Dynamic Modeling in New Product Development: The Case of Knowledge Management Enablers in a Food Product

Dynamic Modeling in New Product Development: The Case of Knowledge Management Enablers in a Food Product

Diana B. Queb González (Exa-Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico) and Marisela Rodríguez Salvador (Quality and Manufacturing Center Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/ijsda.2014010106
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Abstract

One of the main problems for medium-sized companies located in the city of Monterrey, Mexico, is how to establish an efficient way to develop new products which not only considers factors that involve technical aspects, but also those that concern cultural issues. Frequently, medium-sized companies in Latin America do not have a clear leadership policy for their staff, despite this factor being increasingly important inachieving better performance. The objective of this research is to create a simulation model that represents the process of new product development (NPD) in the food industry. For this purpose, a medium-sized company in Monterrey was analyzed. The main focus was to develop a systematic approach that could help reduce the time span of product development. As a result, a dynamic simulation model (DSM) based on sequential logic was built that can be used widely in the new product development process. The proposed model helped us monitor each stage of new product development at the company studied. In order to achieve this, the authors incorporated certain knowledge management elements, particularly leadership and trust within teams. The authors then observed and conceptualized their effects on response time inthe new product development process. This research intends to offer new ways to understand this process by considering other factors beyond technical ones.
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Introduction

Companies worldwide have different ways of developing new products, depending on factors such as the company’s goals, management style, manufacturing processes, and product characteristics. While formal product development process methodologies exist, their steps often vary (Huang, 2007). Furthermore, the guidelines established by the CEO and the company’s organizational structure also have an important influence (Straus, 2009). As a result, important variations could exist that aredependent on the specific product development process held by a company (Holtzman, 2011).

New product development (NPD) should follow four general steps, starting with the conception generation, followed by product planning, product engineering and, finally, manufacturing engineering. As Park (2010) indicated, product development could be defined as a transformation activity based on customer needs, organizational strategy, and the internal and external environment. Different elements contribute to the success of this effort. According to Yang and Chiu (2010), before a company starts the development of new products, they have to first establish specific guidelines to enhance knowledge management. Performance parameters represent another item that companies should have in order to identify ways to improve the success rate of the final product (Ahmadi, Jalilian, Salamzadeh, Saeidpour, & Daraei, 2012).

Given the importance of studying NPD and the factors that could affect it, this research presents a case study in this area, analyzing a medium-sized company in the food industry located in Monterrey, Mexico.

Studying NPD in the food industry represents an interesting opportunity due to the wide range of tasks involved. Flaws in any stage of the product development may lead to its complete failure, no matter how much effort and time is spent on it (Straus, 2009).

As Fuller (1994) mentions, NPD phases are not necessarily sequential; they often overlap and could also be concurrent. At one point, the process may even return to its initial conceptual stage, albeit with new information. Furthermore, according to Perry and Cochet (2009), the success of a new product requires excellence in the tasks of reducing product cycle development time, increasing innovation, and enhancing company knowledge.

In order to achieve success in these three areas, Perry and Cochet (2009) suggest that companies should take into account factors that drive innovation, such as people, knowledge, and the systems involved. The value of teamwork in NPD is undeniable. Moreover, the role of leadership is critical to team effectiveness during the development of new products (Edmonson & Nembhard, 2009). Additionally, the company’s policies on this subjects shape many of the processes of our study. As Cavareli, Labedz, and Stalker (2012) mention, functional areas of the company create policies that interweave and breach across and throughout the company. This collection of policies within a company gives that company its unique identity. For these reasons, NPD should have a systematic and dynamic approach if it is to provide successful new concepts in the market (Huang, 2007; Sterman, 2000).

In this context, the principal objective of this research is to develop a dynamic simulation model (DSM) using a systems approach to assess the influence of leadership and trust in the development time of new products at the laboratory level. Throughout the years, important studies have been developed to determine the relevance of system dynamics simulation for research purposes. It has been shown that through this tool it is possible to get an understanding of complex situations by following the elaboration, validation, exploitation, and interpretation of a simulation model based on mental models (Azar, 2012). For this purpose, systemic thinking (Bartlett, 2001) was applied to examine the different stages involved. Based on this, we analyzed a set of NPD activities in a medium-sized company with the aim of supporting its food innovation process.

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