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Sourcing technology from suppliers in New Product Development: Purchasing’s role as a trouble-shooter
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5427-3560
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Although the benefits of involving suppliers in new product development (NPD) under technological uncertainty are not unambiguously affirmed, many firms need to involve suppliers under these circumstances anyway as not all technological knowledge resides within the firm. Previous research argues that purchasing fulfils an important role in involving the suppliers in NPD. However, purchasing’s role under technological uncertainty has not been investigated in detail. The purpose of this paper is to explore purchasing’s role in technology selection, supplier selection and regular participation in NPD projects involving technology suppliers. Three NPD projects at one large high-tech firm are studied. It is shown that purchasing had limited influence in the technology selection process. Furthermore, the results show that purchasing fulfills an important role in the supplier selection. More importantly, this paper identifies that purchasing has a role as a trouble-shooter throughout the collaborative NPD projects. Purchasing does not necessarily need to be a member of the project team, and be involved in solving daily, routine problems, but serves as a trouble-shooter to solve major problems related to the supplier’s strategy, the relationship with the supplier and commitment issues.

Keyword [en]
Purchasing, New Product Development, R&D collaborations, Supplier Involvement
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72222OAI: diva2:458448
Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-23 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Collaborative New Product Development: Supplier Selection and Purchasing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Collaborative New Product Development: Supplier Selection and Purchasing
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Suppliers provide new technology to firms and are important in firms‟ NPD. It is not sufficient for firms to select the most appropriate technology; they must also select the most appropriate supplier for their NPD. The purpose of this licentiate thesis is to map and identify criteria used in the process of selecting a suitable supplier, and explore the role of Purchasing in NPD collaborative projects.

This thesis is based on case study research where two NPD projects have been studied. The case sampling consisted of searching for projects that were believed to be rich in information about the process of supplier selection. Both studied were conducted at ABB, which is a large high-tech system integration firm. ABB was a good firm to study because as a company, it is used to implementing new technology from suppliers. The data collection consisted of interviews, factory visits, internal and external documents. The data gathered was analysed by conducting content analysis and then using categorization to structure it. In addition, within-case analysis as well as cross-case analysis were performed. The research process was inductive and its purpose was formed throughout the on-going studies.

This study has identified and categorised criteria for selecting a supplier that is suitable to become involved in NPD projects. Both criteria from existing literature and from the NPD projects studied are mapped into a process model of supplier selection in which they are classified into three categories: product and production factors, firm characteristics and relational criteria. The main findings from this study are criteria that firms use in their assessment and selection of suppliers. These supplier assessment criteria can be divided into basic, product and firm criteria. One difficult element to consider is the uncertainty of an NPD project. The thesis argues that uncertainty can be divided into technological and strategic uncertainty. Additional criteria to consider in supplier selection are divided into technological, business and relational-specific criteria.

This study has investigated the role of Purchasing in NPD and argues that Purchasing can be a trouble-shooter. This role can solve problems that emerge in collaborative NPD projects that involve suppliers. The types of problems that a trouble-shooter can solve are concerned with lack of commitment and interest from the supplier or conflicts when the supplier has changed its strategy. To solve these problems, Purchasing does not need to be present during the whole NPD project, but can have the role of a trouble-shooter and become involved in the project when the problems have emerged. By not being a part of the NPD team, Purchasing can evaluate the situation objectively without affecting the personal relationships that exist among the individuals in the NPD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 88 p.
FiF-avhandling - Filosofiska fakulteten – Linköpings universitet, ISSN 1401-4637 ; 104
Supplier selection, NPD, Purchasing, case studies
National Category
Economics and Business
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72223 (URN)978-91-7393-028-4 (ISBN)
2011-11-30, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-23 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved

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