solution to support the company's efforts to enhance its product innovation and portfolio management processes. Almarai will deploy the Sopheon system enterprise-wide among users in research and development, business-line management, marketing and finance. It is the first Saudi Arabian manufacturer to adopt the software. The sale follows Sopheon's decision in 2009 to extend its business development efforts to the Gulf Region.
Almarai offers a highly diversified mix of products generated out of internal business groups and multiple joint ventures. During 2008, the company launched a strategic initiative called Almarai Innovation Management (AIM). Its goals included enabling a higher volume of new product introductions and increasing product development efficiency by facilitating collaboration among cross-functional product innovation teams. One of the resulting actions was a decision to implement Stage-Gate®, the widely used product development process and portfolio management methodology. Sopheon's Accolade was selected to automate the process based on criteria that included the software's strong alignment with Stage-Gate.
In addition to providing process automating capabilities, the Accolade modules being deployed by Almarai will furnish advanced support for product portfolio and resource management. The manufacturer expects to derive a range of advantages from its use of the Sopheon solution. Among them are more effective prioritization of product development projects, broader innovation process adoption, and the ability to consistently focus resources on the most commercially promising product opportunities.
"We are implementing Accolade as the standard for innovation process and portfolio management across the company," said Malcolm Jordan, general manager of quality and product development at Almarai. "As competition increases, our ability to maintain a position of market leadership depends upon sustained product diversification and innovation. Accolade will give us a clear view of what's in our portfolio pipeline, and provide the analytical support needed to make the right project choices to deepen our differentiation and consistently meet the needs and tastes of our consumers. In effect, it will allow Almarai to de-risk product innovation as a strategic component of its plans for continued, aggressive growth."
In a recent KPMG survey of global food and beverage manufacturers, 89% of the participating senior executives said that product innovation would be one of the top drivers of their company's near- to mid-term growth. "The principles of profitable innovation are the same, regardless of the business," said Bryan Seyfarth, solutions marketing director for Sopheon. "It's all about putting the right strategies in place, and having the commitment, resources and process rigor to execute those strategies successfully. Almarai has a long history of adhering to innovation governance best practices. They have made those practices a focal point of their business goals and philosophy. The business decision-support and process efficiencies that Accolade can provide are directly aligned with Almarai's requirements."
Nearly one-fifth of Sopheon's worldwide customer base is comprised of manufacturers in the food and beverage sector, including such industry leaders as Burger King, Cadbury-Kraft Foods, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo, SABMiller and Rich Products.
Stage-Gate is a registered trademark of the Product Development Institute
Sopheon Accolade® is a registered trademark of Sopheon plc.
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