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Supplier Involvement in New Product Development under Technological Uncertainty
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses the challenges that firms are faced with when collaborating with suppliers in new product development (NPD) projects under technological uncertainty. A critical observation that is made in this context is that technologies are evolving faster, making products more complex. At the same time, firms become more specialized. Due to increased complexity and specialization, firms do not possess all the necessary technologies in-house and therefore need to collaborate with external organisations to incorporate new technology into their products. Common collaborators are suppliers who become integrated into the buying firm’s NPD project. However, finding suppliers and collaborating with suppliers in NPD can be problematic. In addition, external collaborations also impact the buying firm internally, since it often needs to coordinate its departments. The purpose of this thesis is to explore supplier involvement in NPD under technological uncertainty. Challenges in supplier selection are concerned with the issues of involving new suppliers or relying on old acquaintances, managing uncertainties, the dilemma of whether to commit to long-term relationships or to maintain flexibility, and deciding on which department that is responsible for evaluating and selecting the supplier. The present study of buyers and suppliers in NPD, shows the challenges that are involved in balancing control, reaching goal alignment, and managing transactional and relational governance. Internal challenges investigate the coordination between the R&D department and purchasing in NPD projects where suppliers are involved. The present findings may be of value for firms who engage in collaborative NPD, or for firms who aim to involve suppliers in their development of new products.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 102 + Appendices p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1568
Keyword [en]
New product development, supplier involvement, collaborative R&D, technological uncertainty, supplier selection, buyer-supplier collaboration, coordination, R&D, purchasing, project
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103943DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-103943ISBN: 978-91-7519-416-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-103943DiVA: diva2:693278
Public defence
2014-03-07, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-04 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2014-02-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Uncertainty in collaborative NPD: Effects on the selection of technology and supplier
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Uncertainty in collaborative NPD: Effects on the selection of technology and supplier
2014 (English)In: Journal of engineering and technology management, ISSN 0923-4748, E-ISSN 1879-1719, Vol. 31, no 1, 103-119 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To gain competitive advantage,firms involve suppliers in New Product Development (NPD). However, uncertainty affects selection of suppliers and associated technologies, and selection outcomes in terms of commitment to one supplier or maintaining flexibility. We report on  a case study of collaborative NPD with the aim to develop an energy storage unit.The case involved selection of both technology and supplier, where both were changed during the NPD. Drawing upon Hall et al.(2011), we analyze technological, organizational and commercial uncertainties. We demonstrate how technological, commercial and organizational uncertainties cause firms to seek flexibility rather than commitment to one supplier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Collaborative R&D; Technology selection; Supplier involvement; Power systems; R&D management; Energy storage
National Category
Social Sciences Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102343 (URN)10.1016/j.jengtecman.2013.10.009 (DOI)000331426300007 ()
Projects
Managing External Knowledge Acquisition
Funder
Vinnova
Available from: 2013-12-07 Created: 2013-12-07 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Variation of purchasing's involvement: case studies of supplier collaborations in new product development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Variation of purchasing's involvement: case studies of supplier collaborations in new product development
2014 (English)In: International Journal of procurement management, ISSN 1753-8432, E-ISSN 1753-8440, Vol. 7, no 1, 103-118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Firms are increasingly involving suppliers in new product development (NPD) and one reason for this is to access technological knowledge. 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 level of participation in NPD projects involving suppliers. Three NPD projects at one large high-tech firm are studied. The results show that purchasing has limited influence in the technology selection process, but fulfils an important role in the selection of the supplier and has a role as a trouble-shooter throughout the collaborative NPD projects. Purchasing does not necessarily need to be involved in solving daily, routine problems, but serves as a trouble-shooter to solve problems related to the supplier's strategy, the relationship with the supplier, and commitment issues.

