Changes to Manufacturers’ Product Portfolios should not be Made on an Arbitrary Basis and Soley Helps them Evaluate the Impacts on all Stakeholders

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By Michael Larner | 4Q 2022 | IN-6762

Manufacturers, especially machine tool producers, often offer dozens of different products and product variations. Effectively managing a product portfolio on such a scale is a huge challenge; including verifying which products are the most profitable, the company’s ability to raise prices, or understanding the impact of a large supplier going out of business. Soley provides manufacturers with the ability to perform what-if scenarios not only to forecast the impact portfolio changes will potentially have on sales but also how the decisions affect suppliers and the production line too.

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Navigating Uncertain Times


Founded in 2015, SAP partner Soley is a Munich-based software firm that helps firms manage and optimize their complex product portfolios. The company offers a software-as-a-service–based product mining solution so that customers can understand dependencies across their operations and the potential impact of any changes on different aspects of their company’s activities and stakeholders.

The pressures on manufacturers are unrelenting, with uncertainties about the price of raw materials, rising energy costs, and managing supply chains, to name just a few. Soley helps customers to adapt their product ranges to meet these challenges by factoring in the complexities and dependencies.  

Customers Can Get Answers to a Myriad of Problems


As companies grow their product portfolios, the number of product variations can grow exponentially, and Soley aims to provide manufacturers with insights regarding suppliers, their assembly lines, product mixes, and customers. Soley ties together data from applications that the firm is already using, such as the bill of materials, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management systems. Because Soley’s analytics are able to understand the complexities, patterns, and risks pertaining to such changes, the software can deduce the intricacies of these applications. Soley then illustrates the commercial and operational impacts these changes may have via dashboards. By using Soley, manufacturers can identify critical dependencies among components, suppliers, the production line, warehousing, and customers.  

Customers of manufacturing companies may need to understand the potential revenue risks of raising prices, what its most profitable products are and what unprofitable products should be phased out, the impact of changes to product design on supply chains and production, and the firm’s resilience should a key supplier go out of business or should a core customer choose a competitor.

Example deployments of Soley include the following.

  • The engineering firm Bosch Rexroth uses Soley to perform what-if scenarios to identify production bottlenecks and improve the reliability of operations.
  • A provider of hardware and software for machine automation, Lenze uses Soley to analyze their value chain in order to prioritize and adjust to the needs of key customers and to identify changes in their portfolio to support future sales efforts.
  • A manufacturer of heating systems and climate control and cooling systems, the Viessmann Group uses Soley to support its efforts to optimize its product portfolio and potentially save millions of euros.

Soley's Partners Validate Soley's Proposition


Bearing in mind the time required to understand a customer’s product lineup and to integrate Solely with a customer’s existing application, it is impressive that Soley can start producing insights for customers after six to 12 weeks. Soley’s product is more than data aggregation; Soley is also a strategic tool to help customers devise their short- and medium-term commercial plans and their impacts across customers’ activities. Creating and managing a digital thread encompassing product design and production continues to be a challenge that technology suppliers look to resolve for manufacturing firms.

Soley’s solution is an interesting concept reflecting the challenges many firms face when such firms realize they need to make changes but don’t have all the relevant data together in a single application. Many PLM suppliers already provide the digital thread from design teams to the production line but are unable to incorporate the wide variety of sources and perform the strategic portfolio analysis that Soley offers. The market doesn’t stand still, and Soley will need to continue to develop its prescriptive analytics capabilities to fend off data analytics suppliers and PLM suppliers improving their portfolio management capabilities. 

As many tenets for managing product portfolios stem from the BCG matrix, it is not surprising that Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is one of Soley’s strategic partners. Another partnership is with SAP consultant NTT DATA Business Solutions where both firms support customers’ product management priorities. In addition, the company has benefited from participation in the Berlin SAP.iO where start-up companies can be mentored and helped to develop their solutions for SAP’s S/4HANA platform (see IN-5800). These partnerships validate Soley’s proposition and should help the company expand its geographic footprint outside of Europe.    


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