Purpose – This study aims to understand how small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) can build a dynamic capability for new‐to‐market product development. Design/methodology/approach – Five innovative and ambitious case firms were selected and studied longitudinally over the course of five years. Findings – Within this group distinct development processes are identified that enable them to satisfy the unmet needs of new customers using their current technologies. However to sustain this activity managers need to empower cross‐functional teams to evaluate new technologies with an ever‐increasing number of pioneering partners. An ideal sequence is proposed for them to achieve this by systematising learning between projects and thereby reconfiguring their development processes to meet the changing needs of the market. Research limitations/implications – This method appears most suited to SMEs able to develop new‐to‐market products in conjunction with technologically discerning customers and suppliers. As such it may be less applicable outside the observed business‐to‐business markets. Originality/value – The five cases studied aptly illustrate the interplay of certain paths, positions and processes in terms of how they relate to new‐to‐market product development performance. The implication for researchers and managers is that consideration of all of these factors is necessary.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2005
Keywords: New products; Innovation; Small to medium‐sized enterprises
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