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Article
Publication date: 18 March 2014

Tucker Marion and Sebastian Fixson

Information technology, globalization, and digital design have all contributed to the changing composition of new product development (NPD). These developments have led to…

Abstract

Information technology, globalization, and digital design have all contributed to the changing composition of new product development (NPD). These developments have led to a paradigm shift where continuous resources can be replaced by outsourced resources that are used intermittently throughout the entire innovation process. These resources can be plugged into the project at opportune times thereby lowering fixed costs and speeding commercialization. However, this intermittent use of resources requires appropriate management actions. This study reports on longitudinal, ethnographic case research performed over the span of the product development cycle of two projects. We look at multiple factors that can influence the effective coordination of outside, intermittent resources on the project. We explore critical characteristics of intermittent resources employed by new ventures, focusing on project management, the product development process, and the role of technology enablers such as IT collaboration. We find that technology's role in coordination of resources is less important than the robustness of interaction. Our qualitative study suggests that only when skilled project coordination is combined with precise communication can intermittent resources be effective. We conclude the article with the limitations and directions for further research.

Details

International Journal of Innovation Science, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-2223

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Sebastian Pashaei and Jan Olhager

The purpose of this paper is to explore how integral and modular product architectures influence the design properties of the global operations network.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how integral and modular product architectures influence the design properties of the global operations network.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors perform a multiple-case study of three global manufacturing companies, using interviews, seminars and structured questionnaires to identify ideal design properties.

Findings

The authors find that the choice of integral vs modular product architecture lead to significant differences in the preferred design properties of global operations networks concerning number of key technologies in-house, number of capable plants, focus at assembly plants, distance between assembly plant and market, and number of key supplier sites. Two of these were identified through this research, i.e. the number of capable plants and number of key supplier sites. The authors make a distinction between component and assembly plants, which adds detail to the understanding of the impact of product architecture on global operations. In addition, they develop five propositions that can be tested in further survey research.

Research limitations/implications

This study is restricted to three large manufacturing companies with global operations. However, the authors investigated both integral and modular products at these three companies and their associated global operations network. Still, further case or survey research involving a broader set of companies is warranted.

Practical implications

The key aspects for integral products are to have many key technologies in-house, concentration of production at a few capable plants, and economies-of-scale at assembly plants, while long distances between assembly plants and markets as well as few key supplier sites are acceptable. For modular products, the key aspects are many capable plants, economies-of-scope at assembly plants, short distance between assembly plants and markets, and many key supplier sites, while key technologies do not necessarily have to reside in-house – these can be accessed via key suppliers.

Originality/value

This paper is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first study on the explicit impact of product architecture on global operations networks, especially considering the internal manufacturing network.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Sebastian Pashaei and Jan Olhager

The purpose of this paper is to explore how global operations of manufacturing companies influence the choice of product architecture decisions, ranging from integral to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how global operations of manufacturing companies influence the choice of product architecture decisions, ranging from integral to modular product designs.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors perform a multiple-case study of three global manufacturing companies with integral and modular product architectures.

Findings

The authors find that the internal network capabilities, the number of capable plants, the focus of component plants, the focus of assembly plants, the distances from key suppliers to internal plants, and the number of market segments significantly influence the choice of integral vs modular architecture.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to three large manufacturing companies with global operations. However, the authors investigate both integral and modular products. The authors develop propositions that can be tested in further survey research.

Practical implications

The findings show that the type of global operations network influences the decision on product architecture, such that certain global operations characteristics support integral product designs, while other characteristics support modular designs.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge this paper is the first study on the explicit impact of global operations on product architecture, rather than the other way around.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Sebastian Pashaei and Jan Olhager

The purpose of this paper is to systematically review the extant literature on the relationship between product architectures and supply chain design to identify gaps in…

3151

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to systematically review the extant literature on the relationship between product architectures and supply chain design to identify gaps in the literature and identify future research opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the peer-reviewed literature on product architectures and supply chain written in English. The search strategy is based on selected databases and keywords. In total, 56 articles from 1995 to 2013 were identified.

Findings

Three key dimensions are identified for the categorization of the literature: the type of product architecture, the type of supply chain and the research methodology. Furthermore, we identify themes related to outsourcing, supplier selection, supplier relationships, distance from focal firm and alignment.

Research limitations/implications

The present search strategy may have missed some references that are related to the area. However, as a counter-measure, we used back-tracking and forward-tracking to identify additional relevant papers. A research agenda is proposed for further research on the interaction of product architectures and supply chain design.

Originality/value

This paper is, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, the first broad review that investigates the interrelationship between product architectures and supply chain design.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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