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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2022

Lena L. Kronemeyer, Herbert Kotzab and Martin G. Moehrle

The purpose of this paper is the development of a patent-based supplier portfolio that can be used to evaluate and select suppliers on account of their technological competencies.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is the development of a patent-based supplier portfolio that can be used to evaluate and select suppliers on account of their technological competencies.

Design/methodology/approach

In addition to traditional approaches, the authors develop a supplier portfolio that characterizes suppliers according to the similarity between supplier's and OEM's technological competencies as well as their technological broadness. These variables are measured on the basis of patents, which constitute a valuable source of information in technology-driven industries. Contrary to existing binary measurement approaches, the authors’ portfolio uses semantic analyses to make use of the specific information provided in the patents' texts. The authors test this method in the field of gearings, which is a key driver for the automotive industry.

Findings

The authors identify six generic positions, characterizing specific risks for an OEM to become either technologically dependent or dependent on suppliers' production capacities. For each position the authors develop specific management strategies in face of the aforementioned risks. The approach helps OEMs navigate in the competitive landscape based on the most recent and publicly available information medium.

Originality/value

This work explicitly applies the construct of technological competencies to supplier evaluation and selection on the basis of portfolio approaches. Furthermore, the authors improve the use of patents for supplier evaluation in two respects: First, the authors analyze OEMs and upstream suppliers on an organizational level. Second, the authors utilize advanced semantic analysis to generate variables for the measurement of the criteria mentioned above.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 42 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 January 2021

Lena L. Kronemeyer, Raik Draeger and Martin G. Moehrle

Identifying ideas for frugal innovations could substantially support engineers and managers in their work. Patents may be a promising source of ideas for frugal…

Abstract

Purpose

Identifying ideas for frugal innovations could substantially support engineers and managers in their work. Patents may be a promising source of ideas for frugal innovations. The purpose of this paper is to show how patents of this kind can be identified.

Design/methodology/approach

Prior work has developed a generic process model to identify frugal patent candidates. They use semantic analysis and a frugal thesaurus for searching and characterizing frugal patent candidates. The question is, whether and how this process model can be applied to a different industry successfully? The field of small household appliances is selected as a testbed because it is known for including frugal innovations while having a different business model than the industrial field in which the thesaurus was developed.

Findings

Applying the process model leads to a number of 22 strongly frugal patent candidates, which are manually evaluated based on three frugal characteristics. Due to this analysis, a high fraction of the candidates could be identified as frugal patents, which validates the process model. In addition, this paper outlines several options for enhancing the process model, e.g. by separating between a frugal search and a frugal evaluation thesaurus.

Originality/value

The process model to identify frugal patent candidates can be used by engineers and technology managers to find ideas for frugal innovations. This paper not only shows its applicability in the industry of small household appliances but gives the basis for its successful transfer to other industries.

Details

International Journal of Innovation Science, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-2223

Keywords

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