University of Twente Student Theses


From business to new product development planning : integration of strategic, tactical and operational planning processes

Krans, E. (2015) From business to new product development planning : integration of strategic, tactical and operational planning processes.

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Abstract:The master thesis project has been carried out at Sport5, which is a fictional company name due to confidentiality reasons. Sport5 is an international wholesale company of sport goods and leading in the Benelux. Its brand portfolio is broad and the product issues became more complex over the years. It faced difficulties meeting deadlines considering commercialization and was unable to assure alignment between several departments continuously. Preliminary research and observations gave a better insight of the presumed problems and the main causes. No clear, well founded new product development strategy is available, objectives and positioning per brand are unclear and Sport5 has not enough insight into her new product development procedures and therefore does not know the efficacy and efficiency of its new product development process. These issues suggested that general structured procedures about new product development planning, from strategic to operational level, were missing. And in addition this company needed more alignment between strategy, portfolio and new product development planning, in order to achieve business objectives. Therefore the research objective became: “To develop an approach, which aligns strategic, tactical and operational new product development processes, in order to support Sport5 to become more long-run orientated and to be able to achieve business objectives.“ The issues at Sport5 asked for better alignment between strategic vision, tactical structured brand management and a more efficient and manageable idea-to-launch process at the operation. This means taking into account all three levels of business operations: strategic, tactical and operational. Therefore, the main research question became: “What is an appropriate approach to integrate strategic, tactical and operational business planning processes concerning new product development?“. A structured literature review had been conducted on the four levels of analysis: strategic technology roadmapping (TRM), tactical portfolio management (PM), operational stage gate systems (SGS) and the alignment between these methods. From the literature review on the separate approaches on the three business levels, we could highlight that strategic alignment for new product development is crucial. Businesses should develop a new product development strategy, driven by the strategic vision of the company. This strategy should guide the strategic business units and the business’s product development directions. Next to these directions, this strategy should help in resource allocation and project selection. It is important to have an established, explicit and formal method for portfolio management in place. Concerning prioritizing issues, strategic methods should play a primary role. In this manner, strategy will split the resources across strategic business units, product types, between short-term and long-term projects, between high-risk and low-risk initiatives and between new products and re-ordering. This should lead to well-founded attack and collection plans. Next, the review highlighted the importance of having proper integrated new product development processes from idea to commercialization in place. The process should include extended pre-development research and market studies, allowing senior management to make founded decisions considering project prioritizations and selection and as a result, make the front end more effective. When the quality of the early stages is done better, less low impact projects will be executed, prioritization and go/kill decisions can be made on founded data, resources will fit the number of projects better and activities can be more expertly executed. This will result in a more balanced portfolio of projects, which are aligned with strategy, with more efficient cycle times, higher success rates and a positive impact on sales profit at the end. This extended literature review served as the theoretical basis for the hybrid new product development approach, which aligns, strategic, tactical and operational, respectively TRM, PM and SGS, business planning processes. Best practices were taken into consideration and as a result the developed hybrid STO (Strategic, Tactical, Operational) – NPD approach has a strong theory base. It reveals that new product development planning processes from strategic vision, via portfolio management, towards stage gate systems can be and should be aligned in order to do the right projects and doing the projects right. The STO – NPD approach is visualised in figure 18, on page 55. This approach integrates technology roadmapping with an established and explicit portfolio management method, which is necessary to forge the link between business strategy and project prioritization and selection. The method should be customized for each particular business that wants to implement the approach. The chosen tools are dependent on the business objectives, but this research highlights that the best performers rely more on strategic methods than on financial methods. The structured and scalable stage gate system integrated in the STO – NPD approach must ensure that projects are well processed and killed when necessary. This should lead to a balanced and valuable project portfolio. Which highlight the importance between portfolio management and stage gate systems. It is almost impossible to use them independently of each other. Three crucial necessities have been identified for successful STO – NPD deployment: senior management involvement, open communication and a cross-functional team approach. To increase success rates on implementation, change management methods were used to develop an activity guideline for implementation and integration of the STO – NPD at a particular business. Next, to achieve the objective of this research, the current situation of Sport5 has been analysed on the basis of the knowledge obtained from the literature review. The hybrid STO – NPD approach functioned as a reference. In this manner, we could easily advise Sport5 how to implement and integrate such a hybrid model into its on-going business because of the gaps identified between current state and ideally integrated process. The main recommendation derived from this research was to implement the STO – NPD approach. But to be able to do so, one concern has been identified which should be resolved before steps towards implementing a hybrid approach can be taken. Successful implementing a STO – NPD approach requires a cross-functional team approach and in the current state, Sport5 does not encourage team settings like these. It is therefore recommended to work towards a team-based structure in which the entire organization is made up of teams. Major changes for Sport5 implementing the STO – NPD approach are extended market research, business and resource analysis, using explicit portfolio management tools for prioritizing and selecting projects and with less reliance on financial methods in early phases, working with a structured stage gate systems which supports parallel processes, working in cross-functional teams and therefore involvement of various departments in the development of new products. This report should lay the foundation and create the sense of urgency about changing the new product development processes at Sport5, which is the first step of the hybrid STO – NPD approach implementation plan, table 7 on page 62.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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