Product life cycle: the evolution of a paradigm and literature review from 1950–2009
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Cao, Hui; Folan, Paul (2012). Product life cycle: the evolution of a paradigm and literature review from 1950–2009. Production Planning & Control 23 (8), 641-662
Recently, product lifecycle management (PLM) has become a popular topic in academic literature. However, although it shares the same title, contemporary PLM is quite different from the early twentieth century's PLM culture, which was established upon the basis of the classical life cycle body of theory, which continued to be refined, right up to the end of 1960s. A comprehensive understanding of the creation and deployment of different strands of PLM strategy requires a knowledge of the basis of such paradigms - that is, the variety of product life cycle theories available to the researcher, and how these have come about. This article reviews relevant product life cycle models presented historically in the literature and divides them into two categories - the long-established marketing product life cycle model, and the emergent engineering product life cycle model. An explanation of the former model leads to an understanding of its perceived shortcomings, and the reason for the take-up of later models. A correct knowledge of this is important, as contemporary PLM has been inundated with a variety of PLM methodologies and techniques, largely from the periodical literature and across the internet, often with no clear explication of the underlining product life cycle model used to derive the methodology. There is a need for analysis upon this issue; not just to clarify the mutable term 'product life cycle', but for the provision of a correct understanding of the models that are informing the current debate, often outside academic circles.