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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paul Braiden
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The increasingly competitive markets of the 1990s are generally perceived to be demanding higher-quality and higher-performing products, in shorter and more predictable development cycle-times, and at lower cost. Product development must therefore increasingly be managed as a concurrent, multi-disciplinary process. In terms of the manufacturing function and suppliers this is reflected in recommendations for the formal representation and active involvement of both manufacturing and suppliers on project teams, and a strategic approach to suppliers based on partnership sourcing arrangements and supplier development programmes. However, findings of a recent research study of the UK electrical and mechanical engineering sector, involving comparative analysis and benchmarking against a model of best practice of 12 in-depth case studies, followed by an interview survey of 46 companies, has shown that the diversity in the competitive environment and the characteristics of companies, their strategic policies, and their development projects, give rise to different requirements vis-a-vis the roles of manufacturing and suppliers in product innovation. Also, the study has shown that some features of `best-practice' are inappropriate to some companies operating in the low-volume industries. It is concluded that, rather than adopt a prescriptive model of `best-practice', companies need to develop procedures which more adequately reflect their inherent needs and the types of project they undertake.
Author(s): Braiden P; Maffin D
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: International Journal of Production Economics
ISSN (print): 0925-5273
Publisher: Elsevier BV
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