Regal marine is a luxury boat-making company that was established in 1976 in Vermont. The company has had a good reputation as a quality boat maker and this has contributed to its steady growth over the years (Heizer & Render 1996).
Regal marine adopts the concept of the product lifecycle in their portfolio of products by regularly launching new products into their existing portfolio of over 20 models. These models are, however, at varied product lifecycles and this means that new models are regularly introduced as older ones are removed from their production lines, due to the completion of their lifecycles. Their products’ lifecycles are often divided into four consecutive stages which are: introduction, growth, maturity, and the decline stage. Their products’ lifecycles are at times as short as three years and this is fuelled by the regular changes in the boat market meant to meet the different customer’s preferences in trends and styles and also to gain competitive advantage.
Due to the shortness of some of their products’ lifecycles, there has always been a need to invest in a consistent flow of new ideas on different designs to maintain their competitive advantage. The beginning of their product lifecycles involves the designing of new products where contributions from consultants, dealers, and their customers are heavily considered. They have always tailored their products to meet this customer, consultant, and dealer preferences and due to these changing preferences in the market, Regal Marine has had to speed up their innovation process, by soliciting the participation of critical suppliers early in the design stages. This is applicable because the sooner they get their specific raw materials, the sooner they can launch these new products into the market (Heizer & Render 2001). They have also had to invest in quality products to service a more loyal customer base. This is all geared towards maintaining a competitive advantage in the luxury boat market. They have also had to strictly incorporate the different government regulations and tax requirements into their organizational culture to avoid legal liabilities that may be costly to the company.
The proposed design is then forwarded to the styling studio, where Computer-Aided Design (CAD) machines are used to accelerate the process of development. This technology aids the regal marine engineers in sketching boat designs and the graphic programming of this technology drafts the desired geometry of the intended boat design. This technology speeds up the design process as data used by engineers such as the boat’s dimensions, the strength of materials used and the total weight of the finished products are automatically calculated by the computer program (Heizer & Render 1996). This technology also serves as a virtual test subject of the finished product and with its use engineers can see what the finished product will look like hence avoiding the extra costs of having to modify a faulty finished product. Traditional drafting techniques have been identified as being labor-intensive hence more time is consumed in drafting and they also leave room for too many errors, hence contradicting their quality production policy.
McDonald’s Restaurants is a fast-food franchise company that was started in San Bernardino, California by two brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, and was later purchased by Ray Kroc who expanded it to the restaurant system that it is today (Ritzer, 2010).
McDonald’s Restaurants has had to invest heavily in its product design process. This is so because customer preferences and needs are constantly changing and they have had to address these changing preferences and needs or lose their competitive edge in the restaurant market. These preferences have always been influenced by the prevailing feeding trends in society and seasonality. They have also had to incorporate supplier’s suggestions into their product designs and consequently in their decision making since the availability of production resources directly affects their production process. They have to incorporate supplier’s suggestions to also come up with the most cost-effective production processes since they are also in business for profits. This is also to ensure that they also guaranteed the best in quality. The decision-makers have always taken pride in having close relationships with both their suppliers and customers hence the need to consult with them during product design. The McDonald’s Restaurant managers have a strict policy on the observation of safety, health, and hygiene regulations in their decision making and have therefore had to design products that are in line with these regulations (Ritzer, 2010). This is also coupled up with government market regulations and tax laws.
Though their products have not changed much as they still produce the basic buns, burgers, fries, and beverages that they started with, they have had to modify these basic products regularly due to market demands. They for example have had to come up with a variety of burgers to serve their varied customer demands. Their product life cycles are greatly influenced by these customer preferences and they start by consultation to identify the prevailing customer needs in the market and end when the sales of the particular product plummet such that it is no longer profitable to continue producing it. Their products go through four stages in their lifecycles that are; introduction, growth, maturity, and the decline stage. When a need is identified in the market and a product is designed it is introduced in their restaurants and if customers like it are further popularized to boost its market’s growth. With a stable market at maturity, the restaurants reap maximum profits, but these go down as the product goes through the decline stage as its sales plummet.
Mcdonald’s has had to consider different issues in their product development to ensure they maintain a competitive advantage in the market. They have, for example, had to design products for the summer market only like different types of shakes. Also, with the current trend of healthy eating, they have had to come up with diet meals for the section of the market that is health sensitive. Hence, they have always had to condition their product design process according to their customer’s needs. To ensure that they maintain customer loyalty they have also tailored their product design in a way that ensures maximum efficiency in their service delivery. Their products have to take the shortest time possible to produce to quickly meet customer needs, especially at peak hours. Their product design process has to incorporate the ‘Speedee Service System’ introduced by Ray Krock back in 1948 as it forms the basis for their fast-food restaurants (Ritzer, 2010). They have observed that certain peak periods generate a lot of customer orders and in their strive to maximize customer loyalty they have to conveniently serve these peak time orders efficiently.
Heizer, J. and Render, B. (1996). Production & operations management. Prentice Hall series in decision sciences. New York: Prentice Hall.
Heizer, J. and Render, B. (2001). Principles of operations management. New York: Prentice Hall
Ritzer, G. (2010). The McDonaldization of Society 6. Thousand Oaks. California: Pine Forge Press,