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Smart Accessories Need Basic Knowledge

By APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi CSCP, CPA, CAE | 0 | 0 | January 18, 2013

APICS Operations Management NowChances are you have a wristwatch. Now imagine if that object got “smart.” By glancing at your wrist, you could tell who was calling you and indicate if you would take the call or ignore it. That smartwatch exists today and began shipping this month. According to CNBC, the watchmaker Pebble has taken its idea “From Crowdfunding Hype to Product Launch.”

Pebble was able to raise $10.3 million through a Kickstarter campaign last year. Kickstarter is an online tool that connects potential investors to innovative ideas online. While crowdsourcing is a fresh way to fund new products, it can also finance “nascent ventures that aren’t ready for business,” according to CNBC. “But fans note crowdfunding is a way for capital-starved entrepreneurs to pocket financing, when they’re ignored by large investors or traditional lenders.”

Getting the money for their smartwatch was the easy part. Pebble’s decision makers ran into some basic supply and demand problems when it came to the product launch. The article quotes Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s co-founder. “Our goal initially on the crowdfunding platform was to sell 1,000 watches. After 30 days, we had sold 85,000 watches.”

Pebble couldn’t deliver its product as promised by September 2012. To begin meeting demand, it had to move its manufacturing operations, enabling it to make 15,000 watches a week. “Plans to source components through online sources were scrapped, and Pebble had to scour the globe to secure enough components to make the watches,” CNBC reports.

Connecting fundamentals with strategy

While Pebble decision makers found a new and innovative way to fund their inventive product, they got caught making some fundamental mistakes and missed an important launch date. Application of the production management standards as detailed in the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) body of knowledge could have ensured that the folks at Pebble experienced a more successful launch.

Professionals with an APICS CPIM have demonstrated their knowledge of essential terminology, concepts, and strategies related to demand management, supplier planning, sales and operations planning, and more. And, APICS goes to great lengths to make certain CPIM is relevant to what professionals do on the job every day.

In September 2012, APICS completed an extensive job task analysis to define the major content areas in supply chain and operations management. Among other things, we uncovered the importance of connecting fundamentals with innovation and strategic thought__skills that could have helped make Pebble’s smartwatch launch smarter. Changes already have been made in the CPIM courseware to reflect this industry feedback.

Earning your CPIM designation or supporting your staff and colleagues as they earn theirs is an important step in business and career success. Additionally, there now is an APICS online resource that enhances the participant workbook as you study for your certification exam. To discover more about the APICS CPIM and the new APICS CPIM Study Tools, visit apics.org/cpimstudytools.

Questions for discussion

What are some basic principles of new product launches?
Are you ready for your next major product launch?

In other news

Related APICS education

  • The Power of Communication
    By John P. Collins, CFPIM, CSCP, and Eric P. Jack, PhD, CFPIM, CSCP
    September/October 2012, APICS magazine

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