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Life Cycle Management

Life Cycle Management (LCM) is an integrated approach to managing the total life cycle of products and services for sustainable consumption and production. LCM takes the concept of life cycle engineering (LCE) further as the focus is not only on a particular product, but uses the activities of all those partners in the supply chain who actually manufacture and service the products.

Life Cycle Management need not be expensive or complex to implement and also LCM helps companies to ensure that their choices are ecologically sound. In addition, it helps to identify opportunities to design better products, make cost reductions, gain a stronger competitive advantage, have superior strategic decision-making, identify new business opportunities and markets, improve relationships with key stakeholders and can even manage any inherent risks in the end-to-end supply chain. We will examine these aspects below

Competitive Advantage

Improved and holistic information is available to all decision makers and therefore by capitalizing on this information, companies can improve revenues, strengthen their market position and increase shareholder returns

Cost Reduction

LCM instills innovative thinking that can lead to reduced energy and raw material consumption, and reduced waste and emissions. Since LCM triggers improved communication and collaboration between partners in the entire supply chain, as supply chain partners get involved early in the product/service life cycle, therefore even better cost efficiencies can be made in the overall supply chain functions for example, in procurement, design, manufacture, distribution, sale, use and disposal.

Having lower quantities and reduced toxicity of emissions and wastes will also mean less risk of fines and penalties for any non compliance with health and environmental regulations and give a better image of the organization.

Superior Strategic Decision Making

Now that the implications of capital investments, operating expenses and future liabilities can be assessed all together and earlier, LCM leads to superior decision making across the whole organization and even the supply chains. More investment options can also become available as a more complete financial assessment is now feasible.

Improved Product/Service Design and Value

LCM can trigger innovative product and service design that help to produce improved products with more value to the consumer. Holistic product designs often do result in eco-friendly products and services that will consume less energy, water or resources and produce less waste during its service.

LCM therefore encourages designers and suppliers to think outside of the box to discover opportunities for improvements and to identify new ways of doing things that will provide both economic and environmental gains.

New Business Opportunities and Markets

These improvements on product and service design can also lead to new ideas for providing the same products or services, but with reduced environmental impacts. Companies can offer the existing products and services to new markets and therefore expand and differentiate on the basis of reduced environmental impacts. The result is new business opportunities and new markets for existing products and services.

In addition, LCM assists in the development of new or improved services, techniques or technology that will decrease or eliminate environmental impacts. Indeed, life cycle information is becoming a requirement to do business in some markets

Improved Workplace Culture

A commitment to LCM helps organizations to attract and retain their quality workforce. It presents them as socially and environmentally responsible progressive entity working for the betterment of the future generations. Businesses can secure productive employees in an increasingly competitive labor market, and reduce their costs associated with recruitment, training and discontinuity.

Better Risk Management

LCM can help businesses reduce their risk of future liabilities by assisting to minimize the environmental, safety and health problems associated with the production, consumption, maintenance and disposal of products. It also helps in future scenario analysis and assists businesses to adapt in advance, manage the risks and capitalize on the opportunities that it presents.

Goals of LCM

We will now look at these goals in detail using the Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) approach; LCE being directly related to the product, whereas Life Cycle Management is focused not just on a particular product, but on the activities of all the partners in the supply chain.

Source : Emmet & Sood – Green Supply Chains : An Action Manifesto. This book was awarded certificate as “The Most innovative Supply Chain book in the last decade (2000-2010)

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