How PLM Harmonizes Product Launches Across Brands


At Selerant's 2019 User Conference, a billion-dollar cosmetics and personal care customer shared best practices for using a PLM system like Devex to harmonize the product launch process across a massive global product portfolio.

If you’re a beauty industry mainstay on a mission to lead the industry into the next decade, product launches need to run like a well-oiled machine. This means getting all Operations, R&D and Regulatory teams on the same page and fully informed of Marketing’s vision for the launch. For a parent company with nearly several dozen brands in its portfolio, the challenge can be daunting.

Disconnected processes can lead to a rocky launch

The disjointed process means Ops teams regularly work with incomplete information, or “insufficient information to understand the magnitude of the launch”—which is how the Executive Director of New Product Development for a Selerant cosmetics and personal care customer put it.  As she further states, “If we don’t have the formula information to start with, and then the package information, we can’t proceed with the launch in a very methodical way. We needed a systemic way of working.”

Devex PLM is being utilized to harmonize the product launch process. “Different brands work differently, so we needed to create a new process to harmonize the way we worked with new launches.” The Devex system was designed to  codify the process by which critical information for each product launch is disseminated, in areas such as:

  • What’s the scope of the launch?
  • Where will the product launch, and when? In how many phases?
  • What’s the cost target?
  • Will the product be OTC?
  • How long will the product be on the market?
  • Do we need multiple language groups?

The ultimate goal of this company is to use PLM technology in order to architect a world class end-to-end launch process that delivers sustainable results. Within this company, this means clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each task that serves to create clarity and trust in the overall process. 

Transitioning to smooth launch processes with PLM

The rollout of Devex was a collaborative effort between all brands and all departments. “At several points, we had a room of 30 to 40 people where we’d virtually simulate the workflow within the application associated with the process that was being defined, said the executive in charge of the technical rollout.  “Then we’d do the same thing within the system during conference room pilots”

Prior to the global rollout for this cosmetics manufacturer, some brands had already been using  Devex on an opportunistic basis; however, others brand managers were relying on either project management software or spreadsheets.   

After the global rollout—which kicked off in November 2018 and wrapped up barely eight months later—everyone in the organization was on the same page. The unified approach of brand launch through Devex included product development, packaging, operations, procurement, transportation, commercialization, manufacturing, quality and set assembly—as well as the marketing, product development, and R&D teams.

“Everyone is collaborating inside Devex and everybody is participating,” the Executive Director of New Product Development said. There is a very clear definition to new projects and a naming convention that everyone adheres to. The where and when of the launch is no longer a mystery. This Executive Director’s conclusion: “Now no matter which brand you’re supporting, you receive the same information in the same format. Devex was key in implementing our launch gate which is also our cost gate. [It helps] get everything put together so we can finally move forward with our launches.”