About Product Process Matrix

The product-process matrix is a tool for analyzing the relationship between the product life cycle and the technological life cycle. It was introduced by Robert H. Hayes and Steven C. Wheelwright in two classic management articles published in Harvard Business Review in 1979, entitled "Link Manufacturing Process and Product Life Cycles" and "The Dynamics of Process-Product Life Cycles." The authors used this matrix to examine market-manufacturing congruence issues and to facilitate the understanding of the strategic options available to a company. The matrix itself consists of two dimensions, product structure/product life cycle and process structure/process life cycle. The production process used to manufacture a product moves through a series of stages, much like the stages of products and markets, which begins with a highly flexible, high-cost process and progresses toward increasing standardization, mechanization, and automation, culminating in an inflexible but cost-effective process. The process structure/process life cycle dimension describes the process choice (job shop, batch, assembly line, and continuous flow) and process structure (jumbled flow, disconnected line flow, connected line flow and continuous flow) while the product structure/product life cycle describes the four stages of the product life cycle (low volume to high volume) and product structure (low to high standardization). Later writers on the subject sometimes insert an additional stage in the extreme upper-left corner of the matrix: the project.
A company can be characterized as occupying a particular region on the matrix (see accompanying Figure). This region is determined by the firm's stage in the product life cycle and the firm's choice of production process. ...
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