Product lifecycle management and distributor contribution to new product development

Restuccia, Mariachiara, de Brentani, Ulrike, Legoux, Renaud and Ouellet, Jean-François (2015) Product lifecycle management and distributor contribution to new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33 (1). pp. 69-89. ISSN 0737-6782

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After the initial launch of a new product, distributors are frequently among the first to learn about product-related problems through the information they get about how it is perceived and used by customers, and how it might be improved or adapted for broader market coverage. For producers, such information, which has the potential to impact new product development (NPD) activities during the product lifecycle management (PLM) phase that follows launch, can be decisive for ensuring the continued viability of the product in the medium-to-longer term. The goal of this article is to better understand how distributors contribute to producer PLM activities by engaging in product-related information processing. A typology of four distinct scenarios is developed by integrating three conceptual themes: organizational information processing, dynamic capabilities, and task complexity. Each scenario results from the interplay of the distributor’s level (low/high) of capability—specifically, a combination of information coordination and management of inter-organization relations—and of the degree (low/high) of complexity of the product-related problem. The four scenarios are analysed and described in terms of NPD-related information processing. According to the typology, distributors act as ‘problem informers’ (low capability/high complexity), ‘solution advisors’ (low capability/low complexity), ‘solution implementers’ (high capability/low complexity) or ‘solution managers’ (high capability/high complexity). 14 in-depth interviews with distributors and producers in industrial goods provide empirical evidence for the analysis, description and support of each scenario. The article contributes to NPD by shedding light on the role of distributors in terms of incremental innovation in the context of PLM. Developers of new products can use the typology in planning for distributor involvement in PLM activities; distributors can use it to map out their current and future level of engagement in PLM-related activities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Product Life Cycle Management, Distributor Involvement in NPD, Incremental innovation, New Product Development
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5410 Marketing. Distribution of products
Depositing User: Mariachiara Restuccia
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2015 10:23
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2023 14:12

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