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Principles of Product Planning for Worldwide Design

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Principles of Product Planning for Worldwide Design. ASAE Distinguished Lecture No. 21, pp. 1-16. Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, 10-12 February 1997, Louisville, Kentucky  913C1596.(doi:)
Authors:   G. W. Jenkins
Keywords:   A Historical Perspective of Tractor Manufacturers, Knowing the Business,Product Life Cycle - Inventive Stage, Product Life Cycle - Growth Stage, Product Life Cycle - Mature Stage, Product Life Cycle - Declining Stage, Worldwide or Not?, Fixed Cost, Shipping Cost, Tariff, Product Application, Strategies if the Business is Global, Some Business Realities, Product Cost, Product Price, Program Cost, Maximizing Profitability, Product Cost Control, Program Cost, Problem (and a Business Reality), The Formal Planning Process, The People - Who Is Involved?, Engineering, Manufacturing, Marketing, Product Planning, The Project Teams, External, Customer, Dealers, Suppliers, Product Definition, Homologation and Standards, Sample EEC Directives

A good, sound product plan is paramount to an organization. While the top people understand that it is rightfully their responsibility to develop this plan, they often do not have the time to do the detailed work and so they delegate. Hopefully, the principles in this document will be valuable to those who are asked to help with developing and communicating the plan within their organization.

A successful product plan starts with knowing the business and the product life cycle of the business. Characteristics such as product use, shipping costs and fixed costs must be thoroughly understood to determine if the product should be targeted to local or international markets. Profitability is assumed to be the objective and business realities such as the time value of money, development costs, production costs and product prices need to be fully understood. Organizations often use a formal planning process and the best plans emphasize clarifying many product and process details before starting to build expensive prototypes. This requires agreement on the product definition before completing the very expensive steps of building several prototypes - this is difficult, but the best way. Standards and homologation requirements are detailed by nature and a plan to meet them must be included in the product definition.

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