Product life cycle in this case is taken to mean the succession of the many varying stages by which a product is said to undergo through. Products are seen to undergo several iterations, and some of these iterations may include the consumption of time and money before they eventually reach the final consumers, which are via the test markets. You find that in most cases, the conditions by which a product goes through will vary and change over time and hence there is the need to understand the product life cycle and the management of this product. This is said to do with the life of this particular product since it is seen to undergo through so many phases and hence as a result it requires professional skills in order to be in a position to properly manage this particular product. It involves the life of the product in the market place with much respect to the business costs and the sales measures of this product. The following are some of the stages by which the product is said to undergo before it reaches the final process. (Ballau, 2000).
Market introduction stage and it is in this stage that many changes have to take place. Hereafter identifying the market, you find that many of the customers need to be prompted to buy this particular product. This happened in the case when this is a new product and most of the customers are not aware of this particular product. As a result, you find that the customers need to be introduced to this particular customer. Demand has also to be created in the sense that after producing this product, the customers need to be introduced to this particular product so that they can be in a position to buy it. Another stage is the growth stage whereby the costs of this particular product can reduce and this is as a result of the economies of scale or even sales volume can increase significantly. Maturity stage, you find that the costs can be low since you are now well established in the market, and hence there is no more expenses or even the need to publicize your product. Lastly is the decline stage. (Ballau, 2000).
Source: (Ballau, 2000).
Arguments to support product life cycle
Incorporating the product life cycle is seen to make some bit of sense. There are so many tools which have been developed for this process and the life cycle tools are available for specific category of a product. These tools are usually available and are seen to be largely applied to the many existing products with so well defined compositions and their known characteristics. The process for a new product development is often described in some stages, and some of these stages include the following, concept, feasibility, development, commercialization, and the established business strategies. So the product life cycle for so many companies is so much important, and the following are some of the areas that support the use of the product life cycle in many businesses. (Christopher, 1997).
One of the arguments to support the product life cycle is that it is cost saving. It is cost-saving in that one is in a position to have less expenses since this particular person is aware of the structures which are requires when marketing your product. Since it is argued that it is generally more costly to make changes to the production equipment after the product has been designed andand installed. You find that with this, some of the costs will tend to be reduced or even eliminated if the designs which are needed for the prevention of the population and wastes minimizations have been built at the original design. In this case, you tend to find that when designing your product, this is a new product which has not yet been introduced in to the market. As a result, you find that this particular product can either qualify to be a good product or even a bad product. So with the product life cycle concept, then you will be in a position to reduce some of the costs through the proper analysis of the market in that you tend to survey the market for that product.
It’s through considering the environmental life cycle that this will tend to help identify true costs of that particular product hence providing the business managers input that will help them to make good decisions of the product. It is through the product life cycle that most of the producers will be in a position to know the correct prices of their products through the analysis of the market by analyzing the potentials costs of that particular product. At the end of the day, this manager will be in a position to have increased profits.
The retailer is also in a position to discover the hidden costs of the environmental burdens of the customer’s use of this particular product which are different from the competitor’s products. It’s through the product life cycle that the retailer can be in a position to compare his product with that of his competitors. It is after comparing that he will be in a position to know what the customers need of that product. (Christopher, 1997).
In most of the cases, you find that after commercialization, it becomes so hard for one to change the product specification without even upsetting some if not all of the market proportion. It is with the product life cycle that one is in a position to have product specification through the many product specifications decisions. So you find that if product specifications decisions are made in the absence of the thought of the environmental safety and the health issues which are associated with that particular product use and the disposal of the product, this may be inadequate for some of the intended markets.
Too often, you find that most of the chemical products specifications are usually set based on the chemical and the physical function of the desired product. So this explains that with the product life cycle, one is in a position to have the correct specification of that product. This particular person will be in a position to access the market, know the demand for that product since you find that most of the products usually have a shorter expiry period hence through analysis of the market, you will be in a position to know the time when the product will expire since most of them usually expire even before they have been sold hence leading to great losses to the producer. So with the product life cycle structure, this producer will be in a position to analyze the market so well and know the maturity stage of the product. (Nerseian, 2002).
Product life cycle is very much important for any business venture to succeed. It is through the product life cycle that most of the business is in a position to succeed. When a product has been produced, there is the need to identify the correct market so that one can be in a position to market this product properly. It is argued that every product has a lifecycle, and this is much important so that it’s through the life cycle that one is in a position to set the correct price for this particular product. So the argument here is that this structure will enable you to actually know where you are and also what lies ahead of you. When launching your particular product in the market, then there is the need to first know the type of marketing you are dealing with, should also know the marketing costs of that particular product since it’s through the marketing structure that you will be in a position to establish the correct Markey for that particular product. (Nerseian, 2002).
It is through the PLC that the demand for your product will then be created. This can be explained in the case where when launching a particular product in the market, say, when launching software in the market, you find that you have to define demand in that particular place. This can be achieved through the proper structure of the PLC in that you first identify the market for your product, and it’s through identifying the market that you are at the same time knowing accessing the demand for your product. It is through this that you can be in a position to calculate whether this will eventually lead to losses or even to profits with your product. (Nerseian, 2002).
PLC is also important in the sense that one is in a position to see where ones demand is coming from and which are your efforts which are worth of spending time fully. It’s through this clear structure of the product life cycle that you can even be in a position to even knock out some of the potential competitors at the market place. This is because you tend to find that with the product structure, you are in a position to know your customers and the potential customers for your product. At the end of the day you will find that the product is accruing a lot of profits and hence leading to the growth of the product.
