Getting together to get creative

Collaborative Product Commerce (CPC) – using the Internet to build a more efficient product development process by providing companies and departments with fast, convenient access to relevant information – is on the cusp of a dramatic popularity increase.

A recent report by Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc., “Beating the Competition with CPC”, predicts that the market for hardware, software and services

related to the nascent technology space will grow from US$3.2 billion in 2000 to more than $49 billion in 2005. According to the report, ever-increasing pressure on manufacturers to bring fresh products to market will force these companies to find new ways of gaining an edge on their competitors. In the past, companies have turned to enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain management as a means of staying ahead. CPC will become the next logical step, the report indicates, particularly as manufacturers move from a “make-to-stock” to a “build-to-demand” model.

According to Aberdeen, manufacturing itself is also in flux. Rather than creating and assembling all parts within a company, manufacturers now rely more heavily on building products based on modular components from a variety of suppliers. Using CPC, suppliers, manufacturers and customers can access information about a given product from a pool of shared information. The report notes that this pool can contain a variety of data, ranging from design information to customer feedback. By providing this information to everyone involved in the supply chain, development times and associated costs can drop significantly.