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The correct chemistry

A specialty chemical company is using a product development system from Sopheon to improve innovation and drive growth. Surface Specialties has been using the solution for six months at 12 locations in Europe, the United States and Asia.

A division of UCB Group, Surface Specialties is using Sopheon's Accolade as the backbone for a structured, measurable innovation process. The system is aimed at improving productivity, increasing revenue generated from new products and deriving more value from the company's product portfolio, according to a recent news release from Sopheon. The goal is to achieve a 20% productivity gain in 2004 and a 10% increase annually thereafter.

"The economic slowdown, our growth through acquisition and our focus on new applications areas together presented a clear opportunity to craft and deploy a product development system that would build on our legacy of innovation and reputation for technical excellence," says Jan Vandendriessche, global R&D director of Surface Specialties.

Bau Michelet, innovation process manager at Surface Specialties, says, "Results from the pilot and rollout implementations have validated the solution's suitability to our needs. It met all of our objectives for increasing collaboration; creating transparency around project progress; supporting key go/no go, prioritization and acceleration decisions; and providing flexibility and user friendliness."

In choosing the new system, Surface Specialties sought a framework that would allow it to manage its product development efforts from idea generation to post-commercialization. The deployment includes a process modeler that automates the product development process and helps to ensure its 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 see where and when to allocate project resources; and portfolio management functionality that supports the early identification of product winners and losers.

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