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Paper info: A review of practices for supplier involvement in lean product development

Title


A review of practices for supplier involvement in lean product development

Authors


Caroline Cheng
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Norway
Caroline Cheng ,
Elsebeth Holmen
Norwegian School of Information Technology
Norway
Elsebeth Holmen and
Ann-Charlott Pedersen
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Norway
Ann-Charlott Pedersen

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 33rd IMP-conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.

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Abstract


Although supplier involvement as a topic has been extensively dealt with both within and outside IMP studies, there appears to be no coherent view on the “how” of supplier involvement to date. The paucity of such studies is an impediment in presenting concise and actionable advice to managers. In the interest of attending to the “how” of supplier involvement, we focus on two streams of literature: supplier involvement in IMP studies with its relationship focus, and lean product development involving suppliers, where reducing time-to-market and development costs in new product development (NPD) are prominent themes. To tie the two streams of literature together, we apply a “practices” lens, using practices as defined within the strategy-as-practice literature, in order to review the different ways, activities and concrete methods that can be used to involve suppliers in product development. From our literature review, we suggest that a framework for discussing practices for supplier involvement in product development can consider at least five aspects: (1) understanding suppliers´ input in the knowledge value stream; (2) establishing the extent of involvement; (3) establishing the timing of involvement; (4) selecting supplier relationships; and (5) developing supplier interface management and interaction-based capabilities. As how a firm practices supplier involvement in product development processes remains under-analysed, more empirical research is needed to enhance the understanding of the range of approaches and methods of supplier involvement in product development, where the suggested framework using a “practices” lens may be helpful to observe patterns of supplier involvement in product development.