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Facing interface challenges in complex product development
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to New Product Development-literature by expanding the analysis of the R&D-manufacturing interface in complex product development in three areas, i.e. the outsourcing of manufacturing, uncertainty and time-criticality, and field service. The thesis focuses on interface challenges and solutions which concern three questions:

  1. How does the level of outsourcing of manufacturing affect the management of the R&Dmanufacturing interface in complex product development?
  2. How does the presence of uncertainty and time-criticality affect the management of the R&Dmanufacturing interface in complex product development?
  3. How does the need to consider field service requirements affect the management of the R&Dmanufacturing interface in complex product development?

The background and point of departure is the realization that there are three areas which influence the management of the important, dynamic interface between R&D and manufacturing. First, the level of outsourcing of manufacturing is increasing in many industries, which makes it even more demanding to manage the R&D-manufacturing interface in complex product development. Second, complex product development may also be characterized by uncertainty and time-criticality, and previous research indicates that these factors need to be handled differently. Third, it is increasingly important to consider not only R&D and manufacturing, but also field service requirements.

The research methodology rests on a multiple case study approach where the main case used in this thesis is an extreme case in terms of uncertainty, R&D intensity and volume levels, i.e. Micronic Laser Systems.

The main findings of the thesis revolve around the identification of the challenges and solutions involved in complex product development. Based on five research papers, the thesis identifies challenges associated with each of the three research questions, and all challenges identified revolve around how to identify and understand conflicting requirements, to establish an understanding of changing prerequisites and their implications, and to ensure active involvement and a certain degree of competence overlap between organizational functions (internal as well as external).

The solutions identified for handling these challenges have one thing in common, namely a focus on achieving controlled responsiveness and flexibility based on an understanding of tradeoffs, interaction, and informed decision-making. These solutions differ from those prescribed in conventional product development literature which tends to focus on upfront planning techniques and how to follow plans.

The findings may be of value to a variety of managers in different environments, in particular for project managers who are involved in complex product development. The main reason is that this kind of product development exhibits challenges and solutions different from those described in conventional literature on new product development, at least in cases where there is some degree of uncertainty.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2009. , 173 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1278
Keyword [en]
Complex product development, R&D-manufacturing interface, outsourcing, uncertainty, timecriticality, visualization, field service, extreme case
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51883ISBN: 978-91-7393-515-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-51883DiVA: diva2:278045
Public defence
2009-11-24, ACAS, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Manufacturing competencies in high-tech NPD: on the impact of vertical integration and coordination
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manufacturing competencies in high-tech NPD: on the impact of vertical integration and coordination
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management (IJMTM), ISSN 1368-2148, Vol. 22, no 3, 278-300 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Starting from a distinction between internalisation and outsourcing of manufacturing, this paper studies how the degree of vertical integration affects R&D-manufacturing coordination. The case study findings illustrates that there are several quasi-stages of outsourcing that affect R&Dmanufacturing coordination and manufacturing competence within R&D organisations. For effective R&D-manufacturing coordination to take place, it seems necessary that the R&D department possesses certain manufacturing competencies, both in terms of understanding the constraints of the manufacturing equipment/process and in terms of understanding the relation between production volumes and manufacturing cost. The implication is that managers need to carefully consider the effects of make-or-buy decisions on R&D-manufacturing coordination.

