Product Replacement in Product Lifecycle
Lifecycle of a new product initiates with spark of an idea in the mind of designer, most of the time in response to satisfying a recognized need or finding a solution for identified problems, and proceeds with product design, process design, production launch, utilization and maintenance, and disposal. Companies based on their marketing strategy divide utilization and maintenance stage into more stages according to the way they intend to support their products with after sale services and supplies. For instance, a company may divide the utilization and maintenance stage into the following stages:
- A first stage at which guarantee and/or warranty is active. In this stage product replacement may take place due to dissatisfaction from the customer, sometimes even without any reason declaration and extra payments by the customer. Sometimes a company may establish a lifetime guarantee policy that enables cost-free product replacement during the entire lifecycle of the product.
- A second stage at which volume production is finished and guarantee and/or warranty time is over but the product is still in use. In this stage the company supports maintenance services and supplies, but customer may pay for product replacement if the product malfunctions in such a way that it is not possible or feasible to repair it, or the product is no more needed due to technological innovations, economic and competitive changes, or the latest social restrictions. In the latter case, product upgrade and retrofit is more likely to take place.
- A third stage at which the product is more or less in use and company limits product support to maintenance supplies as long as materials and parts are available.
- A fourth stage at which product is obsolete because the company is not supporting the product by any means and it is not feasible for the company to do so. This is the stage at which product disposal should take place and, if the product’s function is still needed, it may be replaced with an upgraded product.