important phases of product management

The Most Important Phases of Product Management from Development to Deployment

In economics, productivity is the amount of output created (in terms of goods produced or services rendered) per unit input used. For instance, labor productivity is typically measured as output per worker or output per labor-hour.

Production, however, is the act of making things; in particular the act of making products that will be traded or sold commercially. Production decisions concentrate on what goods to produce, how to produce them, the costs of producing them, and optimizing the mix of resource inputs used in their production.

Productivity and production management is the art of conducting and directing, through the application of frameworks and techniques, all aspects and operations of developing, creating, and innovating products.

Productivity and production management’s ultimate goal is the efficient consumption and allocation of resource inputs to maximize the quality and quantity of goods produced or services rendered.

The important phases of product management can be divided into four sectors:

  • Quality planning
  • Control
  • Assurance
  • Improvement

It is vital to understand that quality management is not only about the end product, but about the processes that are put in order to get to that final product. To have quality management assurance, the production of the goods must be controlled. With this in mind, here are the most important phases of product management.

Quality planning

A phase of product management has to start with planning. Quality is directly influenced by the initial specifications provided for a job. If the planning is done correctly, all other operations will flow well. Planning starts with the production order. Management must be able to accurately calculate how many orders can be produced within a given time period. Should this calculation be incorrect, there will be severe repercussions. If the time period is too short, the factory will have failed to meet their deadline, and the clients may cancel their order. Or the staff/workers will have to work overtime to finish the order. Overtime is expensive, and may not have been included in the initial quotation provided to the client, which will result in a loss of profit for the company.

Planning also covers the purchasing of raw materials. Management has to check that they have purchased the correct amount of materials and that they meet the client’s quality specifications. Purchasing is vital to quality and has to be carefully managed.

Planning also entails work specifications. Management needs to ensure that before production starts the factory is ready to produce a product that meets the client’s specifications. Samples are expensive to make but much cheaper than having a batch of thousands rejected because they do not adhere to the specifications. Once planning is complete production can begin.

Control

After production has started, quality control comes into play. Throughout production, items need to be sampled to ensure there are no defects. The performance of the staff and/or machinery may not meet the required quality standards, so their work must consistently be observed and controlled. Checks and balances must be put into place so that each step of the production process flows smoothly, and there are no quality control issues. This is one of the most important phases of product management.

Assurance

Quality assurance is difficult to define, as it is based on the trust that develops between the company and its clients. The management must foster that trust at all levels of their staff. Subsequently, the staff must provide the client with their best work. The client must also trust that the company can, and will meet their expectations. The management has to develop a sense of mutual trust and respect to ensure quality assurance.

Improvement

There is always room for improvement. Production quality gets better and better when the management is consistently looking for areas in which they can improve. Management should check every step of production and analyze the results in order to determine where the production process can be improved. Regular meetings with staff are a beneficial way to find out how to improve production. Often a worker will pick up on an issue that managers are not aware of.

Keeping up with technological developments helps ensure the quality level improves. A new machine may cut production time and offer better quality work. Part of quality management is checking for viability. If too much money is spent on ultra-modern machinery, the repercussions may be serious. Many companies have failed because they have purchased too many unnecessary machines.

Improvement is also essential during the initial research phase. Suppliers should always work on getting the best materials at the best price. Clients can renegotiate with suppliers for better payment periods or discounts. Continuous research will ensure that improvements are made throughout the industry. But an informed and pro-active management has the best chance of improving production.

Staffs conditions are another aspect where improvement is vital. Studies repeatedly show that contented staff members offer better production and increased loyalty.

The packaging can also be improved, to ensure clients are receiving products that work. If items are being broken in transit, then the packaging method needs to be improved.

Quality production management impacts a broad spectrum of things. A well-managed company will produce quality goods, but if problems are frequently arising, the management is ultimately at fault. Each manager should be a leader, team player, listener, planner, and motivator. Most importantly, quality management should lead by example, as the establishment of a strong work ethic starts from the top. A company with quality leadership rarely fails, as problems are promptly dealt with, and customers return to utilize their services again and again.

 

Photo Credit : Colors / jqmj / CC BY

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