Keyword
Purchasing; new product development; NPD; supplier management; technology selection; supplier selection; case studies
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103935 (URN)10.1504/IJPM.2014.057877 (DOI)2-s2.0-84894213662 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-02-04 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Organizational separation of technologically uncertain NPD projects involving suppliers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Organizational separation of technologically uncertain NPD projects involving suppliers
2014 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasingly, firms are searching for new technologies from suppliers outside firm boundaries through collaborative new product development (NPD). In these situations, it is not clear how firms rely on and achieve complementarity of relational and transactional governance mechanisms. Based on study of technologically uncertain NPD projects, it is determined that organizational separation is used as a way to achieve this complementarity. The findings stress that although transactional and relational governance are considered as complementary mechanisms, they are implemented in separate, but parallel processes in order to avoid potential counteracting effects of simultaneous use. The findings show that under circumstances of technological uncertainty, R&D engineers fulfil an important role in relational governance, while purchasing fulfils transactional governance tasks and is placed outside the NPD project.

Keyword
New Product Development; Uncertainty; Governance; Purchasing; Supplier Management; Asset specificity
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103937 (URN)
Available from: 2014-02-04 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved
4. In pursuit of control: involving suppliers of critical technologies in new product development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In pursuit of control: involving suppliers of critical technologies in new product development
2014 (English)In: Supply chain management, ISSN 1359-8546, E-ISSN 1758-6852, Vol. 19, no 5-6, 722-732 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the dynamics of management and control in collaborations with suppliers of critical technology.

Design/methodology/approach – Three collaborative product development projects at a system integrator in the Telecom industry were studied. The data was collected through 22 semi-structured interviews and a workshop at the studied company and its suppliers.

Findings – The paper shows that in situations of high dependence on suppliers of critical technologies, control may be pursued by complementing black box development with appropriate checks and balances in the collaboration, i.e. by using combinations of control mechanisms, disconnected development and joint problem solving, contracts and trust, and alignment efforts on project and strategic levels. Further, the paper demonstrates that this involves several trade-offs related to the advantages of increased monitoring and disadvantages of decreased levels of freedom for the supplier and consequently decreased prerequisites for supplier creativity.

Research limitations/implications – The qualitative approach of the research limits generalizability. Our study is limited to three projects at one firm.

Practical implications – Technological roadmaps can be used as an important tool to facilitate alignment with suppliers of critical technologies. Limited influence on project level can be supported by influencing the supplier on a strategic level. By collaborating on a strategic level, firms can gain alignment for future projects and diminish the need for direct project control within the projects. Long-term collaborations facilitate control in projects with powerful suppliers of critical technologies.

Originality/value – While many studies suggest simplified responses to complex situations of supplier involvement in product development, this study provides insight into the complex responses to control suppliers of critical technologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014
Keyword
New product development, Supplier involvement, Control, Goal alignment
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103938 (URN)10.1108/SCM-01-2014-0040 (DOI)000345150800014 ()
Available from: 2014-02-04 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
5. To evaluate or to use past experience?: Collecting information for supplier selection under technological uncertainty in new product development projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To evaluate or to use past experience?: Collecting information for supplier selection under technological uncertainty in new product development projects
2014 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasingly, firms involve external companies in the innovation process to integrate new technology. However, under technological uncertainty, it may not be obvious which will be the most suitable technology to incorporate. Few studies have investigated how technological uncertainty affects firms’ supplier selection for new product development (NPD). Hence, this paper aims to investigate how firms select suppliers for collaborative NPD under varied levels of technological uncertainty. This research is based on seven case studies in which 53 interviews were conducted. Two strategies for supplier selection under technological uncertainty are discussed. These are based on an evaluation of: (i) the supplier’s present situation and (ii) previous experience. The findings show that technological capabilities were an important criterion in the assessment of suppliers both in projects with low and high technological uncertainty. Moreover, in projects with high technological uncertainty, relational capabilities were also important.

Keyword
Product development; supplier involvement; supplier selection; technological uncertainty; information asymmetry; case studies
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103940 (URN)
Available from: 2014-02-04 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2014-02-25Bibliographically approved

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