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New Service Development in Complex Business-to-Business Operations: A capabilities perspective

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Wednesday 10 November 2010, 13:00
LT12, Management School

Juliana Bonomi Santos
(PhD Student)

Abstract: The process of new products and services development is a well-studied topic. This literature is interested on mapping the development process, on accessing the degree of formalization and effectiveness of these processes and on the development of tools and techniques to support companies. Research in this area has a bias towards high volume products and services traded in the consumer market, like consumer goods and financial products. Although many insights derive from these settings, much remains to be understood on how complex service and product offerings are developed in the business-to-business market. These offerings are composed by many parts (i.e. employees, customers, technology, facilities, systems), which interact in an often not easily understood way. As such, their assembly is not straightforward; it is difficult to exactly predict how the final service and product will look like.

The process of developing new or heavily customized versions of established products and services differs from the controlled setting studied by the “new product and service development” literature. The concept can only be roughly specified and a lot depends on the customer’s knowledge about their needs. Specification and supply conditions need to be translated into a proposal. The development stage starts after parts have contracted. As such, prototyping and market testing is rarely an option. Additionally, clients and other stakeholders (e.g. subcontractors) are often involved in the specification and implementation, leading to re-definition of the initial concept and changes in already established aspects of the operation. The development process is an interactive and iterative endeavour, what can and should affect operational decisions such as capacity planning, supply relationships, knowledge base and control systems.

Case studies of the development process of complex business-to-business service-product offerings will be conducted to answer how their development process affects, and is affected by, operations resources and processes. Three research objectives are set for this purpose: 1) to understand the inherent complexities of the development process in this setting; 2) to comprehend the influence of these complexities on structural and infrastructural operations decisions i.e. how changes in specifications affect capacity plans; 3) to explore the role of the current operations capabilities in constraining or enabling decisions during the development process i.e. how current technology used affects the specification of the service availability level. The next step of this research is the data collection. In the seminar we will present the research foundations and the methodology designed, including the “sampling” procedure, the data collection plan and some research protocols. We would welcome all comments to improve the research before entering the field.

Juliana is in the second year of her PhD in Management Science, she is interested operations management issues in business-to-business companies. Juliana has a degree in Business Administration and an MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (specialising in Performance Measurement) both from FGV-EAESP, a leading business school in Latin America.

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