For products with long life cycles, operational and support costs represent a significant part of the total cost for the product. Moreover, such products frequently tend to be complex and contain a mixture of both mature. stable technology with bng life cycles and new technology with short life cycles. lt is therefore of great interest to industry to determine how to take these factors into consideration in an efficient way during product development.
Another factor that affects product development for these and other kinds of products with shorter life cycles is interest in taking a wider view of the end-user or customer scenario, for instance by offering support and after sales services for the products. All these interests drive the demand to consider life cycle related issues in product development, not just life cycle cost. This also makes a life cycle perspective interesting for fums that produce products with shorter life cycles than the ones studied here through the opportunity for after market sales and services.
This research has been explorative, aiming to understand how firms manage to take life cycle related demands into consideration during product development. The aim was to expand from a cost oriented focus to a wider focus, a value oriented focus, here called life cycle value. The dominant question has been "how" life cycle related demands are considered, focusing on barriers to and enablers for this. Equally important has been to determine the implication of life cycle value for different firms and industries and to find out where value is added in product development. A combination of a quantitative and qualitative research approach has been used to collect empirical data.
One important finding was that there is an interest to deliver a solution to the customer rather than just a product, to consider customer revenue. This adds a new perspective to the implication of life cycle value, moving from a life cycle cost scenario to a life cycle cost versus revenue scenario. The results fom cases were categorized into six main attributes. These attributes were considered to be very influential and important for the ability to take life cycle perspective into account during product development.
- Holistic Perspective
- Requirements & Metrics
- Leadership & Management/Knowledge management
- Tools & Methods
- Organizational Factors
- Enterprise Relationships
Within each of these attributes, several practices and lessons learned were identified. Some of the results are also worth investigating further in continued research:
- Requirements formulation and management is considered to be critical. Well defined and clearly stated demands are key to taking life cycle issues into account due to the difficulty of incorporating life cycle related demands into the product. Nonetheless, balancing these demands against others is perceived to be difficult, and there is a clear need for tools, methods or models to support decision-making in this context.
- The incorporation of new technology and services is another field of interest to industry. Organizational support and planning for technology insertion and new innovations and services into existing products and product lines are needed.
- The organizational support to balance specialization and integration in a product development context, with a long-term focus
- The effect of a transfer from delivering a product to delivering product and support services to the organization.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2004. , 59 p.