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GMA Taps Accenture, IRI to Study Product Lifecycle Management Processes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today announced the selection of Accenture and Information Resources Inc. (IRI) to conduct an in-depth study of successful product lifecycle management (PLM) processes as a means of fueling brand innovation and growth. The study, sponsored by the GMA Information Systems Committee, will examine 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,” said 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 also consider what new product introductions were most successful in recent years and why. Based on analysis of this data and the collective insights of Accenture and IRI, the final report will recommend successful PLM practices and cross-functional collaboration models specific to 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,” Gerrit Schutte, CIO and senior vice president, 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, tentatively titled CPG Innovation and Growth: The Impact of Product Lifecycle Management Processes and Information Technology Strategies, is slated for release in March of this year with the major findings scheduled for presentation at the GMA Information Systems/Logistics Distribution Conference (www.gmaisld.org), April 5-8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.