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Interorganizational IT Support for Collaborative Product Development
Linköping University, Department of Management and Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As product complexity increases and markets become more global, companies tend to collaborate with customers, suppliers and partners in business process activities previously carried out within a single firm. This is observed notably also in product development. Product development is an information and communication intense activity, and collaborative product development requires efficient communication between the participating firms, both during an ongoing project and afterwards when the product is in service. When more than one firm is involved, questions linked to business aspects regarding what information to share and how to communicate the information between the firms become important. With changing partners and competing supply chains this is a delicate management issue.

The objective of this dissertation is to assess characteristics of communication in collaborative product development, in order to identify requirements for supporting IT tools.

Empirically, the research was conducted in two parts. Part I was conducted in the aircraft industry, where a systems integrator firm’s relationship to its major suppliers was investigated. In Part II, collaborative product development between a buyer and several suppliers organized in networks was investigated. These studies were complemented with studies of IS/IT development and implementation projects. Theoretically, it is based on the literature on product development, supply chain management, and IT support for business relationships.

Concerning the buyer-supplier dyad it was found that there was not one collaborative product development process in common between the firms, but rather coordination between the firms’ processes. Concerning the relationship between buyer and supplier network, it was found that one of the suppliers represents the network in a dyadic buyer-supplier relationship. Within the supplier network, the firms conducted interorganizational integrated product development, which means that the functions were represented by several firms. This implied that management practices must respect the special characteristic of small and medium-sized firms in collaboration.

The investigation of information and communication in collaborative product development in dyads and networks led to a list of requirements on IOIS. The findings were concluded in a matrix that presents characteristics of product development in general, product development in dyads, and product development in supplier networks, and a mapping of the requirements on IOIS.

Since the business relationship is the major difference between product development in-house and collaborative product development, it was considered appropriate to take a supply chain view on the requirements for an IOIS. It was found that support is needed both for the procurement and the product development process. Moreover, it was found that project management support can significantly improve the efficiency of the development process. Improvements of the effectiveness regard support for the product life cycle, and for the long-term relationship between the parties.

It was concluded that an IOIS for collaborative product development should be based on standard technology and support standard formats, in order to make it possible for a firm to simultaneously manage its own systems and proprietary information, and exchange information with partners when needed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Tekniska högskolan vid Linköpings universitet , 2002. , 81 p.
Dissertations from the International Graduate School of Management and Industrial Engineering, ISSN 1402-0793 ; 59
, Linköping Studies in Management and Economics, Dissertations, ISSN 0347-8920 ; 54
Keyword [en]
Collaborative Product Development, Interorganizational Information Systems (IOIS), Business Relationships, Buyer-Supplier Dyads, Supplier Networks
Keyword [sv]
Produktutveckling, Informationssystem, Kundkontakter
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81090ISBN: 91-7373-323-7OAI: diva2:550391
Public defence
2002-04-17, C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
LARP - Lean Aircraft Research ProgramNISAM - Ny industriell samverkan
Available from: 2012-09-07 Created: 2012-09-07 Last updated: 2014-08-28Bibliographically approved

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Öhrwall Rönnbäck, Anna
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