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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Volume 25, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 157–167
This study investigates the impact of nine new product development (NPD) acceleration approaches on development speed. Our findings from 233 manufacturing firms show that 5 approaches (supplier involvement, lead user involvement, speeding up activities and tasks, training and rewarding of employees, and simplification of organizational structure) increase development speed, whereas 2 approaches (implementing support systems and techniques and stimulating inter-functional coordination) decrease development speed. Two approaches (i.e., reduction of parts and components and emphasizing the customer) have no effect on development speed. Our results further show that firms developing different types of new products should use different NPD acceleration approaches, as the speed impact of six out of nine approaches is dependent upon the degree of product innovativeness.
Research on new product development (NPD) practices reveals that firms have made substantial progress in reducing NPD cycle times (Ali, 2000). This reduction is often accredited to the implementation of specific acceleration techniques (Gonzáles and Palacios, 2002). A closer look at the body of research on acceleration techniques reveals however, that there is limited empirical evidence as to if and how the use of acceleration techniques impacts NPD speed (Dröge et al., 2000). In addition, the current body of literature has not yet investigated if firms developing different kind of new products should implement the same NPD acceleration techniques to increase development speed. This is unfortunate given the potentially sweeping effects of the appropriate acceleration techniques on NPD cycle time (Millson et al., 1992 and Nijssen et al., 1995). The purpose of this study is to fill a part of this gap in extant knowledge by investigating the impact of nine NPD acceleration approaches on development speed. We also respond to Langerak et al.'s (1999) suggestion to address the potential intricacies of the relationships between these acceleration approaches and speed for firms developing different types of new products. Therefore, we also examine if and how product innovativeness moderates the effect of the acceleration approaches on development speed. The remainder of this article is structured as follows. First, we review the literature on NPD acceleration techniques. Then, we present the conceptual framework and the proposed relationships. Next we explain the research design and review the findings from a sample of 233 manufacturing firms. In the final sections we will discuss the results and managerial implications, and propose suggestions for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our results with regard to the main effects show that five out of nine NPD acceleration approaches (i.e., supplier involvement, lead user involvement, speeding up activities and tasks, training and rewarding of employees, and simplification of organizational structure) increase development speed. These findings are consistent with the expectations in the literature (e.g., Langerak et al., 1999 and Nijssen et al., 1995). The finding that two out of nine NPD acceleration approaches (i.e., implementing support systems and techniques and stimulating inter-functional coordination) decrease development speed is unexpected. Both approaches have been identified through a grounded theory approach by multiple researchers as purporting to decrease NPD cycle time (e.g., Millson et al., 1992). These opposite effects suggest that “implementing support systems and techniques” and “stimulating inter-functional coordination” are non-monotonically related to development speed over the range of certain NPD project and process characteristics. This explanation is partly substantiated by our finding that product innovativeness moderates the impact of both approaches on development speed. Understanding the moderating impact of other project and process characteristics is a key issue that warrants further investigation. Our findings further show that two acceleration approaches (i.e., reduction of parts and components and emphasizing value for customers) have no effect on development speed. To explain this finding we endorse Langerak et al.'s (1999) proposition that the objectives that firms strive after by adopting these acceleration approaches might not be related to development speed, but rather to cost reductions (through the reduction of parts and components) and to the creation of new products with an advantage over existing products (through emphasizing value for customers). To examine this issue further however, more careful research and analysis is needed. Our results with regard to the moderating effect of product innovativeness show that the effectiveness of only three out of nine approaches (i.e., training and rewarding of employees, simplification of organizational structure and lead user involvement) is independent upon the innovativeness of the new product that is being developed. The finding that “training and rewarding of employees” and “simplification of organizational structure” are effective across different product types suggests that these approaches might be regarded as prior organizational conditions to achieve cycle time reduction (cf. Langerak et al., 1999). “Lead user involvement” clearly helps to acquire important need and solution information. This information prevents delays in later stages of the NPD process and ensures that the new product provides an advantage to customers (Karagozoglu and Brown, 1993). That is important for all types of new products is not surprising, because product advantage consistently appears as the most important new product characteristic in explaining the adoption and success of the new product (Henard and Szymanski, 2001). Our results further show that firms developing product line additions can, in additional to “lead user involvement”, “simplification of organizational structure” and “training and rewarding of employees”, use two other NPD acceleration approaches (i.e., supplier involvement and reduction of parts and components) to reduce cycle time. These two approaches seem to be consistent with the requirements of flexibility and learning that prevail in development processes of highly innovative new products (Kessler and Chakrabarti, 1999). Firms developing product improvements can, again in addition to “lead user involvement”, “simplification of organizational structure” and “training and rewarding of employees”, use two other approaches (i.e., speeding up activities and tasks and implementation of support systems and techniques) to increase development speed. These approaches seem compatible to the requirements of efficiency and compression that predominate in development processes of less innovative products (McDonough, 1993). These results underline the importance of further investigating the impact of NPD process characteristics on the relationship between the NPD acceleration approaches and development speed.