By Inez Blackburn, Market Techniques & Innovations, Inc.
Product life cycle management by definition is the development and deployment of strategies designed to maximize a product's potential. It is essentially the science of effectively predicting a product's life cycle. When product life cycles were first defined, there was an inherent belief that products had a prescribed life cycle predicated on product features, benefits, and the target consumer. Products essentially go through defined "life stages" similar to a human being. The concept gained acceptance and momentum during the Industrial Revolution in an era where innovation had longevity, and both consumers and competitors were predictable. There was a strong focus on costs with realized efficiencies as the stages progressed. Products were developed and deployed with a view on realized efficiencies with predictable life cycles. Product life cycle management traces to an era where time was your friend, and competitors were kept at bay for at least a few months. Unfortunately, those days are gone now, as competition is immediate, and consumers are unpredictable.