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Why do some UK SMEs still find the implementation of a new product development process problematical? An exploratory investigation

Jonathan D. Owens (Lincoln Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 March 2007

Abstract

Purpose

The long‐term survival of a business often hinges on its ability to successfully introduce new products into the marketplace. These new products and their successful development can be the lifeblood of a company. This paper aims to examine why product development delays occur in SMEs, the nature of these delays, and what can be done in order to avoid them.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is exploratory in nature and provides empirical support to several propositions found in the innovation management literature on the development of new products.

Findings

Various reasons for delays in new product development are found, including poor definition of product requirements, technological uncertainties, senior management support, lack of resources, and poor project management. Major concerns raised included management and organisational style, lack of attention to detail, limited support for innovation, lack of strategic thinking, and poor manufacturing capabilities.

Originality/value

The consistent development and introduction of new products that customers value can be an important criterion for business growth and prosperity. Suggestions to help accelerate the NPD process in SMEs are presented, including active and visible senior management commitment, early involvement of functional groups, the introduction of new work methods, early market/technical testing, and effective new product organisations.

Keywords

Citation

Owens, J.D. (2007), "Why do some UK SMEs still find the implementation of a new product development process problematical? An exploratory investigation", Management Decision, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 235-251. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740710727269

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited