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The Life of a Product: Successful Risk Management at Each Stage

By David Freeman, Director, Commercial Sales

clock April 4, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Bringing a product to market is a multi-step process, with opportunity and risk present at every stage in the life cycle. The most successful manufacturers approach each step as if it were a new initiative, taking time and investing resources that will optimize the end result.

From the idea stage to end-user adoption, there are plenty of steps in a company’s manufacturing cycle that could be a weak link, creating problems that may not rear up until well past the point of a manageable and affordable correction. For this reason, successful risk management means being proactive during all phases of the product’s life cycle: Pre-production, production and post-production.

product_life_cycle.jpgImage Courtesy of Travelers

Pre-production. Safety and quality must take a front seat alongside innovation and market potential. Don't just meet regulatory standards—exceed them, and turn that extra emphasis into a selling point for the product.

Production. Be particularly careful to avoid skimping on testing and inspection to shorten the production cycle, no matter how tempting. Remember that your product is a long-term investment. A careful, properly executed approach will pay off in the future.

Post-production. While you no longer have total control over the process, you can still take measures to reduce your company's liability:

  • Ensure that your sales and marketing materials emphasize the significant measures taken during production to protect the product's integrity. Stress safe usage and include prominent, easy-to-understand warnings about hazardous operations.
  • When transporting the final product, make sure to hire safe drivers and make safety, not expediency, your company's mantra.
  • Your installers and servicers are the most direct connection to your customers, so it’s important that they have rigorous training with an emphasis on safe usage. Training should include best practices for educating clients on safe usage as well.
  • Encourage customer feedback, analyze this valuable data and use it to improve your products and services.
  • Provide clear disposal and recycling information for when a product reaches the end of its life cycle.

Marsh & McLennan Agency's manufacturing practice group can help analyze your production cycle, identify potential weak links, and devise an action plan to strengthen those points in the cycle. Learn more about how we can help optimize your process while reducing liability.

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Topics: Property + Casualty

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