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Why Product life cycle costing is important?

Life cycle costing estimates, tracks and accumulates the costs over a product’s entire life cycle from its inception to abandonment or from the initial R & D stage till the final customer servicing and support of the product. It aims at tracing of costs and revenues on product by product basis over several calendar periods throughout their life cycle.

Product life cycle costing is important for the following reasons:
(i) When non-production costs like costs associated with R & D, design, marketing, distribution and customer service are significant, it is essential to identify them for target pricing, value engineering and cost management. For example, a poorly designed software package may involve higher costs on marketing, distribution and after sales service.

(ii) There may be instances where the pre-manufacturing costs like R & D and design are expected to constitute a sizeable portion of life cycle costs. When a high percentage of total life cycle costs are likely to be so incurred before the commencement of production, the firm needs an accurate prediction of costs and
revenues during the manufacturing stage to decide whether the costly R & D and design activities should be undertaken.
(iii) Many costs are locked in at R & D and design stages. Locked in or Committed costs are those costs that have not been incurred at the initial stages of R & D and design but that will be incurred in the future on the basis of the decisions that have already been taken. For example, the adoption of a certain design will determine the product’s material and labour inputs to be incurred during the manufacturing stage. A complicated design may lead to greater expenditure on material and labour costs every time the product is produced. Life cycle budgeting highlights costs throughout the product life cycle and facilitates value engineering at the design stage before costs are locked in.

Total life-cycle costing approach accumulates product costs over the value chain. It is a process of managing all costs along the value chain starting from product’s design, development, manufacturing, marketing, service and finally disposal.
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