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Design chain visibility: How much information should you share with your partners during new product development projects?

Maria Caridi (Polytechnic University of Milan, Milan, Italy)
Margherita Pero (Polytechnic University of Milan, Milan, Italy)
Andrea Sianesi (Polytechnic University of Milan, Milan, Italy)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Researchers ascertain that the more the activities of new product development (NPD) process are outsourced to partners, the higher the need for integration. The purpose of this paper is to study: the extent to which the amount of information shared with the partners during NPD projects (DC visibility) depends on the degree of outsourcing (DC virtuality), and what are the context variables (product features and business relationship features) that influence this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides two sets of quantitative indexes to measure: the relevance of the activities outsourced during the NPD project (i.e. virtuality), in terms of the spread of the outsourced technological knowledge, and in terms of outsourced workload; and the amount of information that a focal company shares with product development partners (i.e. visibility). Seven NPD projects in different companies have been analyzed to investigate visibility, virtuality, and the implications of contingencies.

Findings

The cross-case analysis shows that the amount of information shared with the partners during the NPD project varies with the relevance of outsourced activities. In particular, the higher the relevance, the higher the amount of information shared with the partner. Partner location and integration, trust, and ICT support have a role in determining the amount of information shared with each single partner.

Originality/value

This study adopts an original network perspective in that the whole set of partners involved in the NPD process is analyzed. New quantitative indexes of visibility and virtuality of NPD projects are proposed, along with original insights about the impact of context variables. The quantitative indexes also provide a useful managerial tool to evaluate whether a focal company has the possibility to build competitive advantages that exploit unique resources beyond the boundaries of the company.

Keywords

Citation

Caridi, M., Pero, M. and Sianesi, A. (2017), "Design chain visibility: How much information should you share with your partners during new product development projects?", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 1337-1363. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-04-2016-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited