Controlling the Product Lifecycle

The product lifecycle plays a major role for manufacturing companies. It provides those responsible with important information about the successful or less successful positioning of their products and services on the market.

Controlling the Product Lifecycle

PLM Software - Definition, Phases, Advantages

The cycle of a product is divided into five different phases. Based on these phases, the sales and profit development of a product can be forecasted. In order to be able to influence the course of the cycle, management can initiate appropriate marketing measures.

Guidelines for the product life cycle

The cycle a product takes or the process associated with it is documented in a device master record. Here the entire product development process is recorded. These include not only the time from introduction to the end, but also any changes made to the product. For better clarity, it is advisable to introduce an organized document system. In this way new documents can be introduced easily and correctly. In the device master record, the facts are recorded in writing. In addition, photos and records are attached.

Phases in the Product Development Process

A product lifecycle develops in a product development process. This process is divided into five different phases.

Market introduction:
A new product is introduced to the market. As soon as the market entry is completed, the product can be purchased by buyers. An important part of this phase is the promotion of the product. The development of an innovative marketing strategy is a top priority for the top management. It is important to find the right measures to make consumers aware of the new offer. For some product groups it proves to be very advantageous if it is advertised before the product is launched and the potential customer is given the opportunity to pre-order it.

A comprehensive marketing concept involves costs that initially exceed the product's revenue. As soon as the product becomes established on the market, sales increase.

Growth phase:
Once the product has positioned itself on the market after some time, the entrepreneur can observe a continuous, increasing sales volume. To keep the process constant, further marketing measures are necessary.

Maturity phase:
Once the maturity phase is reached, the product has reached its highest point. The sales figures decrease slowly and then more and more. This is the point at which the product has the most productive use for the company. Marketing measures are still required to support the company in this state.

Saturation phase:
In the saturation phase, the turnover achieved with the product decreases even further. A growth of the product can no longer be observed in this phase. The price of the product is lowered to provide some stimulation.

This phase is heralded when the loss of sales and market share becomes excessive. If this effect cannot be stopped by further marketing measures, the company must take a different path. This leads to a further development of the product or a product variant that is then reintroduced to the market.

The product development process then starts all over again.

Product lifecycle and product development process

In order to market a product optimally, it is necessary to start with the complete planning of the development process before the product is launched on the market. Anyone who deals with the product lifecycle must observe a few guidelines. These include the European standard EN 82079, which contains specifications that must be observed in technical documentation. EN 61355 prescribes how the individual documents are to be marked. In addition, the provisions of the international guideline ISO 15489 must be observed. This guideline provides information on the proper filing and storage of documents. The German DIN 199 describes how to use terminology in the correct form. The structure that each product file must follow is finally laid down in DIN 6789. EN ISO 1200-2 must be observed for correct use of the documentation.

If all guidelines are followed, it can be guaranteed that the technical documentation is handled correctly. This also requires that the documentation of the product main cycles has no gaps and provides all data describing the individual phases of the product lifecycle. It is not only important to process the amount of data correctly, but also to take into account the complexity of the product. A PLM software can do a good job in these cases. The software, which can be purchased from a PLM provider, offers a solution that correctly processes the amount of data and ensures clarity in the device master records.

Advantages of PLM Software

PLM Software organizes a complete product lifecycle. If a product variation has to be considered from the transition from the mature phase to the saturation phase, the PLM provider has a concept that can be used perfectly to document the process. The PLM provider has also thought about planning possible successor products. This step can also be handled quickly and easily with the PLM software.

PLM software offers a further advantage when it shows possible cost saving potentials during the development process. The contribution margin of the products can thus be kept at a stable level - despite lower sales volumes.

The last resort to keep the product on the market in unchanged form can only be achieved after the saturation phase by lowering the price. If this possibility is exhausted, the innovation - product variant or follow-up product - must take place. Software from PLM providers can determine the point in time when this step has to be initiated.

Bringing products to the market in a well thought-out way

The product lifecycle gives the entrepreneur valuable information about the individual stages that a newly introduced product has to go through on the market. It should not be neglected that for a controlled product lifecycle certain guidelines must be observed. The guidelines mainly concern the management of the main product cycles. The guidelines for technical documentation must be observed as well as the correct labeling of the documents. If the documents are managed properly, the correct flow of a product development process can be guaranteed.

The phases of the lifecycle of a product describe its entire life on the market. In order to ensure the most successful market launch possible, marketing can be started even before market entry.

In order to determine the product lifecycle, all phases of the product development process must be determined. PLM software can support the work and therefore proves to be very helpful. In this way, the PLM provider makes it possible to ensure perfect documentation in the main product cycle. With the help of the PLM software, a product variant can be brought to market at the right time. At the same time, the use of a software offers the advantage of developing a successor product on the basis of acquired data.