Abstract for:Employing group model building to support team collaboration in product life cycle management - a food industry case

Abstract: Product life cycle (PLC) portrays the period of product’s existence on the market, which is characterized by the change in product’ sales over time. To achieve food product’s PLC sales objectives, cross-functional teams of people undertake multiple activities. Taking the right course of action to increase sales is challenging due to consumers and competition unpredictability, and challenges arising from working in multidisciplinary teams. Technical and marketing personnel have different backgrounds, which constrain mutual understanding and hamper decision-making. Consequently, decision-making to sustain food product sales is a complex dynamic problem. Group model building approach has been effective in assisting teams in solving complex dynamic problems but has not been employed in food industry. This study aimed at exploring usefulness of the GMB approach in supporting cross-functional teams in PLC decisions in food industry. GMB approach was applied in a food company to structuring and understand a problem related to stagnating sales of a healthy snack product. The model was useful in explaining that product sales are oscillating and have multiple consecutive cycles of increasing and decreasing sales. Moreover, GMB was successful in increasing participants’ insight into the causes of the problem, improving communication, and creating shared vision about the problem.