The Product Life Cycle


Customer demands are constantly changing. There are many reasons for this, ranging from fashions to new regulations. Sometimes there are obvious patterns to demand. Another pattern comes from the product’s life cycle. Demand for just about every product follows a life cycle with five stages:

  1. Introduction. A new product appears and demand is low while people learn about it, try it and see if they like it—for example, palmtop computers and automated checkouts at supermarkets.
  2. Growth. New customers buy the product and demand rises quickly—for example, telephone banking and mobile phones.
  3. Maturity. Demand stabilizes when most people know about the product and are buying it in steady numbers—for example, color television sets and insurance.
  4. Decline. Sales fall as customers start buying new, alternative products—for example, tobacco and milk deliveries.
  5. Withdrawal. Demand declines to the point where it is no longer worth making the product—for example, black and white television sets and telegrams.

The length of the life cycle varies quite widely. Each edition of The Guardian completes its life cycle in a few hours; clothing fashions last months or even weeks; the life cycle of washing machines is several years; some basic commodities like Nescafe has stayed in the mature stage for decades.

Unfortunately, there are no reliable guidelines for the length of a cycle. Some products have an unexpectedly short life and disappear very quickly. Some products, like full cream milk stayed at the mature stage for years and then started to decline. Even similar products can have different life cycles – with Ford replacing small car models after 12 years and Honda replacing them after seven years. Some products appear to decline and then grow again—such as passenger train services which grew by 7 per cent in 1998 and cinemas where attendances fell from 1.64 billion in 1964 to 54 million in 1984, and then rose to 140 million in 1997.

One thing we can say is that product life cycles are generally getting shorter. Alvin Toffler says, ‘Fast-shifting preferences, flowing out of and interacting with high-speed technological change, not only lead to frequent changes in the popularity of products and brands, but also shorten the life-cycle of products.’

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Virtual Corporation


As more and more companies are outsourcing various organizational functions and are paring together down to their core competencies, they might not be able to perform all the tasks required to complete a project. However, they certainly can perform their own highly specialized part of it very well. Now, if you put together several organizations whose competencies compliment each other and have them work together on a special project, you’d have a very strong group of collaborators. This is the idea behind an organizational arrangement that is growing in popularity—the virtual corporation. A virtual corporation is highly flexible, temporary organization formed by a group of companies that join forces to exploit a specific opportunity.

Technologies are changing so rapidly and skills are becoming so specialized these days that no one company can do everything by itself. And so, they join forces temporarily to form virtual corporations—not permanent organizations but temporary ones without their own offices or organizational charts. Although virtual corporations are not yet common, experts expect them to grow in popularity in the years ahead.

My Coultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Curing Stress


Chances are you know people who complain of stress, and some of them define their problem more sharply as “burn out,” a new psychiatric term that is growing in popularity. Make no mistake, stress seems very real. People spend billions every year on pills, diets, exercise gimmicks, and medical visits to cure their problems. But drugs, jogging, lifting weights, and talking with medical people don’t cure stress.

The real cure is so simple it goes undetected. Very simply – to cure stress, you must attack its cause. And the cause of stress is performing work you do not find enjoyable, challenging, and beneficial to yourself and others. people who complain of work related stress are misfits. Briefly, they don’t like their work. They feel incompetent, bored, out of place, inadequate, mistreated, threatened, or unappreciated.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Intranet


Unlike the public Internet, Intranet is a private network inside the organization that uses the Internet Protocol (IP). Intranet is for internal use only. Firewalls keep unauthorized Internet traffic off an Intranet. Thus, organizations can have web servers available only to employees. An Intranet may not actually be an Internet it may simply be a network.

Usually not connected to the Internet, the Intranet’s general purpose is to share private (or confidential) information across an organization or department. It is rapidly gaining popularity due to its open standards, thus allowing information stored on unlike servers to be found. The users of the Intranet can exchange electronic mail (email), send files (ftp), browse web (WWW) pages, and connect to any other computer (telnet).

Web site hosted on a local network is not accessible by anyone outside the network. Intranets work just like public Web sites. Offices can include any text, graphics, and hyperlinks it chooses. Intranets can also provide access to external Web sites, even though external users cannot access the intranet. Secure intranets are now the fastest-growing segment of the Internet because they are much less expensive to build and manage than private networks based on proprietary protocols. Without Intranet computers are just useless boxes.

Intranet needs to be included in all your training programs and also used as a structure, which other departments can follow

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Employee Leasing


Whereas temporary employees come into an organization for a specific short-term project, leased employees typically remain with an organization for longer periods of time. Under a leasing arrangement, individuals work for the leasing firm. When an organization has a need for specific employee skills, it contracts with the leasing firm to provide a certain number of trained employees. One reason for leasing’s popularity is cost. The acquiring organizations pays a flat fee from the employees. The company is not responsible for benefits or other costs it would incur for a full-time employee. This is because leased employees are, in fact, employees of the leasing firm. Furthermore, when the project is over, employees are returned to the leasing company, thus eliminating any cost associated with layoffs or discharge.

 

Leased employees are also well-trained individuals. They are screened by the leasing firm, trained appropriately, and often go to organizations with an unconditional guarantee. Thus, if one of these individuals doesn’t work out, the company can get a new employee, or make arrangements to have its fee returned. There are also benefits from the employee’s point of view. Some of the workers of today prefer more flexibility in their lives. Working with a leasing company and being sent out at various times allow these workers to work when they want, for the length of time they desire.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight