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Managing discontinuous changes in complex products: Cases involving the development and market introduction of heavy hybrid-electric buses
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
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 [en]
Discontinuous changes, complex products, discontinuous innovations, technology selections, development and market introduction, heavy hybrid-electric vehicles, the heavy vehicle industry
Keyword [sv]
Diskontinuerliga förändringar, komplexa produkter, diskontinuerliga innovationer, teknologival, utveckling och marknadsintroduktion, tunga eldrivna hybridbussar, tunga bilindustrin
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102181ISBN: 978-91-7519-498-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102181DiVA: diva2:668952
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
List of papers
1. Greening public transportation: a radical design and power-train project at an incrementalist innovator: The case of the series-hybrid bus project at Scania Trucks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Greening public transportation: a radical design and power-train project at an incrementalist innovator: The case of the series-hybrid bus project at Scania Trucks
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, ISSN 1741-5012, Vol. 10, no 1, 93-114 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sustainable mobility requires innovation in public transportation. This paper provides an in-depth perspective on how a heavy vehicle maker with an entrenched tradition of incremental innovations is grappling to develop a radically new city bus with a series hybrid power-train. The study illustrates the managerial challenges involved in this innovation: the need for the company to exploit its core capabilities in areas such as diesel technology and modular design, and at the same time to overcome core rigidities embedded in its tradition of developing new vehicles in carefully planned small steps. The paper shows how the firm is responding to these challenges by using unconventional methods, such as the concurrent development of a new power-train and new bus designs, public demonstrations of early prototypes, advanced customer field testing, the creation of new competence structures, and the use of international events to set hard deadlines and maintain momentum.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Inderscience Publishers, 2010
Keyword
radical innovation; hybrid powertrain; core capabilities; core rigidities; organisational adaptation; city buses; greening public transport; incremental innovation; Scania Trucks; heavy vehicles; innovation management; diesel technology; modular design; bus design; sustainable transportation; sustainable development; sustainability; public bus systems; Sweden
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-66062 (URN)10.1504/IJATM.2010.031458 (DOI)
Projects
Kite
Available from: 2011-03-02 Created: 2011-03-02 Last updated: 2014-10-08
2. A two-way relationship between multi-level technological change and organisational characteristics: cases involving the development of heavy hybrid buses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A two-way relationship between multi-level technological change and organisational characteristics: cases involving the development of heavy hybrid buses
2012 (English)In: Technovation, ISSN 0166-4972, E-ISSN 1879-2383, Vol. 32, no 7-8, 477-486 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper analyses inter- and intra-organisational interaction in cases of product development, which involves significantly new technologies that affect core product sub-systems. The analysis shows that in such cases, there is a need to collaborate with suppliers to learn about the new technology. Moreover, provided that the firm's existing technology is still relevant, there is a need to integrate the new technology with existing technologies. Therefore, close supplier interaction has to be associated with close intra-organisational interaction. However, even a case where there is a limited need to integrate the new technology with existing technologies, there is a need to justify the new technology internally and negotiate the process of adopting it within the organisation. The paper thus demonstrates a two-way relationship between organisational characteristics and multi-level technological change. On the one hand, different types of technological changes demand different kinds of R&D organisations and supplier relationships. On the other hand, decisions to implement technological changes are influenced by existing organisational structures and product development philosophies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012
Keyword
Complex technological system; Product development; Multi-level change; Organisational characteristics
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79934 (URN)10.1016/j.technovation.2012.05.002 (DOI)000306639200008 ()
Available from: 2012-08-15 Created: 2012-08-15 Last updated: 2017-12-07
3. New forma of vehicle maker - supplier interdependence?: the case of electric motor development of heavy hybrid vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New forma of vehicle maker - supplier interdependence?: the case of electric motor development of heavy hybrid vehicles
2012 (English)In: The greening of the automotive industry / [ed] Giuseppe Calabrese, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 185-204 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this chapter is to outline the key issues for heavy vehicle manufacturers in their collaboration with suppliers of electric motors. The information was collected via an in-depth study of the hybrid product development conducted by two heavy-vehicle manufacturers with their respective electric motor suppliers: Scania–Voith and Volvo Trucks– Kollmorgen. The two vehicle manufacturers used different types of electric motor for their hybrid powertrains. They also chose different types of architecture for their hybrid vehicles. By analysing the similarities and differences in these two collaborations, the chapter will demonstrate some of the key challenges involved.

The next section presents the hybrid development processes at Volvo and Scania, and the following two sections deal with the technological dynamics of electric drive systems and the development of the electric motors used in Volvo Trucks’ and Scania’s heavy hybrid electric vehicles. A comparative analysis of hybrid development and supplier collaboration conducted by Volvo Trucks and Scania follows. The final section provides conclusions on how new product development (NPD) collaborations are organized and a discussion on lessons learnt from the study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
Series
Gerpisa
Keyword
Automobile industry and trade -- Environmental aspects, Automobile industry and trade -- Technological innovations., Bilindustri -- miljöaspekter
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79941 (URN)978-0-230-36909-2 (ISBN)0-230-36909-X (ISBN)
Available from: 2012-08-15 Created: 2012-08-15 Last updated: 2014-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. Strategic niche management from a business perspective: taking cleaner vehicle technologies from prototype to series production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategic niche management from a business perspective: taking cleaner vehicle technologies from prototype to series production
2014 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 74, 17-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Strategic niche management has been outlined as a policy approach to assist development and diffusion of cleaner new technologies. Based on a case study describing the efforts of a leading actor in the heavy vehicle industry to develop and commercially introduce hybrid-electric vehicles, this paper discusses strategic niche management from the perspective of the manufacturing firm. In particular, the paper analyses experiences from extensive field tests executed in London, tests which involved a number of different manufacturers, hybrid systems and vehicles. The scale of this technological niche added confidence and credibility to the technology and helped opening up an important niche market, which was supported by an extensive subsidy scheme. The analysis shows how the field tests and the subsidies jointly functioned as bridging policies that facilitated an important step in the market formation process. The analysis further points at a critical tension between niches and the volume-oriented business of a major vehicle manufacturer, showing how investments in new technology need to be warranted in market trends and projections of future sales and production volumes to become accepted within a vehicle manufacturer's organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Strategic niche management, Niche market, Hybrid vehicle, Automotive, Clean technology, Market formation
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-107990 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.059 (DOI)000337773000002 ()
Note

At the time for thesis presentation publication was in status: Manuscript

Available from: 2014-06-24 Created: 2014-06-24 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
5. Era of ferment and the challenge to the dominant powertrain design in the heavy vehicle industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Era of ferment and the challenge to the dominant powertrain design in the heavy vehicle industry
(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:nbn:se:liu:diva-102179 (URN)
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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