Bamford and Forrester (2010) describe the product lifecycle (PLC) in the following way. The first stage is product introduction, which is hardly correlated with guaranteed success since few people learn about the product. As more people discover it, the popularity of this product can grow if it is valuable to the market, which is the second stage of PLC. As it firmly settles in its market niche, the product reaches maturity, which can be followed by the decline stage that involves diminishing sales and interest in the product. It is necessary to ensure the innovation of products and services to stay competitive, which explains the value of the topic to a company (Radnor & Noke 2006), and PLC monitoring can be used to this end (Bamford & Forrester 2010).
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The success of the product (the speed of its growth and the duration of its maturity) depend on its value from the perspective of the customers (Ko & Chen 2013; Huertas-Garcia & Consolacion-Segura 2009). Therefore, a company can manipulate PLC if it considers the market needs throughout the process. Moreover, more valuable products or their versions can offer a variety of advantages to the company itself (for instance, costs reduction), which can be exploited if the right decisions are made during or before the introduction stage (Bamford & Forrester 2010). The decline stage can also be strategically used, for example, to make a discontinuation decision. Thus, all four stages are of importance and need to be managed.
A PLC Management Example
Saint Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis (SVHI) offers multiple services and products that are related to healthcare. Like the majority of healthcare companies, SVHI monitors product cycles, which can be proven by its interest in research, training, and innovation (St. Vincent Health n.d.b). These elements are crucial for improvements in healthcare products and services (Puchalski et al. 2014). Also, they are required for successful quality improvement, which is the basis of PLC use for continued competitiveness (Wang & Chen 2012). Finally, they are necessary for a company’s sustainability (Osborne et al. 2014). As a result, SVHI has the right focus to timely redesign or introduce its products and services.
SVHI supports holistic care (St. Vincent Health n.d.a), which is a relatively modern trend that rejects the idea of caring only for the body (Puchalski et al. 2014). Puchalski et al. (2014) point out that spirituality used to be a part of healthcare until the 20th-century reductionism, which was partially caused by an increased reliance on innovation. Thus, modern healthcare systems need to reclaim holistic care while preserving the interest in innovation and technological advancement. As a Catholic healthcare company (St. Vincent Health n.d.a), SVHI cares for the patients’ physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The holistic approach can be regarded as a form of healthcare service that is currently in the stage of growth since it is still growing in popularity (Puchalski et al. 2014). This example might be used to prove that SVHI can manage PLC to ensure the lack of decline in its products.
Bamford, D & Forrester, P 2010, Essential guide to operations management: concepts and case notes, Wiley, London.
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Puchalski, C, Blatt, B, Kogan, M & Butler, A 2014, ‘Spirituality and Health’, Academic Medicine, vol. 89, no. 1, pp. 10-16.
Radnor, Z & Noke, H 2006, ‘Development of an audit tool for product innovation: the innovation compass’, International Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 10, no. 01, pp. 1-18.
St. Vincent Health n.d.a, About Us, Web.
St. Vincent Health n.d.b, Research and Education, Web.
Wang, C & Chen, J 2012, ‘Using quality function deployment for collaborative product design and optimal selection of module mix’, Computers & Industrial Engineering, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 1030-1037.