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Shields M. D. and S. M. Young. 1991. Managing product life cycle costs: An organizational model. Journal of Cost Management (Fall): 39-51.

Summary by Mary Anne Browne
Master of Accountancy Program
University of South Florida, Fall 2000

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Purpose: To present an organizational model of product life cycle cost management (PLCCM) programs.

Components of PLCCM

Life cycle costing - to increase procurement effectiveness and encourage a longer planning horizon.

Life cycle costs include the producer’s costs.

Whole life costs include the producer’s and consumer’s costs.

Product LCC Estimation Methods


Identify a similar product and adjust for differences.

Parametric Models

Predict a cost by nonlinear regression model with independent variables like manufacturing complexity, design familiarity, weight, performance, and schedule compression.

Industrial Engineering Models (Cost Accounting)

Use estimates of labor time and rates, material quantities and prices, and an allocation for indirect cost to develop product cost.

Product life cycle management- to manage and market a product through the various stages of its life cycle.


Marketing - Startup, Growth, Maturity, Decline

Production - Product conception, Design, Product and Process development, Production, Logistics

Consumer - Purchase, Operating, Support, Maintenance, Disposal

Societal - Disposal costs, Externality costs (health costs, safety costs, etc.)

Trade-off Decisions:

Market share - ROI - Price - Profits

Volume - Performance - Quality - Advertising

Organizational structure - to organize activities and job responsibilities for effective product management.

Eliminate "over the wall" structures.

Multifunctional teams - flat structure, less hierarchy, employee participation, horizontal communication, decentralized decision-making and cross-departmental autonomous teams.

Cost reduction methods - to continuously reduce product costs.

Japanese target strategies-market share, prices, costs.

Elimination of variance analysis.

Trends and Generalizations from 9 site visits:

PLCCMs are important,

Current systems are fragmented,

Lack of leadership,


Many pre-manufacturing systems used,

Increasing investments in AMT,

Few changes to organizational structures,

No link to performance evaluation,

Inadequate education,

Existing cost accounting systems not effective.

Goal of a PLCCM

Employees make decisions and take actions that cause a product to be designed, produced, marketed, distributed, operated, maintained, serviced, and disposed of in a way that creates and increases long-term competitive advantage for the organization.

Important Principles for PLCCM system:

The organizational structure and processes maximize the broad vision and the integration of all employees and activities to achieve the goal.

A culture of continuous improvement is necessary.

Guidelines for a PLCCM System

1. The human integrated enterprise - A flat organization structure with cross-trained employees is a key to success.

2. Whole life costs - Consumer costs are becoming increasingly important.

3. Relevant costs - All activities affected by a decision should be identified and the associated costs used for decision making.

4. Investment - Invest in premanufacturing assets (CAD, CAPP) and people skills.

5. Increase resources up front - The greatest opportunities for cost reduction occur before manufacturing begins.

6. Target costing - Establishes goals for success in the global market.

7. Cost reduction, not cost control - Continuous improvement to achieve targets.

8. Performance evaluation - Performance evaluations should reinforce the whole life cost perspective.

9. Reducing employee resistance - Open communication and employee involvement in the design of the PLCCM system can help decrease resistance. Leadership actions are an example to employees. Effective controls, continuous education, and compensation are necessary to change employee behavior.

10. Continuous education - Reinforces and increases the effectiveness of the other nine guidelines.


Related summaries:

Adamany, H. G. and F. A. J.Gonsalves. 1994. Life cycle management: An integrated approach to managing investments. Journal of Cost Management (Summer): 35-48. (Summary).

Artto, K.A. 1994. Life cycle cost concepts and methodologies. Journal of Cost Management (Fall): 28-32. (Summary).

Berliner, C., and J. A. Brimson, eds. 1988. Cost Management for Today's Advanced Manufacturing: The CAM-I Conceptual Design. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. (Summary).

Clinton, B. D. and A. H. Graves. 1999. Product value analysis: Strategic analysis over the entire product life cycle. Journal of Cost Management (May/June): 22-29. (Summary).

Czyzewski, A. B. and R. P. Hull. 1991. Improving profitability with life cycle costing. Journal of Cost Management (Summer): 20-27. (Summary).

Hayes, R. H. and S. C. Wheelwright. 1979. Link manufacturing process and product life cycles. Harvard Business Review (January-February): 133-140. (Summary).

Hayes, R. H. and S. C. Wheelwright. 1979. The dynamics of process-product life cycles. Harvard Business Review (March-April): 127-136. (Summary).

Hertenstein, J. H. and M. B. Platt. 1998. Why product development teams need management accountants. Management Accounting (April): 50-55. (Summary).

Martin, J. R. Not dated. Investment management. Management And Accounting Web.

Martin, J. R. Not dated. Product life cycle management. Management And Accounting Web.

Moores, K. and S. Yuen. 2001. Management accounting systems and organizational configuration: A life-cycle perspective. Accounting, Organizations and Society 26(4-5): 351-389. (Summary).