Title: Competitiveness and the new product process

Authors: R. Bertodo

Addresses: Anaßasi snc, Via N. Landorno 2, 10010 Palazzo Canavese (TO), Italy

Abstract: Industrial businesses world-wide are caught in an economic transition to globalised activities, characterised by a competitive scenario of ||speed|| and ||change||, in an environment of data and information exchange in real time to the furthest reaches of the planet. ||Globalisation|| is favouring the emergence of political, economic and trade zones of continental dimensions with important consequential effects giving competitive advantage a brittle, effervescent and rapidly obsolescing edge. Knowledge acquisition and deployment, inventiveness and adaptability have become keywords of success. This paper considers the meaning of ||competitive innovation|| within the developing situation described, and its cultural, managerial and methodological impacts on the crucial new product process, as observed within a range of mechanical, electro-mechanical and electronic enterprises, with particular reference to the personal transportation sector. Empirical trends are shown linking commercial and technological strategies with product programmes and structures, and with management and organisational developments. Qualitative and quantitative measures of competitiveness are presented and discussed. Due consideration is given to change management and implementation issues. It is concluded that globalisation is creating economic and competitive benefits through the reward of entrepreneurship, the punishment of inefficiencies and the close linking of competitiveness to ||productivity||, including engineering productivity. This is deepening inequalities between enterprises at different levels to be uncompetitive is to be marginalized. Local culture has an important influence on the possible responses to the need for evolution and change. The most effective mode of resource deployment will differ for different strategic objectives and commercial aims. Hence, no generally applicable product process enhancement programme can be devised, even for a single company operating in different cultures. It can generally be stated that ||innovation|| must be broadened beyond its accepted technological sense to encompass product architecture and structure, component quality and supply, realisation methodologies and deployment of resources. The net effect has been the emergence of distinctive competences in fast realisation and fast delivery timescales have reduced by orders of magnitude in every aspect of product realisation and presentation. The inherent change in values can trigger managerial resistances and transitional failure risks.

Keywords: change; competition; continuous improvement; customer; design; hierarchy; industry; innovation; management; organisation; processes; product engineering; suppliers; teamwork; time; value-added.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.1999.001848

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 1999 Vol.21 No.1, pp.40-54

Available online: 18 Aug 2003 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article