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Effects of platforms on new product development projects

Maximilian Pasche (Division of Operations Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Magnus Persson (Division of Operations Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Hans Löfsten (Division of Operations Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate effects of platforms on new product development (NPD) projects. Emphasis has been put on the following effect categories: project performance, process changes, and the use of performance measurements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on data collected in a survey of Swedish manufacturing firms. The survey collected data on platform characteristics and NPD characteristics. This paper reports correlations and regression analyses of the different variables.

Findings

The application of a platform strategy leads to a significant increase of component commonality on the product program level. However, it was observed that firms still have problems with sticking to project budgets in terms of cost and lead‐time restrictions. Moreover, platform implementation often involves significant process adaptations. Finally, it showed that firms are hardly applying measurements to follow up on their platform‐related activities.

Research limitations/implications

It appears that predictions made in current literature regarding platform effects are not generally valid for all firms. Therefore, this study indicates that there may be contingencies affecting the applicability of a platform strategy for specific firms.

Practical implications

Owing to potential contingencies affecting the applicability of platforms, firms have to carefully consider if a platform strategy is promising in their specific situation. Moreover, product platform implementation does not only demand an adaptation of product structures but also involves significant process adaptations.

Originality/value

By statistically testing effects of platforms on product development performance, the tendency of the current literature towards case‐based research is overcome. Hereby, the findings of current literature are challenged in terms of their generalizability.

Keywords

Citation

Pasche, M., Persson, M. and Löfsten, H. (2011), "Effects of platforms on new product development projects", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 11, pp. 1144-1163. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571111178475

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited