Innovation Management in UK and German Manufacturing Companies

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




(2000), "Innovation Management in UK and German Manufacturing Companies", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 24 No. 2/3/4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Innovation Management in UK and German Manufacturing Companies

Innovation Management in UK and German Manufacturing Companies

Keith Goffin and Rolf PfeifferAnglo-German Foundation1999ISBN 1 900834 17 0£12.00(Available from AGF Book Sales, c/o YPS Distribution, 64 Hallfield Road, Layerthorpe, York YO3 7XQ. Tel: +44 (0)1904 430033.)

Keywords: Innovation, United Kingdom, Germany

Companies may recognize the importance of innovation as a source of competitive advantage, but they stumble when trying to manage the process, according to this study by Prof. Keith Goffin from Cranfield School of Management and Prof. Dr Rolf Pfeiffer from the Export-Akademie Baden-WÏrttemberg in Germany.

The report is based on a year-long research project funded by the Anglo-German Foundation. It involved a survey of 194 companies plus detailed case studies of how innovation is managed at 16 manufacturing plants in the UK and Germany, drawn from the engineering and electrical/electronics sector. The study demonstrated that new products play a key role in revenue generation: on average, new products generate almost 30 per cent of revenues in the electrical and electronics sector and 26 per cent in the engineering sector.

Joint author Keith Goffin explains:

Companies tend to view innovation as simply a race to get products to market. A better analogy is a pentathlon, with manufacturers needing to achieve high performance in five key areas which include innovation strategy, new product development and human resource management.

Managing innovation is a complex and challenging task", says Rolf Pfeiffer.

To maximize competitive advantage, manufacturers need to improve their performance in all five areas of innovation management. In our case studies of German and UK manufacturers, some were doing well in several areas, but none were effective in all five.

The report should be of interest to all managers in the manufacturing sector who are grappling with how to make their companies more innovative. In includes clear recommendations and illustrative case studies.

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