CIMdata PLM Industry Summary Online Archive

May 18, 2010

Implementation Investments

Afton Chemical Sparks “Passion for Solutions” with Sopheon’s Idea Lab™

Sopheon announced that Afton Chemical, a global leader in the manufacture of lubricant and fuel additives, has selected Sopheon's Accolade® Idea Lab idea development solution to enhance the company’s product innovation processes.  Already a user of Sopheon’s software for innovation process automation, portfolio management and resource planning, Afton Chemical will deploy Idea Lab to generate, nurture and develop new product ideas.  Initial implementation will provide access to the solution for all Afton Chemical employees in the company’s EMEAI (Europe, Middle East, Africa and India) region.   

Innovation is an important area of strategic focus for many of today’s chemical manufacturers.  In a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 65 percent of the participating chemical company CEO’s said they plan to increase their investments in research and development over the next three years.  That was more than any other sector except entertainment and media.  A separate study determined that the top innovators will gain an edge over their peers from two factors:  successful management of their product portfolios and strong idea management.

For Afton Chemical, the quest to improve ideation sprang directly from its growth strategies.  “Our business goals are ambitious and challenging,” said Alan Cotter, senior product manager for Afton Chemical’s EMEAI region.  “They are built around providing customer-based solutions within our existing markets.  We have an excellent record of new product development, but saw a need to develop an enhanced approach to generating and capturing new ideas across the organization.”

As a start to crafting that approach, a cross-functional team was formed to define the organization’s ideation requirements.  Emphasis was placed on key process features, with ease-of-use and administrative simplicity ranking high on the list.  When it came to support for workflows of ideas, a telephone-based system was considered, as were several software solutions.  According to Cotter, Sopheon’s Idea Lab was chosen “because of its robust functionality, user friendliness and minimal administrative support requirements.”       

Idea Lab provides Afton with a comprehensive set of consistent, sustainable methods for successful ideation.  It can be used to launch and manage campaigns, publicize and motivate participation, and establish communities of innovators within which ideas can be solicited and shared.  The software supports scoring and filtering of ideas and provides a commons where users can converge, exchange thoughts and enhance concepts.  Afton Chemical expects that, in addition to helping generate more high-value ideas, Sopheon’s Idea Lab will encourage greater employee involvement and collaboration in innovation activities.     

“Our company has a history of innovation,” said Mike Lewis, vice president for Afton Chemical’s EMEAI region.  “Sopheon’s idea development solution is intended to support us in our drive to establish ‘Passion for Solutions’ at the heart of our business.”

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