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    GMA Selects Accenture, IRI to Study Product Lifecycle Management Processes

    An effective PLM strategy promotes company performance.

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association said yesterday it has chosen Accenture and Information Resources Inc. (IRI) to conduct an in-depth study of successful product lifecycle management (PLM) processes as a way of driving brand innovation and growth.

    The study, sponsored by the GMA Information Systems Committee, will look at the entire lifecycle of a product, from conception through discontinuation, and the importance of working across departmental lines in winning PLM strategies.

    "In an economy that is undergoing profound transformation, where all manufacturers must revisit every business approach, it is critically important to focus on what consumers will buy and why," noted GMA president and CEO Pamela Bailey. "An effective PLM strategy enhances company performance by ensuring that CPG makers are delivering the products consumers want and scaling back or retiring items that are no longer in demand."

    Accenture and IRI will conduct both online surveys and in-depth interviews with experts in consumer and market research, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, IT and category management. The study will additionally address what new product introductions were most successful in recent years and why. Based on analysis of this information and the collective insights of Accenture and IRI, the final report will recommend successful PLM practices and cross-functional collaboration models especially for the CPG industry. The study will also identify solution-based roles that IT professionals can play in the successful conception, launch, development and completion of the overall PLM process.

    "The IT function is an essential cog in the PLM machine in that many of the tools and services IT departments provide help facilitate the process," explained Gerrit Schutte, CIO and SVP of ConAgra Foods and GMA IS Committee member. "If we can more fully understand the collaborative role all departments play in PLM, we will be better equipped to serve them."

    The report, known tentatively as "CPG Innovation and Growth: The Impact of Product Lifecycle Management Processes and Information Technology Strategies," is scheduled for release in March 2009, with the major findings slated for presentation at the GMA Information Systems/Logistics Distribution Conference, which will be held this year in April in Miami.

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