Discontinuing a Product Line

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 21, 2008

Sometimes you discover that a product that once generated revenue and was beloved by customers and staff no longer holds the same viability in the marketplace. You now face a difficult decision: "sunset" the product, or pour money into it in hopes of a resurrection.

It’s a tough call because you’ve likely spent a good deal of time, energy, and funds. Retiring a product you have worked hard to support can tug at the corporate heart. Keep in mind, however, that the marketplace has spoken and your balance sheet doesn’t lie. Provided that the product is not your entire business or that retiring it won’t force you to fire your entire staff, fond memories can’t play a role in the decision-making.

Once you know it’s time to say goodbye, the important questions are: How do we exit properly with minimal impact on customers? How do we shift employee roles?

Delaying the decision to exit only delays the recovery and path to the future.

Dennis Casey
Executive Vice-President
Brevient Technologies
Milwaukee

Reader Comments

Peter Kusterer

May 22, 2008 11:33 AM

Dennis,

I will be the first to say that I am a proponent of no life support for an ailing product or service. Too often the decision is made in a vacuum. The same people who invented it have the most emotional attachment to keep it alive. That’s when an outside opinion may be in order.

There are other options such as selling the property rights to someone else, looking closer at the manufacturing process, attempt to discover new markets - and vertical or horizontal segments, etc. Challenge the folks in the shop to hit the target of profitability. Challenge the marketing people to discover new markets. Challenge Product Managers to discover new use. And, challenge the sales team to find new customers and new channels of distribution.

Peter

NvestNtech, Inc
http://salesbarriers.typepad.com

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