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Holistic Customer Requirements and the Design-Select Decision

Author

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  • Karl T. Ulrich

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1300 Steinberg Hall---Dietrich Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

  • David J. Ellison

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1300 Steinberg Hall---Dietrich Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

Abstract

When confronted with the task of developing a new product, a firm chooses either to design new components, unique to the product application, or to select components from those offered in the catalogs of suppliers or from those already in use in its other products. We call this the design-selectdecision. The benefits of selecting an existing component include minimizing investment, exploiting economies of scale, and preserving organizational focus. On the other hand, designing product-specific components allows a firm to (a) maximize product performance with respect to holistic customer requirements---those requirements that arise in a complex way from most of the components of a product; (b) minimize the size and mass of a product; and (c) minimize the true variable costs of production. When these benefits exceed those from selecting existing components, firms will tend to design product-specific components. Our approach is to develop this theory by linking concepts from marketing, technological innovation, and engineering design. This theory yields four testable hypotheses. A cross-sectional analysis of 225 products finds substantial support for the theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl T. Ulrich & David J. Ellison, 1999. "Holistic Customer Requirements and the Design-Select Decision," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(5), pages 641-658, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:5:p:641-658
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.45.5.641
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jürgen Mihm & Christoph Loch & Arnd Huchzermeier, 2003. "Problem--Solving Oscillations in Complex Engineering Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(6), pages 733-750, June.
    2. Montgomery, David B. & Roth, Aleda V. & Hausmann, Warren H., 2001. "Why Should Marketing and Manufacturing Work Together? Some Exploratory Empirical," Research Papers 1706, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. V. Krishnan & Karl T. Ulrich, 2001. "Product Development Decisions: A Review of the Literature," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 1-21, January.
    4. Sam Ransbotham & Sabyasachi Mitra, 2010. "Target Age and the Acquisition of Innovation in High-Technology Industries," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 2076-2093, November.
    5. Christian Terwiesch & Christoph H. Loch, 2004. "Collaborative Prototyping and the Pricing of Custom-Designed Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 145-158, February.
    6. Richter, Alexander, 2010. "Industrielle Produkt-Service-Systeme: Eine vertragstheoretische Analyse," Arbeitsberichte des Lehrstuhls für Produktionswirtschaft 9, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Lehrstuhl für Produktionswirtschaft.
    7. Christian Terwiesch & Yi Xu, 2008. "Innovation Contests, Open Innovation, and Multiagent Problem Solving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(9), pages 1529-1543, September.
    8. Akhilesh Bajaj & Sunder Kekre & Kannan Srinivasan, 2004. "Managing NPD: Cost and Schedule Performance in Design and Manufacturing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(4), pages 527-536, April.
    9. Sharon Novak & Steven D. Eppinger, 2001. "Sourcing By Design: Product Complexity and the Supply Chain," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 189-204, January.
    10. Taylor Randall & Christian Terwiesch & Karl T. Ulrich, 2007. "Research Note—User Design of Customized Products," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(2), pages 268-280, 03-04.
    11. Eva Labro, 2004. "The Cost Effects of Component Commonality: A Literature Review Through a Management-Accounting Lens," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 6(4), pages 358-367, June.
    12. Monica Calcagno & Erika Cavriani, 2014. "Reimagining the design in the middle earth: From design driven innovation to design boosted cultural heritage," Working Papers 24, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    13. Kamalini Ramdas & Mohanbir S. Sawhney, 2001. "A Cross-Functional Approach to Evaluating Multiple Line Extensions for Assembled Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 22-36, January.
    14. Kamalini Ramdas & Taylor Randall, 2008. "Does Component Sharing Help or Hurt Reliability? An Empirical Study in the Automotive Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 922-938, May.
    15. Mohan V. Tatikonda & Mitzi M. Montoya-Weiss, 2001. "Integrating Operations and Marketing Perspectives of Product Innovation: The Influence of Organizational Process Factors and Capabilities on Development Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 151-172, January.
    16. Ashish Arora & Michelle Gittelman & Sarah Kaplan & John Lynch & Will Mitchell & Nicolaj Siggelkow & Chi-Hyon Lee & Manuela N. Hoehn-Weiss & Samina Karim, 2016. "Grouping interdependent tasks: Using spectral graph partitioning to study complex systems," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 177-191, January.

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