"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." Lao Tzu
Product orientation v Production orientation
Product orientation and production orientation are closely related concepts. However, one has more to do with the actual product in focus, while the other has more to do with the production of the product. Additionally, product orientation is typically used more in marketing strategy discussions, whereas production orientation is more of a manufacturing concept.
Production orientation is a general approach to business that focuses on the manufacturing and production processes. Companies that make these processes primary focuses tend to make operational efficiencies and production optimization key objectives in improvement processes. This orientation was prominent during the industrial era and in the capitalism period of the 1950s. Says Law suggests that if a company produces good products, demand will naturally arise.
With production orientation, the focus is more on the processes of production than what is actually produced. Narrow product lines, pricing based on production costs, technical product research, packaging focused on product protection, and minimal marketing are all common traits associated with a production orientation. These traits are all opposite a marketing orientation, where the company attempts to drive demand through marketing efforts.
Whereas production orientation exists when management is more concerned with production efficiency, a product orientation is when management is more concerned with product quality. Managers are often obsessed with their products when a product orientation exists. Managers typically believe their products are unique and offer distinct benefits. They focus on consistent improvement of the product with the belief that an ideal product will effectively sell itself.
Product orientation does have challenges and is often downplayed by marketing professionals. Management that is overly focused on technology development and endless pursuit of an optimized product may lose touch with the marketplace. Market-oriented companies research and stay connected with changing consumer tastes. This puts product-oriented companies at a special disadvantage in rapidly changing marketplaces where customer needs and product offerings are constantly evolving.