Service Life - Product Strategy

Product Strategy

Manufacturers will commit to very conservative service life, usually 2 to 5 years for most commercial and consumer products (for example computer peripherals and components). However, for large and expensive durable goods, the items are not consumable, and service lives and maintenance activity will factor large in the service life. Again, an airliner might have a mission time of 11 hours, a predicted active MTBF of 10,000 hours with maintenance (or 15,000 hours without maintenance), a reliability of .99999 and a service life of 40 years.

The most common model for item lifetime is the bathtub curve, a plot of the varying failure rate as a function of time. During early life, the bathtub shows increased failures, usually witnessed during product development. The middle portion of the bathtub, or 'useful life', is a slightly inclined, nearly constant failure rate period where the consumer enjoys the benefit conferred by the product. As the time increases further, the curve reaches a period of increasing failures, modeling the product's wearout phase.

For an individual product, the component parts may each have independent service lives, resulting in several bathtub curves. For instance, a tire will have a service life partitioning related to the tread and the casing.

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