کاربرد تحقیقات جدید و مدل انتخاب پروژه توسعه در شرکت های کوچک و متوسط
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|16562||2006||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 26, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 242–250
The work reported in this paper investigates Research and Development (R&D) project selection models, focusing on the application of a new hybrid project selection model in a UK based engineering Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). Work is done to enable the new project selection model to be applied in an SME and the model is then field tested. Field test results provide insight into the barriers to the adoption of such a model in an SME, either as a decision support tool or as a knowledge acquisition and learning tool. Insights are gained into the suitability and limits that exist within SMEs for the use of such decision support models. As an outcome of the field test results a simple R&D project portfolio cash-flow tracking method is proposed.
The need to innovate is viewed by many companies as central to their survival strategy. Novel and high-tech product development is an effective way to give companies a leading edge over competitors and open new markets. Having a product of technical superiority in the market place can be a significant advantage. Hence the high importance of good research and development for firms involved in technological products. Research and Development (R&D) is an ongoing process for forward thinking technology-based companies. Development of existing products is advisable to keep ahead of advances that competitors may be making. Further, when a potential customer approaches a firm outlining its requirements for a product, R&D may be required to fulfil the request. More speculative ‘blue sky’ research is also an option for firms. Speculative R&D is a valuable avenue to open new market opportunities and this type of research may lead to totally new products being developed, new markets being entered and thus strengthen the company's position through diversification. Where a firm seeks to define the balance between R&D in established areas of corporate knowledge and more speculative R&D a decision has to be made on how to prioritise investment. A choice exists between investing in development within proven markets and product spheres or venturing into new knowledge domains. The situation is analogous to a fleet of fishing trawlers. While most of the fleet will trawl waters known to be frequented by fish, a few boats may speculate by exploring uncharted waters. This can lead to new opportunities being discovered and thus reducing the fleet's dependence on its familiar areas for catches. Similarly, a technology-based company may guard against being damaged by downturns in its established sectors by seeking new sectors to move into through speculative ‘blue sky’ R&D. Large numbers of proposed R&D projects may potentially be pursued when considering this R&D philosophy. The ability to consistently select the best projects to fund is therefore vitally important to firms. Extensive academic research has been conducted over the past 35 years or so to produce methods to improve the R&D project selection processes. Many project selection models have been developed over the years taking into account projects' financial aspects, risk considerations, or ranking projects by using scoring models. Research has shown (Cooper et al., 2001) that the most successful approach is to select projects by considering financial, risk and project ranking, using a so-called hybrid selection model. Despite this scope of previous work, relatively little research has been done to investigate the application of project selection processes within companies, particularly in small firms. This study looks at an individual case of applying a hybrid R&D project selection model within a small engineering company. Such a field test provides an insight into the practicalities of applying a model abstracted from academic research in industry. Insight is also gained into the R&D selection process currently used within a small UK based engineering firm. From this study the factors that determine whether or not such a project selection model is likely to be adopted within a particular company are analysed based on the field test results and reviewed literature.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The potential benefits of consistent and structured R&D project selection have long been recognised in both academia and industry. For about the last 35 years countless models have been developed to provide logic and structure to R&D project and portfolio management. Early development centred on scoring and financial models. Risk assessment is also an established technique used in project evaluation. Much of the more recent work has produced hybrid selection tools, where the three aforementioned techniques, scoring, financial and risk are used to provide a more balanced project assessment tool. A particular new hybrid project selection model has been studied. A need to field test the model was identified. Consequently, work has been completed to allow translation of the model into an applicable form for a small engineering company. While documentation of project selection model development in academia and industry are widespread, reports of model evaluation and usage within industry are relatively scarce. While some studies have been conducted on model usage in large companies, applications within SMEs remain largely undocumented. This research has produced insights into the use of R&D project selection models in SMEs by testing a recently developed hybrid project selection model in a UK-based engineering SME. The field test conducted in this research at a typical small engineering firm points to a general conclusion that small companies are unlikely to adopt structured hybrid project selection models such as the model considered here. This is due to management's view that a high quality of decision-making is maintained without implementing a selection tool. Therefore, the benefits of applying a selection model are perceived to be outweighed by the cost and time involved in implementing the model. However, the results are limited by the fact that this is only one example. Field tests at several more small companies are desirable to gain a better understanding of the applicability of the project selection model within small firms. Different companies and different styles of management may produce different field test results. For instance, the importance placed on recording the decision-making process by particular senior managers will have a significant effect on the likelihood of decision support systems being implemented within a firm. Also, in larger companies, using a formal selection process to assist decision-making is likely to have greater benefit than in small firms since larger firms have more decision-makers and thus by default there is more to be gained by aiming to achieve a more consistent decision-making process. The field test has shown that cost is a barrier to small firms implementing formal project selection techniques. Perceived benefits of such a decision support system are judged to be outweighed by the cost of using a model. Many larger companies already utilise structured project selection decision processes and could therefore adopt the particular model being considered here much more easily than a small firm with more limited financial resources. One of the advantages of implementing the project selection model is that it allows a record of learning within the company to be kept. Such records are likely to be of particular value in large companies where R&D portfolios are strategically determined. In small firms, the tendency is for these companies to be driven by client demands and decisions are made by an individual or a small number of people, or a single individual. Large companies, unlike small firms have the scope and need to share decision-making knowledge. Indeed, in the test case here, the number of decision makers is one and thus the value of keeping decision-making records to share knowledge is very low. This offers an explanation as to why small firms in general and the company participating in this field test in particular are unwilling to invest the time and money to allow the implementation of a hybrid project selection model. In SMEs, where the R&D portfolio is tactically assembled by a small group, in a timely response to client demands, knowledge of the decision is shared and understood without the aid of a project selection support tool. The field test identified a need for engineering management to track R&D project and portfolio finances more closely. Prompted by the willingness of management to formalise analysis and record keeping of financial aspects of R&D projects, a simple spreadsheet based tracking method has been developed. The method meets the requirements expressed by engineering management of being quick and easy to use. It clearly displays individual project and overall portfolio finances over time. The method makes it straightforward for management to quickly establish the effect of changes to projects' budgets and time scales to the overall portfolio cash flow. The company's interest in only formalising financial project aspects is not altogether surprising. Financial models have the most widespread use in large firms. This combined with the reduced value identified of sharing knowledge in small firms compared with large firms explains the greater reluctance of small companies to adopt a hybrid project selection model.