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Era of ferment and the challenge to the dominant powertrain design in the heavy vehicle industry
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4233-5138
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

After an extended period of technological stability, the automotive industry has entered an era of ferment, triggered by regulatory, economic and technological changes. This ferment has also spread to powertrain development in the industry´s most conservative and least researched sector, heavy vehicles. All European heavy truck and bus  majors are now experimenting with new powertrain technologies in small series, mostly in buses, and hybrid system suppliers from other industries have also entered the field. In an unprecedented move, Volvo departed from the industry majors´ cautious approach by launching a completely new powertrain platform for the London hybrid bus trial 2010-2012, and making this platform the standard for its future city buses in Europe. Does this signal an end to the industry´s persistent mono-design regime in powertrains? By employing a longitudinal approach, comparing Volvo and its niche-focused competitors both in the development and early market stages, the paper investigates the technology and market challenges involved in this discontinuous innovation, from technology selection and knowledge sourcing to market launch and the struggle to increase volume and reduce costs. The study brings new insights to the criticality of integrated rather than separated or modular approaches when developing technologies for discontinuous innovation in complex products; the need for manufacturers to make use of, but also to escape from idiosyncratic market niches; and the importance of broad competitive entries to seriously challenge dominant designs in this industry.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102179OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102179DiVA: diva2:668901
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Managing discontinuous changes in complex products: Cases involving the development and market introduction of heavy hybrid-electric buses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing discontinuous changes in complex products: Cases involving the development and market introduction of heavy hybrid-electric buses
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This is a study about managing the development of discontinuous changes in complex products characterised by integration of a significant amount of new technologies and firms’ existing technologies and market introduction of such products. In particular, this study analyses how firms’ technology selections influence the conditions for the firms to manage such development and market introduction. Empirically, the purpose is to investigate how leading firms in the heavy vehicle industry struggle in managing the challenges related to the development and market introduction of heavy hybrid-electric buses. This thesis involves a study of two sets of comparative, longitudinal, real-time cases. The first set is used for analysing the development of heavy hybrid-electric buses at Scania and Volvo. The second set is used for analysing the market introduction of Volvo’s and BAE Systems’ heavy hybrid-electric buses.

The findings of this study demonstrate the importance for firms to closely manage several aspects of the development of discontinuous changes in complex products and market introduction of such complex products. This study shows the criticality and the implications of firms’ technology selections particularly related to where in the product structure the technological changes occur (loci of technological change), types of technological change, types of product architecture, and degrees of technology and application novelties. It is in this study demonstrated that firms’ technology selections influence the conditions for the firms to manage such development, in particular regarding to in-house knowledge development, supplier collaboration and types of NPD organisations. It is also shown that firms’ technology selections affect the firms’ possibilities to offer various performance attributes to the market. Furthermore, this study shows that firms’ technology selections influence the firms’ market strategies when introducing such complex products to the markets.

Theoretically, this study contributes to the literature on discontinuous innovations. The contributions are on managing the development of typical discontinuous innovations that involve integration of a significant amount of new technologies and firms’ existing technologies, and managing market introduction of such innovations. This thesis integrates streams of literatures related to both development and market introduction of discontinuous innovations, which in previous studies are seldom treated together and linked. It provides an integrated knowledge based framework to help us understand how firms manage the development and market introduction of such typical discontinuus innovations. It also provides empirical evidence along the areas related to the theoretical contribution. In particular, it provides contribution concerning such development and market introduction in the heavy vehicle industry. Research in the field of the management of innovation related to the heavy vehicle industry is less observed.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling behandlar hur företag hanterar utvecklingen och marknadsintroduktionen av diskontinuerliga förändringar i komplexa produkter. Produkterna innefattas av både ny och befintlig teknologi. I denna avhandling analyseras hur ett företags val av teknologi påverkar dess förutsättningar att hantera utveckling och marknadsintroduktion av dessa typer av produkter. Avhandlingens empiriska syfte är att utreda hur ledande företag i den tunga fordonsindustrin kämpar med hanteringen av de utmaningar som uppkommer från och med fasen av produktutveckling till marknadsintroduktion av tunga, eldrivna hybridbussar. Två uppsättningar av med varandra jämförbara, longitudinella case har studerats i realtid. Den första uppsättningen innefattar utvecklingen av tunga, eldrivna hybridbussar på Scania och Volvo. Den andra uppsättningen behandlar marknadsintroduktionen av Volvos och BAE Systems tunga, eldrivna hybridbussar.

Ur studien framkommer att det är av stor betydelse för företag att hantera flera aspekter vid utveckling samt marknadsintroduktion av komplexa produkter innefattande diskontinuerliga tekniska förändringar. Studien visar hur viktigt ett företags val av teknologi är relaterat till var i produktstrukturen den tekniska förändringen sker, typ av teknologiska  förändringar, typ av produktarkitektur, hur nya teknologierna och applikationerna är samt konsekvenserna av detta. Val av teknologi påverkar förutsättningarna för företag att hantera utveckling relaterat till kunskapsutveckling inom företaget, leverantörsamarbeten samt typ av NPD organisation. Studien visar också att ett företags val av teknologi påverkar ett företags möjligheter att erbjuda olika produktattribut till sina kunder. Studien visar också att företagets val av teknologi påverkar företagets marknadsstrategier vid tidig kommersialisering av dessa typer av komplexa produkter.

Teoretiskt så bidrar denna studie till litteratur som behandlar diskontinuerliga innovationer. Mer specifikt bidrar uppsatsen med hantering av utveckling och marknadsintroduktion av diskontinuerliga innovationer som innefattar både ny samt befintlig teknologi. I avhandlingen integreras delar av litteratur kopplade till både utveckling och marknadsintroduktion, något som sällan behandlats i tidigare studier. Ett integrerat kunskapsbaserat ramverk för att hjälpa oss förstå hur företag hanterar dessa typer av uppfinningar tillhandahålls. Empiriskt tillhandahåller uppsatsen bevis inom områden relaterade till det teoretiska bidraget. Mer specifikt bidrar avhandlingen till mer kunskap om utveckling av produkter i den tunga fordonsindustrin samt introduktion av dessa på marknaden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 92 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1549
Keyword
Discontinuous changes, complex products, discontinuous innovations, technology selections, development and market introduction, heavy hybrid-electric vehicles, the heavy vehicle industry, Diskontinuerliga förändringar, komplexa produkter, diskontinuerliga innovationer, teknologival, utveckling och marknadsintroduktion, tunga eldrivna hybridbussar, tunga bilindustrin
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102181 (URN)978-91-7519-498-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Berggren, ChristianSushandoyo, Dedy

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