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The importance of collaborative frontloading in automotive supply networks

Mario Binder (Automotive Business Unit, ZLU – Zentrum für Logistik und Unternehmensplanung GmbH, Berlin, Germany Operations and Information Management Group, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Peter Gust (Engineering and Design Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Production, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany)
Ben Clegg (Engineering and Design Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Production, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 14 March 2008

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1891

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how research and development (R&D) collaboration takes place for complex new products in the automotive sector. The research aims to give guidelines to increase the effectiveness of such collaborations.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology used to investigate this issue was grounded theory. The empirical data were collected through a mixture of interviews and questionnaires. The resulting inducted conceptual models were subsequently validated in industrial workshops.

Findings

The findings show that frontloading of the collaborative members was a major issue in managing successful R&D collaborations.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this research is that it is only based in the German automotive industry.

Practical implications

Practical implications have come out of this research. Models and guidelines are given to help make a success of collaborative projects and their potential impacts on time, cost and quality metrics.

Originality/value

Frontloading is not often studied in a collaborative manner; it is normally studied within just one organisation. This study has novel value because it has involved a number of different members throughout the supplier network.

Keywords

Citation

Binder, M., Gust, P. and Clegg, B. (2008), "The importance of collaborative frontloading in automotive supply networks", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 315-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380810853759

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited