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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|2654||2005||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8540 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 25, Issue 9, September 2005, Pages 1001–1015
Based on a cross-industry sample of 103 Korean manufacturers, this study examines the role of new product development proficiencies for platform and derivative projects. The results of this study show that companies pursuing a higher degree of platform-based product variety perceive that they have to more proficiently execute process-planning, marketing, and technical activities for the platform project to improve product family technical success compared to companies emphasizing a lower degree of platform-based product variety. However, only superior execution of marketing activities for derivative projects appear to facilitate product family technical success. Our results stress the primacy of marketing capabilities, relative to process-planning and technical proficiencies, in improving product family technical performance. Mediational regression analyses suggest that, for higher product variety firms, commercial success of the product family may not be conditional upon superior execution of these activities relative to their lower product variety counterparts. The article concludes with discussion of implication for practice, theory and research.
In markets characterized by diverse customer needs and wants, a single product seldom meets the needs of an entire market. Organizations may compete by introducing more new products than the average competitor. However, new product development (NPD) costs can dramatically escalate when firms develop a large number of unique products that do not share common design, engineering, and manufacturing. Firms, therefore, try to satisfy multiple market segments by using common platforms—defined as component and subsystem assets shared across a family of products (Robertson and Ulrich, 1998)—to generate product variants and modifications which may be launched simultaneously or sequentially. Platform-based product variety, reflecting the push toward mass customization, has become the focal point of competition for many firms (Pine, 1993). For instance, in the PC market, there are over 2000 different models being offered for sale (Bayus and Putsis, 1999). Although platforms enable firms to efficiently expand their product portfolio, research evidence to support a positive relationship between platform-based product variety and product family performance is mixed. Some studies show that business units with broader product lines relative to competition have higher market share and profitability (e.g. Kekre and Srinivasan, 1990). Although these studies did not explicitly focus on platform-based product variety, by implication, firms are more likely to enhance market competitiveness and profitability by using common platforms to create desired product variety. As noted by Meyer and Utterback, 1993 and Meyer and Lehnerd, 1997, platform-based product development can be beneficial by enabling firms to offer more product variety at lower costs. By contrast, in a study of one firm over a 5-year period, Hauser (1999) shows that the platform approach does not always improve product line profitability. Others also have highlighted the limitations of using platforms, such as the loss of product differentiation (Robertson and Ulrich, 1998), over-design costs, and loss of product quality (Krishnan and Gupta, 2001). The extant literature on platforms has largely addressed the cost-benefit implications and impacts of platform-based product development with respect to consumer preference or demand, and elements of the development process, such as component selection, process design, and product planning. Much of prior work also tended to focus on a single industry or company, so conclusions may not be generalized to a wider set of firms (e.g. Hauser, 1999, Krishnan and Gupta, 2001 and Ramdas and Sawhney, 2001), while others lack formal empirical testing (e.g. Desai et al., 2001). Although previous work has advanced our understanding of the role of platform-based product development in achieving cost-effective variety, more empirical research is needed to understand the relationships between platform development strategies, activities, and product family performance. Our study extends current work by examining how platform products and product variant development proficiencies influence product family outcomes within a cross-industry sample of companies. We identify with two types of projects, namely platform and derivative. The former refers to the initial project which develops the platform and the commercialization of the initial product whereas a derivative project involves the development of the product variant that reuses the existing platform (Tatikonda, 1999). In contrast, higher product variety firms face additional challenges of mounting more development projects, that must be coordinated around a basic platform, as well as differentiating multiple variants. Failure to meet these demands and to proficiently plan and execute requisite platform and variant development projects may be one reason for the contradictory results reported for the links between platform-based product variety and firm's performance. Our key research question is: To what extent does the fit between specific NPD proficiencies and the firm's degree of product variety impact product family performance? We focus on South Korean (Korean hereafter) NPD within the context of platform-driven product family expansion. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in identifying NPD success factors for firms from Korea and other Asian countries (e.g. China, Japan, and Taiwan) (Xie et al., 1998, Song and Parry, 1997a, Calantone et al., 1996 and Song and Montoya-Weiss, 2001). This interest is partly due to the growing importance of Asia, and, especially the Asia Pacific region, to world trade and output. In particular, following a period of restructuring since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Korea is returning to strong growth, an economic resurgence that is also dependent on the creation of competitive new products for sale worldwide (Moon, 2001). The emerging literature on Korean NPD largely focuses on the determinants of new product performance. Our study, however, adds to the existing body of knowledge by both building on the results of prior studies, and examining the relevance of NPD proficiencies with respect to platform-based product development. Although our study's contribution is through application, the latter