Would you like to have a better grasp of the stages that your business’ products go through? If you’re like many small business owners who don’t fully understand the entirety of what happens to a product from inception, then product life cycle management might be something you need.
Product life cycle management is the process of managing all aspects of a product, from the starting concept, through the product life cycle, and even to the disposal of the product or its components. PLM brings together your business’ people, data, processes and systems, as well as strategic visions for the product. PLM is an important concept for your business because it lowers overall costs, reduces the time it takes to bring a new product to market, and provides an information and systems foundation for your business to strategically grow.
The product life cycle consists of four stages. The introduction stage is a potentially expensive stage in which the market first gains awareness that your product exists. Sales in this stage are usually low in number. The growth stage is characterized by increasing sales and typically increasing profits. Usually, marketing and advertising activities get ramped up here. Next is the maturity stage. Here, your product is well established, the market share is established, and competition usually very high. Finally, your products go through a decline stage, in which your market share declines and might even disappear completely.
Using PLM and managing these four stages of the life cycle means that you need to focus on a few business areas. Development, financing, marketing, manufacturing, and information need extra attention during PLM. It’s important to continually assess as much data as you can gather about the product, the technology you are using, and the systems you have in place for manufacturing.
As an example of PLM, imagine your business wants to create a new technology product. With the key business areas in mind at all times, PLM starts with conceiving the product idea and its specifications. Design continues, and manufacturing considerations are analyzed. Next is actual manufacturing, as well as quality assessments and testing. Selling and marketing the product then occur alongside customer service and support. Lastly comes termination or disposal activities.
PLM is an important process for any business selling products. Give it a try in your business and you’ll likely see cost benefits and growth opportunities.