In today's economy competition is inevitable. Product management strategy is a primary secret to business success. Entrepreneurs tend to think that the best product wins out in the market but the truth is that a product strategy has more impact on the success of a business as compared to the quality of the product. Currently, there are numerous activities aimed at rising business revenues. For example, the top executive contemplates missions and strategic objectives. Functional chiefs are involved in strategizing everything including sourcing of raw material, marketing, and distribution of products. In fact, planning is losing its allure and planners are converting to strategists. Though this transformation has blurred the concept of strategy, managers are now concentrating on substantive issues affecting the operation of their enterprise. Product management is seen as the organizational growth function that includes such activities as planning, developing, testing, and induction, distributing and withdrawing products from the market (Bernard, Rivest, & Dutta, 2013). Usually, products keep evolving with time to meet any additional needs arising, therefore, there is a need for a well-outlined framework for organizations to follow to enhance product development.
Strategic management enables businesses to attain and maintain a competitive advantage. It highlights how businesses can operate efficiently and in a productive manner especially with the changing business environment. To remain in the market a business have to be less bureaucratic and adopt flexible tactics to cope with the changing economy. Since it takes less time for one technology or product to replace another in the market corporates feel that competitive advantage no longer exist. Products managers must, therefore, develop a flexible framework making it easier to move from one dominant business strategy to another. However, it demands a long-term commitment to develop and nurture all the critical resources required. Product strategic management will mainly revolve around environmental scanning, strategy formulation, strategic implementation and evaluation and control.
Environmental Scanning and Industrial Analysis
Environmental scanning and industrial analysis involve monitoring, assessing and distributing information from both the internal and external environment. The main purpose of environmental scanning is to determine the future of a corporation by avoiding any strategic surprise and ensuring long-term strength. The forces that incorporate the external environment include social-cultural, political, economic and technological forces. The business does not have any direct control over these forces and though they may not directly affect the short-run operations of the organization such as product production they might end up influencing the management long-run decisions. To analyze the business environment effectively, large corporations are fond of using selected research teams to investigate their performance in the designated geographical sections. They later analyze the result of each task force and any trend noticed along this process is of great importance (Morse, 2014).
Environmental scanning should involve all employees in the business setting to ensure every area of production and marketing is analyzed accordingly. The reports prepared by all business departments and external task force investigating the business performance should later be summarized and compiled to assist top management officials in strategic decision making. In the case of a new development regarding a particular product, the management should involve the entire workforce to ensure the issue is dealt with from all angles. The internal environment, on the other hand, involves all variables within the organization and affecting the business operations internally. They form the setting where production takes place. They include the corporation culture, structure, and resources among other factors a business can control internally.
Strategy formulation is the process where business establishes its mission, objectives and select other alternative strategies. The process is also referred to as strategic planning. Strategic plans guilds managers in forming beneficial strategies and avoid the strategy formulation constraints. Some of these constraints are
Availability of financial resources. It is important to ensure that all the necessary resources for example finances are in place even if the strategy appears optimal.
Attitude towards risks. It describes the level at which a business is willing to take risk regardless of the potential returns of the produced product.
Organizational capabilities. At times especially when a business invest in a new product it requires capabilities beyond the existing ones. The business should be ready to go an extra mile to market their product and increase their revenue.
Channel relationship. Some strategies demand development of new distribution channels and new suppliers. The corporation should, therefore, be keen to include the organization that is willing to work with the firm.
Competitive retaliation. Competition is inevitable and some products may face drastic competition in the marketplace. The business should include all mechanism to handle such situation to remain in the market.
Strategy formulation, therefore, includes decision making and planning especially in developing strategic plans and goals for product development. The process helps businesses in placing all the forces together before acting on the laid strategy. It also stresses on effectiveness and efficiency of the entire business by ensuring coordination among the few individuals involved in the strategy (Morse, 2014). The main objective of this process is to enable organizations to assess resources and determine the operative plan to maximize return on investment. The strategic formulation is followed by strategy implementation process.
