Why Early Stage Product Life Cycle Planning is Important

Most people are familiar with product life cycles but perhaps less aware of the significance of good life cycle planning and the impact on a business.  The following is a typical life cycle curve.

 

Why is good Life Cycle Planning Important?

Did you know that four out of five new products end up as failures. The majority of those failures are a result of a poor understanding of market requirements at the first stage of the product life cycle.  The following are examples of some of the most notable product failures in history. All were the result of misunderstanding market requirements.

Ford Edsel, 1957
Ford lost $350M
Reason for failure: the market wanted smaller,
fuel efficient cars
HP Touchpad, 2011
Reason for failure: not Android compatible
Microsoft Zune, 2011
Reason for failure: not iTunes compatible
Apple Newton, Apple Computer, 1993
Reason for failure: overpriced and bulky

So, what is it that caused these huge failures?  It typically comes down to one fundamental error – these companies all completely misread the market and didn’t understand their customer’s needs!  It seems very simple but very often companies themselves think that they know better than the customer and that  new and innovative products will just sell themselves. Or, they believe their strong brand name will make the products successful.

What can be done to avoid these costly mistakes?   Any company who is developing products needs to do whatever it takes to really understand market needs.  Often this can be best done through surveys, meetings or interviews with the target customer base. This early, first stage work, can be costly but will be a small fraction of the expenses to develop a product, go into production, and then marketing the product.

Let’s bring this discussion to the office print industry.  As with all industries, it is critical to understand market requirements up front, perhaps even more so for the printing industry which is witnessing declining printer shipments and page volumes. The result, shrinking R&D budgets and declining operating profits.  As a consequence, printer manufacturers most look at ways to stretch their precious R&D budget with the hope that they can extend product lives, perhaps with the help of low cost, mid-life feature enhancements.  In the imaging industry, it is no longer viable to develop a standalone product. Manufacturers must develop scalable architectures that can be used across an array of products.  By using common architectures, support costs can also be reduced.  Extending the life of a printer/MFP has a significant impact on both hardware, supplies, and maintenance/support revenue.

 

 

Photizo offers consulting services in the pre product launch phase, specifically the Planning and Development phases of projects where most help is really needed and when most mistakes are made.    For more information about Photizo’s life cycle consulting services, please contact Mario Diaz, VP Consulting Services at mdiaz@photizogroup.com or at (602) 571-6530.

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