Effects of platforms on new product development projects
Journal article, 2011
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate effects of platforms on new product development (NPD) projects. Emphasis has been put on the following effect categories: project performance, process changes, and the use of performance measurements. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is based on data collected in a survey of Swedish manufacturing firms. The survey collected data on platform characteristics and NPD characteristics. This paper reports correlations and regression analyses of the different variables. Findings - The application of a platform strategy leads to a significant increase of component commonality on the product program level. However, it was observed that firms still have problems with sticking to project budgets in terms of cost and lead-time restrictions. Moreover, platform implementation often involves significant process adaptations. Finally, it showed that firms are hardly applying measurements to follow up on their platform-related activities. Research limitations/implications - It appears that predictions made in current literature regarding platform effects are not generally valid for all firms. Therefore, this study indicates that there may be contingencies affecting the applicability of a platform strategy for specific firms. Practical implications - Owing to potential contingencies affecting the applicability of platforms, firms have to carefully consider if a platform strategy is promising in their specific situation. Moreover, product platform implementation does not only demand an adaptation of product structures but also involves significant process adaptations. Originality/value - By statistically testing effects of platforms on product development performance, the tendency of the current literature towards case-based research is overcome. Hereby, the findings of current literature are challenged in terms of their generalizability.