Keyword
Outsourcing; internalisation; R&D-manufacturing coordination; vertical integration; product development; manufacturing competencies
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51877 (URN)10.1504/IJMTM.2011.039149 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2014-10-08
2. Preserving the link between RandD and manufacturing: Exploring challenges related to vertical integration and product/process newness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Preserving the link between RandD and manufacturing: Exploring challenges related to vertical integration and product/process newness
2009 (English)In: Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, ISSN 1478-4092, E-ISSN 1873-6505, Vol. 15, no 2, 79-88 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Adopting a contingency framework, this paper explores consequences of manufacturing outsourcing and product/process newness for RandD-manufacturing coordination. Based on case-study findings, the following coordination challenges are outlined: accessing manufacturing competence and understanding suppliers processes (outsourcing of manufacturing and high newness); receiving feedback from suppliers and motivating suppliers (outsourcing and low-medium newness); exploiting manufacturing competence and establishing close working relations (internalization of manufacturing and high newness); early involvement of manufacturing and suppliers, and reducing variability in supplier performance (internalization and low-medium newness). The paper further elaborates on how the role of purchasing may change in order to address these challenges.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2009
Keyword
R&D-manufacturing coordination; Role of purchasing; Vertical integration
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-21523 (URN)10.1016/j.pursup.2008.12.004 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-10-02 Created: 2009-10-02 Last updated: 2015-03-04
3. Managing uncertain, complex product development in high-tech firms: in search of controlled flexibility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing uncertain, complex product development in high-tech firms: in search of controlled flexibility
2010 (English)In: R &D Management, ISSN 0033-6807, E-ISSN 1467-9310, Vol. 40, no 4, 383-399 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to delve into the dilemma of managing development projects which are not only highly complex but also include multiple dimensions of uncertainty, i.e. market volatility, technological novelty and changing customer specifications. Particular attention is directed towards managerial challenges and approaches to handle this dilemma. Previous research on the subject indicates that complexity and uncertainty require different approaches, but these studies tend to provide suggestions either on managing complexity in stable industries or on managing uncertainty in less complex projects. This paper rests on an in-depth study of two complex development projects in a company context at the extreme end of R&D intensity and uncertainty.

The paper identifies four managerial challenges: coping with volatile market demands; staying at the technological forefront where technology and product development take place at the same time; responding to rapidly changing customer specifications; and dealing with the implications of very low production volumes of non-standard units. The analysis shows that these challenges can be managed by utilizing a matrix of formal systems, quasi-formalized visualization and informal interaction, which promotes responsiveness and flexibility in a controlled fashion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2010
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51878 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-9310.2010.00609.x (DOI)000281207600004 ()
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved
4. Dynamic and participatory methods and media when working with visualization in product development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dynamic and participatory methods and media when working with visualization in product development
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Visualization has been highlighted as a highly useful approach for product development that is characterized by both complexity and uncertainty, but research on the subject is limited and few delve into details on how to visualize. This paper investigates pedagogical processes when working with visual management in product development by focusing on challenges and solutions when handling interfaces between departments.

The traditional, mainstream techniques for project and product development (e.g. Gannt charts) produce visual images that have been criticized for their static nature and inability to function in projects with difficult interdependencies and changing prerequisites. By taking a reflective approach and codifying knowledge developed in the field, this paper investigates how visualization can be used to handle two challenges: physical barriers and personal as well as departmental differences. The paper proposes that an extended view of visualization is useful in this kind of product development. This means that visualization is handled as a dynamic and participatory process where multi-dimensional methods and media are used to stimulate multiple senses so that project participants can explore and exploit knowledge, and form a shared mental model of the project.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51879 (URN)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2009-11-23Bibliographically approved
5. Mechanisms for building capabilities required to manage contradictory requirements in product development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mechanisms for building capabilities required to manage contradictory requirements in product development
2009 (English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to study the role of field service in product development in manufacturing firms.

Design/methodology/approach – The study employed a case study research design. Multiple data collection techniques such as interviews and internal reports were utilized to study two contrasting cases.

Findings - The paper makes three primary contributions. First, it links service literature to product development in manufacturing firms. Second, it investigates how firms use different mechanisms for building capabilities required to manage contradictory requirements between R&D, manufacturing and field service. Third, it demonstrates how two successful firms, in spite of very different prerequisites, actually exhibit strikingly similar challenges and mechanisms.

Research limitations/implications – Limitations are primarily associated with methodology, a case study approach based on two cases.

Practical implications – Managers can learn from firms in other contexts and implement similar mechanisms, but they need to make adaptations on the operational level.

Originality/value – The paper investigates a topic that is rarely studied.

Keyword
Contradictory requirements, organizational interfaces, product development, field service, manufacturing firms
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51880 (URN)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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