The term “life cycle management” is used in several different senses when it comes to referring to products and systems. All of these senses refer to a management approach which incorporates the entire life cycle of something, from production to retirement, with the goal of managing it as efficiently and effectively as possible, and utilizing it in ways which will be productive. Especially in settings where environmental concerns are being weighed, life cycle management may be an important aspect of an environmental responsibility program.
In one sense, life cycle management refers to the management of the production of a product, from the moment people start product development to keeping the market supplied with products which have already been developed, and to considering ways in which the product can be updated and adapted to continue holding a strong market position. Life cycle management in this sense is designed to streamline the process of product development and production, saving money and resources.
People may also talk about product life cycle management in terms of controlling the presentation of a product on the market. This approach recognizes that the life of a product on the market goes through a number of stages, from initial buzz and excitement over a new product to market saturation. By controlling the presentation, appearance, and price of the product, the company can maximize sales at every step of the product's life cycle in the market.
In life cycle assessment, the environmental impacts of a product's life cycle are assessed to determine whether or not steps could be taken to make its life cycle less harmful. This type of life cycle management is designed to maintain environmental goals while ensuring that objects are still profitable to produce and sell. If steps can be taken to reduce environmental impact, companies recognize that consumers may also be willing to pay more, as some consumers are concerned about the impact their consumption has on the natural environment.
People can also take life cycle management as a maintenance approach. By thinking about the entire life cycle of an object or system which needs to be maintained, people can plan out a maintenance schedule and potentially take steps to increase the life cycle by thinking ahead. For example, knowing that something is a limiting factor on an object's life cycle, the person in charge of maintenance could keep an eye on that component to intervene when it starts to fail.