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Managing Supplier Involvement in New Product Development: A Multiple-Case Study

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  • van Echtelt, F.E.A.
  • Wynstra, J.Y.F.
  • van Weele, A.J.
  • Duysters, G.M.

Abstract

Existing studies of supplier involvement in new product development have mainly focused on project-related short-term processes and success-factors. This study validates and extends an existing exploratory framework, which comprises both long-term strategic processes and short-term operational processes that are related to supplier involvement. The empirical validation is based on a multiple-case study of supplier collaborations at a manufacturer in the copier and printer industry. The analysis of eight cases of supplier involvement reveals that the results of supplier-manufacturer collaborations and the associated issues and problems can best be explained by the patterns in the extent to which the manufacturer manages supplier involvement in the short-term ànd the long-term. We find that our initial framework is helpful in understanding why certain collaborations are not effectively managed, yet conclude that the existing analytical distinction between four different management areas does not sufficiently reflect empirical reality. This leads us to reconceptualize and further detail the framework. Instead of four managerial areas, we propose to distinguish between the Strategic Management arena and the Operational Management arena. The Strategic Management arena contains processes that together provide long-term, strategic direction and operational support for project teams adopting supplier involvement. These processes also contribute to building up a supplier base that can meet current and future technology and capability needs. The Operational Management arena contains processes that are aimed at planning, managing and evaluating the actual collaborations in a specific development project. The results of this study suggest that success of involving suppliers in product development is reflected by the firm’s ability to capture both short-term and long-term benefits. If companies spend most of their time on operational management in development projects, they will fail to use the ‘leverage’ effect of planning and preparing such involvement through strategic management activities. Also, they will not be sufficiently able to capture possible long-term technology and learning benefits that may spin off from individual projects. Long-term collaboration benefits can only be captured if a company can build long-term relationships with key suppliers, where it builds learning routines and ensures that the capability sets of both parties are aligned and remain useful for future joint projects.

Suggested Citation

  • van Echtelt, F.E.A. & Wynstra, J.Y.F. & van Weele, A.J. & Duysters, G.M., 2006. "Managing Supplier Involvement in New Product Development: A Multiple-Case Study," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2006-047-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:7949
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wynstra, Finn & van Weele, Arjan & Weggemann, Mathieu, 2001. "Managing supplier involvement in product development:: Three critical issues," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 157-167, April.
    2. Kim B. Clark, 1989. "Project Scope and Project Performance: The Effect of Parts Strategy and Supplier Involvement on Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(10), pages 1247-1263, October.
    3. Bidault, Francis & Despres, Charles & Butler, Christina, 1998. "The drivers of cooperation between buyers and suppliers for product innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 719-732, April.
    4. Ragatz, Gary L. & Handfield, Robert B. & Petersen, Kenneth J., 2002. "Benefits associated with supplier integration into new product development under conditions of technology uncertainty," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 389-400, May.
    5. Maurizio Sobrero & Edward B. Roberts, 2001. "The Trade-off Between Efficiency and Learning in Interorganizational Relationships for Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(4), pages 493-511, April.
    6. Sobrero, Maurizio & Roberts, Edward B., 2002. "Strategic management of supplier-manufacturer relations in new product development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 159-182, January.
    7. repec:bla:stratm:v:15:y:1994:i:2:p:135-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:bla:stratm:v:22:y:2001:i:5:p:403-433 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Dubois, Anna & Gadde, Lars-Erik, 2002. "Systematic combining: an abductive approach to case research," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 553-560, July.
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    Keywords

    Innovation; New Product Development; Purchasing; R&D Management; Supplier Relations;

    JEL classification:

    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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