Managing Product Line
A group of related products manufactured by a
single company is called product line. The width
of the product line refers to the extent of similar
types of products manufactured by a firm. These
products are used in the same area of
application for different purposes. For instance
LUCAS TVS ( An auto component manufacturer)
produces starter moters, alternators ,dynamos,
blower motors, fan motors and power window
system. This refers to product line width.
The product line width depends on the number
of related products in the line. Generally, firm
aim to optimize the product line width with the
respect to their resources and manufacturing
capabilities. Product line depth refers to the
number of product variants or brands a firm
holds in the product category in the given time.
Risks In Product Line Management
• The major risk involved in product line
management is the expansion of width and
depth of the product line. When a product
line’s width and depth are expanded to an
extent that is more than necessary, it becomes
more difficult for the industrial marketer to
manage the performance of the product line.
• Managing a small product line may also pose a
danger as the firm may not be able to cater
the customers in other market segments.
Competitors can take advantage of this
weakness. Hence the firm assess all the risks
involved in product line management from
time to time and correct the gaps as and when
• Another risk is CANNIBALIZATION. This
involves one brand eating into the sales of
another brand of the same firm. This might kill
the weaker brand.
Strategies for Product Line
Industrial products in the late maturity stage of
the product life cycle face a decline in sales.
When the sales of a product begin to decrease ,
a firm is left with two options – to revitalize the
product or to eliminate it. The following
indicators prompt industrial marketers to decide
on one of the two strategies- to revitalize or
• Sales- If the sales volume is not in tune with the targets
set, if there is a decrease in sales of the product as a
percentage in total sales and if a decline is expected in
the future sales
• Declining market share – If the product shows a
continuous decline in market over a period of time.
• Costs and Price – If variable cost exceed revenues , if
variable costs consistently increase as a percentage of
sales, and if the price is being constantly reduced to
• Advertising and sales promotion- If there is consistent
increase in advertising and sales promotion
Revitalization strategies include identifying the reasons
for the weak performance of the products and
attempting to overcome them. This can be in terms of
product modification or entering new markets. In either
case ,marketers have to pump in new funds into the
execution of these strategies.Product modification
includes changing the product attributes to suit the
current trends by adding or deleting various features.
Improving the product’s efficiency through innovation will
also lead to improvements in market
performance.Entering new markets is another strategy
where marketers explore untapped market and cash in on
the first mover advantage
Product elimination refers to the voluntary removal
of the product from the market by the firm. This
happens when the circumstantial and historical
evidence of the sales of the product shows that the
product can not be revitalized any more and that
there is no alternatives for improving sales.
However product elimination of a product should
be given as much importance as product
innovation. The marketing department in
coordination with the production and finance
departments , should analyze all the information
pertaining to the product manufacturing and sales
before recommending to the top management to
eliminate the product.