Getting new products into customers' hands is an imperative goal for manufacturers. As simple as it may seem, this objective is made up of many small processes, and the time it takes to complete them can add up. Time to market, or TTM, is a metric that can help your company control all those processes and make your products available to the customer right when they’re needed.
What is time to market (TTM)?
Time to market, or TTM, refers to the period of time between the initial conception of a new product and the delivery or completion of the final product that is ready to be sold.
TTM may be measured as a simple length of time, but it relies on many factors like the design process, new product development and testing, marketing and product launch activities. Thankfully, this means there are a number of ways to control and improve your company’s TTM.
Benefits of improving time to market
It can be tempting to immediately drill in on improving each individual task that makes up TTM, but it’s important to take a high-level look at how and why improving overall TTM will help your business.
Here are four great reasons to see TTM as a vital holistic metric and work to improve it:
- Improving time to market gives you greater control over the product development process. This translates to having more accurate timelines for product launches and greater overall adaptability so you can meet deadlines and ensure your new product is ready for customers and trade shows.
- Having an optimized TTM allows for predictable schedules so you know what resources your business will need for procurement and when, thus improving resource management and reducing waste.
- A healthy TTM improves overall revenue by streamlining costly design processes and saving money on both time and resources.
- Maintaining a quick TTM gives your company a competitive advantage. Regular product updates and releases will help you keep a top-of-mind presence among marketing channels and improve your overall market share. Further, your company will adapt more quickly to changes in demand than your competitors.
Five ways to speed up time to market
- Analyze workflows. By running a value chain analysis, you can begin to understand which workflows have the biggest impact. In this process, you’ll identify bottlenecks, unnecessary processes, and underused or even unused resources. Once you’ve conducted this analysis, consider applying lean manufacturing methodology to reduce inefficiency and establish and maintain better workflows.
- Shorten approval processes. Approval processes are necessary but can create idle time that increases TTM. See if you can narrow down which stakeholders are actually needed for each approval and check if there are approvals that you can combine or eliminate altogether.
- Digitize revision control. How are you tracking your product revisions? Paper tracking, email, spreadsheets and shared drives—or a combination of these methods—are seemingly easy to use but often lead to team members mistakenly working on the wrong revision, costing hours or even days of progress. Use a single, easy-to-access cloud PLM software and establish a clear procedure for making and reviewing revisions to improve product revision control.
- Automate processes. Automation is key in product design for both manufacturing and technological applications. Automating processes and communication increases development speed, decreases the risk of human error and ensures reliable, up-to-date information for all parties.
- Implement the right tools. Know what your business’s needs are, like development cycle visualization, or communicating with development teams and supply chain partners, and identify the best tools for the job. The fewer the tools, the better. Keep information and processes in a single, easy-to-access place and integrate other necessary software to make transitions smooth.
Shorten your time to market
If you’re considering solutions to gain better control over product development processes, get a competitive edge and improve revenue by improving your company’s TTM, schedule a demo to see how Propel’s cloud-native PLM platform can shorten your time to market.