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A Product Journey: From Concept to Customer


by Camille Chin | May 17, 2022

Products are the lifeblood of wholesale and retail companies, and most products spend a majority of their journey being tracked by an ERP system. It begins with manufacturing until the product, whether a T-shirt or jeans, is happily in the hands of a customer. We’ve mapped out the major stages of a product journey from concept to consumer in this blog and an accompanying infographic that you can view here.

Global Sourcing and Supply Chain

Sourcing raw materials from global suppliers is one of the first steps in product development. The cost of the raw materials will help determine the product’s final sale price as will the cost to ship the raw materials and the cost to store the raw materials. During the manufacturing of your product, you’ll have to track the amount of raw materials consumed and the cost of the labour. Product sourcing and procurement software can help.

Once your product is manufactured, it needs to be shipped, received and stored in a warehouse. Warehouses are huge and require an enormous amount of organization to prevent problems that can effect speed, efficiency and productivity. A clear warehouse process and structured warehouse system will help ensure that products don’t get lost and are easily retrievable for order fulfillment. An organized warehouse is also imperative for maintaining accurate, real-time inventory numbers.

Head Office Planning and Merchandising

Finished products must be sold! Buyers and merchandise planners work together to develop sales plans based on data from previous seasons and desired sales goals for upcoming seasons. They consider the strength of this year’s styles, and external factors such as the economy and job market. As forecasting, planning and allocation evolve, inventory budgets are divided into categories and then items.

Optimal quantities of products are allocated to the most appropriate sites based on past performance, store constraints and other user-defined criteria. A robust inventory management system will help align inventory flow and inventory levels with customer demand. One main goal is to minimize the need for future product markdowns.

Cross-Platform Sales Channels

When your finished products are finally dispersed to the market, they will be in the hands of wholesalers, retailers (in either traditional brick-and-mortar stores or e-commerce stores), marketplaces and perhaps even some of your end customers via a direct-to-consumer strategy. Congratulations — your products will now start to generate revenue and profit!

Reporting and Analytics

Sales transactions must be tracked and analyzed by a robust Analytics software to evaluate your products’ performance. You’ll need a substantial amount of accurate, raw data. Customer feedback and even social media are also invaluable to determining the success of your products and customer service.

Your analytics will reveal what t-shirt colours are the most popular, what sizes are most in demand, customer buying patterns, shopping trends and more. The data analytics will help you refine every stage of the product journey:

• More accurately predict demand
• Optimize supply chain and in-store operations
• Strengthen merchandise assortments and pricing
• Improve customer communication and deliverables
• Guide strategic decisions and more

These are some of the major stages of a product journey as it moves through an ERP system from concept to consumer. The entire process can be a bit more complex with many moving parts. To ensure that your products (and services) are set up for success, trust an end-to-end ERP on a unified commerce platform with capabilities from sourcing and procurement to merchandising, omnichannel and analytics.

An end-to-end ERP on a unified commerce platform will help you manage, track and analyze the lifecycle of your products’ movements and performance. It’ll ensure one completely accurate and fully transparent real-time ecosystem so you always obtain one version of the truth when it comes to your products and existing customers.

Are you lacking transparency and tracking when it comes to your global product journey map? Find out if we can help.


Product Journey

Check out the Product Journey infographic here.


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