Strategic implementation is the process that turns plans and strategies into reality with an aim of meeting the business objectives and goals. The strategic implementation phase is as important as the entire business strategy. The phase transforms the business plan in paperwork to action driving the business growth. Unfortunately, companies generate very productive strategic plans but fail when it comes to implementing their ideas despite the time and resources used in formulating them. The cause of such failures arises from the unwillingness of the businesses to link the strategy to budgeting. Another cause is a failure to link employee incentives to the strategy as the majority of the workforce do not understand their organization's plans. Though a strategic plan provides the business with the directions and the set goals to accomplish it, it is not a guarantee that the strategy will be successful. Therefore, working on the strategy will ensure that the desired destination is not void.
It is discouraging to have a plan and then fail to put it into reality. Though implementation process is not an exciting topic to discuss in the majority of companies it is the most significant business practices especially in product management and production for any strategy to take hold. As plan address the why and what questions implementation gives answers addressing who, when, where and how a strategy will develop. A product can gain a competitive advantage over its substitutes in the market if implementation process during production and marketing was done thoroughly and effectively. To avoid execution pitfall the business needs to address the following issues accordingly.
Ownership: most plans fails if people lack stake and responsibilities in the plan. Production in such environment is seen as a usual thing but end up frustrating the whole course.
Communication: every employee needs to understand their duties and how their contribution to the wellbeing of the product and the business.
Accountability and visibility: they help to drive the change as every measure and initiatives are assigned a particular employee.
Lack of empowerment: accountability motivates employees improving their performance. However, they need authorities and tools necessary to impact appropriate actions.
However, for a product to thrive in the market customer demands need to be addressed. It should not violate their cultural beliefs as well. It is also paramount to remember that they are other similar products in the market and one need to have a plan to conquer any attack from competitors. Therefore, to retain the product in the market it is necessary to carry out an evaluation and determine control measures to adopt.
Evaluation and Control
Evaluation and control are the final phases of strategic management. They are important as products and projects are subjects to future modification because of the changing interior and exterior factors. Evaluation is the stage at which the management determines whether the product in the market is achieving the desired objectives such as returns and effects on its users. In marketing, it focuses on analyzing qualitative and quantitative metrics associated with strategy implementation. For quantifiable metrics, one can attach a numerical value such as sales volume and served customers. Qualitative factors are intangible and cannot be counted. They include the levels of customers satisfaction with other services. Since the main objective of evaluating a strategy is to determine if the business is running appropriately the above steps can be replicated if the performance of the product in the market is satisfactory. However, if not there is a need for changes to upgrade the outcomes through the control process.
Management control involves the organizational influence especially towards its subunits and members with an aim of attaining the set goals. After reviewing all the factors which form the basis of a strategy and measuring performance it is necessary to take remedial actions to solve any existing fault. The process provides a standard to assess how well the product accomplished its goal. The control process ensures that the established goals are achieved and sets desired standards a business need to attain within a given duration of time (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2007).
In conclusion, environmental scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation and evaluation and control of a strategy act as the pillars of product management. In fact, withdrawing one of them will automatically crash the entire strategy into pieces. In business management, strategic management is the most important hard skill. The reason why businesses should embrace strategy development is to enable it run proactively and focus on long-term plans rather than counter everyday hiccups. Therefore, laying down all the necessary resources required in production and marketing will enable a product to retain its favor in the market and accomplish the goal set by management.
Bernard, A., Rivest, L., & Dutta, D. (2013). Product Lifecycle Management for Society: 10th IFIP WG 5.1 International Conference, PLM 2013, Nantes, France, July 6-10, 2013, Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2007). Strategic management: Competitiveness and globalization; [concepts and classes]. Mason, Ohio [u.a.: Thomson South-Western].
Morse, S. (2014). Successful product management: A guide to strategy, planning, and development. London: Kogan.
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