Development of a customer loyalty
It’s through the product life cycle that the business manager will be in a position to develop a consumer loyalty. This can be achieved through the intensive analysis of the market in which you will sell your product. Customers are the most important factors in any organizations. So you tend to find that if you are not at ease with your customers, then you will not be in a position to sell your product. It is during that market identification that one is in a position to know his potential customers to who to sell the products to. During the market stage, you find that the customers need to be prompted to buy that particular product. It is by bringing the product to the market that you will tend to convince your customers that the product is good so that they can be in a position to buy that particular product. (Kim, 1999).
The product life cycle at this case can be used as a description of the market but not a predictor of the market. It should be firmly under the control of the marketer, and hence it is the role of the marketer to ensure that he has analyzed the market so well before even bringing that particular product to the market. The product life cycle is quite beneficial to many marketers in that it can act as a model for these marketers and hence they can keep the product life cycle at the back of their minds. It’s very important for those marketers whose products are usually at the introductory, growth, and the declines stages, respectively, since the predominant features of these phases may be those which are seen to be revolving around such life and death. So with this it is salutary for the marketers to have that vision of the mortality in front of them. This is because every product has a death period. It is through the product life cycle that the marketer will be in a position to know the death period of this particular product. If he is aware of the death period of the product, then he will be in a position to market the product or even sell at a cheaper price than just disposing the product at a loss. (Kim, 1999).
The time to market your product or even the amount of the development time is very much important to move from the product concept to the finished product. This is because many competitors may even be working on the same product and hence the need to take time so that you can be in a position to differentiate your product from that of the other competitors. Its through the product life cycle analysis that the marketer can be in a position to access the market, know his competitors and if possible, if they are still selling the same product, they should be in a position to differentiate that product from them. This is because iris through differentiation that this particular marker will be in a position to realize his competitive advantage through the differentiation of his products. (American Library Association, 2001).
Critiques of product life cycle
Despite the fact that product life cycle can be beneficial to the producer and also to the customer, it is also receiving so many critiques since some tend to believe that it is not beneficial at all to the producer. Some of the arguments in this case are that product life cycle has challenges to the application of the product life cycle. First of these critiques is that the product specification and the various processes design assumptions that went into the life cycle and these designs are said to be likely changed after the earliest stages. A good example to explain this scenario is the case of the chemical products.
It is argued that during the early stages of the manufacturing of the chemical products, the impurities which are in this chemical have not yet been characterized. So with this, there is no current data which explains that the market trade offs of this particular product will be affected? Even though the zero impurities may be one of the good targets for this particular product, it is seen that the production costs of this particular chemical will tend to rise as one develops designs for higher impurities. This tells us that it may not be beneficial to produce a product at a higher cost since this will not make this particular producer to realize his competitive advantage. (American Library Association, 2001).
Many new products are also said to fail in the new market in the initial customer trials before even becoming fully commercialized. As a result, you will find that there will be no sales to offset these costs for the rigorous testing and the life cycle analysis. You find that many people argue that the product life cycle is a long process and is seen to require so many costs. It is not also a must that the new product will succeed in that particular market and hence this is seen to even lead to huge loses in the market. (Leenders, 1992).
Through the many research which has been done on the role of the product life cycle, it can be seen that product life cycle have more benefits than the harm it has to the marketers. So I tend to support the argument for product life cycle since it has more advantages than the disadvantages. The product analysis is one of the tools which is used by marketers when producing their products. It is through this tool that they will be in a position to have a good access to the market since they have to identify the market. There are also other factors which also need to be taken into consideration for the marketer to have a competitive advantage, and these are the Pest Analysis plus other environmental factors. So you find that when the marketer incorporates the product life cycle tool plus the other environmental factors, then he will be in a position to record higher profits simply because it means that he will have identified the market so well and hence prompting his potential customers. (Leenders, 1992).
Most of the forward thinking managers are using the interactive setting, which is via the internet, so that they can be in a position to have a faster feedback from the potential customers and hence at the end, you find that they have reduced their product development timetables. It’s through the product life cycle that future profits can be invested in the product. To explain this well, you find that during the product development, you find that there are no any sales hence meaning that the profit at this case is negative. So by building a product life cycle, then the marketer will be in a position to invest in that particular product and hence leading to more profits in the future. (Leenders, 1992).
A product life cycle is seen to be beneficial to the marketer. It is seen to depend on how broadly we define the needs of our customers in a product market. It will also depend on how we define the competitors at the product market. So clear structure of the product life cycle will tend to put into consideration the customers needs and the competitors of that particular product market.
Ballau, R. (2000): Business logistics management: Planning, organization and controlling The supply chain. Prentice-Hall.
Blanchard, B. (2000): Logistics engineering and management. The integrity supply Chain process. McGraw Hill.
Christopher, M. (1997): Marketing longistics, Butterworth-Heinemann.
Copacino, W. (2004): Supply chain management: The basics and beyond> The St. Lucie Press/Apics Series on Resource Management.
Baker, Michael and Hart, Susan S. (2007), Product Strategy and Management, 2nd Edition, Prentice-Hall, UK.
Leenders, M. (1992): Purchasing and materials management. McGraw Hill. 10th Ed.
Nerseian, R. (2002): Performance specification, Logistics management information. Washington, D.C.
Collins. P. (1996); Building your products vision. Harvard Business Review.
Dikel, K. (2001): Product life cycle strategy. Prentice-Hall.
Kim, C. (1999). Management Strategies; Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 5(9): 89-100.
Stacey, C. (2000). Product life cycle Analysis. Journal of Computers, Vol. 22(1): 34-56.
American Library Association. (2001). Management and Development.Chicago.American Library Association.