pertains to a fast rising East Asian economy, which provides useful generalizability and perspective to previous studies. The rest of this article is organized as follows. First, we present the conceptual framework and research hypotheses. Then, we describe the methodology and data analyses, followed by the presentation and discussion of our findings. We conclude with a discussion of the managerial implications, and, taking into account the study's limitations, we offer some recommendations for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our findings based on a cross-industry sample of Korean firms show that firms that make greater use of a platform than competition can create a highly successful product family, gauged using both technical and commercial criteria. We support the view that significant benefits accrue to firms that successfully leverage platform-based product development (Meyer and Lehnerd, 1997). However, our study adds new insights by highlighting the relative importance of NPD proficiencies for platform and derivative projects in influencing the technical and commercial outcomes of firms' product variety strategy. Firms pursuing more aggressive platform-driven product line expansion than competition have to more adeptly execute NPD process-planning and technical activities for the platform project, while sustaining superior marketing capabilities for both platform and derivative projects, in order to enhance product family technical performance. By contrast, process-planning and technical competencies for derivative projects do not appear to mediate the product variety–technical performance relationship. However, possibly due to the potential for sharing NPD experiences and capabilities across derivative projects, higher product variety firms' capacity to enhance product family commercial performance does not appear to be conditional on developers' propensity to more proficiently execute process-planning, marketing, and technical tasks than competition. Also, we surmise that the NPD proficiencies we studied did not mediate the impact of product variety on commercial product family performance because, ultimately, financial and market performance, may be dependent on the technical success (e.g. quality, design, performance) of products in the family, rather than a direct consequence of well-executed product development processes. Our mediational regression results provide some support for the relevance of using fit theory (von Hippel, 1990) to examine the links between NPD proficiencies, the firm's platform-based product development strategy, and product family performance. In addition, the differential impacts of NPD proficiencies as facilitators of product family technical success on the one hand, and commercial success, on the other, suggest that future investigations should distinguish between these two (technical and commercial) dimensions of performance. Research results should also be more carefully interpreted in light of these differences. The research findings also have practical implications for NPD managers who manage platform-based NPD projects. Our study suggests that greater utilization of a platform than competition can enhance product family technical and commercial performance. However, technical success of the product family is secured largely through highly proficient product development practices in the platform project. However, a pre-occupation with technical decisions (e.g. technical configuration, component design and selection) is not a sufficient facilitator of product family success. Although technical proficiency is essential for platform development, firms seeking to maximize the technical performance of the product family, should not undervalue the role of NPD process-planning efforts for the platform project and marketing effectiveness for both platform and derivative projects. The former may attenuate product engineering demands, hence improving efficiency in subsequent variant development. The latter underscores how well product concepts are developed and the execution of superior positioning and differentiation strategies for product variants. Moreover, more effective market assessments and product planning may better inform and direct subsequent technical development efforts. This may improve the odds of launching well-differentiated product variants that meet evolving market needs. Our observations of Korean manufacturers also imply that the firms that offer more platform-based product variety also have more platforms compared to competition. The formal testing of possible scope economies derived from shared knowledge and resources across the firm's platforms lie outside the remit of our study. However, product and platform variety may well generate synergies or economies that positively impact firms' product family program performance. The current study contains a number of limitations that should be considered when interpreting our findings. First, there are inherent limitations and threats to internal validity (Montoya-Weiss and Calantone, 1994) arising from our use of the retrospective methodology. A further source of bias arises from getting respondents to select focal projects. Hence, we acknowledge the danger of establishing true cause–effect relationships using the current methodology. Future research should use better methods (e.g. real-time and longitudinal) to track NPD behavior and outcomes, rather than relying on retrospective data to determine linkages of the type implied in our proposed model. Second, measurement error is likely to occur in using single-item scales for measuring the firm's degree of product variety as well as the control variable, platform variety. Future studies should develop and use multiple variables for these constructs in order to increase measurement reliability. As our sample was from a single country, South Korea, the results may not be generalized beyond the sample concerned. Future studies should extend the analysis of the relationships examined in this study to other countries. Our study emphasized NPD related proficiencies but excluded other variables, notably, NPD organization and structures, that have been associated with NPD project outcomes (Barczak, 1995 and Olson et al., 1995). Future investigations should extend the current study's focus to include and examination of the role that these (and other variables) play in enhancing platform-based product family performance. Despite the research limitations discussed above, we believe that our study provides the basis for future research to advance our understanding of the critical factors governing successful platform-based product development.