In today's world, where market is unpredictable, strategies play crucial role in defending a firm's product position. "The main reason why companies must continually develop new products is because products have life cycle", (Bittel, 1980). Just as operation managers must be prepared to develop new products, they must also be prepared to develop strategies for both new and existing products. First and foremost, before proceeding into the product life cycle strategies, lets define what a product life cycle is. According to Griffin and Ebert (2002), a product life cycle is a series of stages through which it passes during its profit -producing life. Depending on the product's ability to attract and keep customers over time, a product life cycle may be a matter of months, years, or even decades. Anyway, there are four phases that every product undergoes in a market since it was produced and launched to its out-of market position.
They are the introductory, growth, maturity and decline phases.
Below follows the figure of a product life cycle and all phases' detailed descriptions shall be described later.
Also, considerations must be given to how far the product is along the product life cycle. A new concept / product just entering the product life cycle may require intensive distribution to start with to launch it on to the market. As it becomes more established, perhaps the after sales-service will play a more important role which leads to a more selective distribution, with only those dealers that are able to offer the necessary standard of after sales-service being allowed to sell the product. In simpler words, in every phase of a product life cycle, a product should undergo different, suitable strategy in order to stay competitive in the ever changing market.
Below follows the product life cycle stages...