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|INVESTIGATING INNOVATION STRATEGIES OF NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: MULTIPLE CASE STUDY OF THAI FOOD AND BEVERAGE MANUFACTURING SMEs
new product development
food and beverage industry
small and medium enterprise
|The ultimate purpose of this study is to provide appropriate guidelines for enhancing product innovation among Thai small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are involved in food and beverage manufacturing in Thailand. This is achieved by first assessing the current state of product innovation in the new product development (NPD) activities of the SMEs as a precursor to developing the guidelines. The assessment is conducted with a qualitative research strategy guided by a synthesized theoretical framework that integrates several NPD activities and diverse existing product innovation strategies. Focus group, semi-structured interview, and document review methods were utilized for data collection. The context of the data collection is the Thai food and beverage (F&B) SME sector, the latter being represented by 20 case studies sampled from the Thai F&B SME population. The knowledge domains considered for the study are NPD process, product innovation strategies, and food and beverage manufacturing.
The findings reveal that the responsibility for NPD rested with top executives. The NPD process adopted by the SMEs consisted of several activities including idea generation, concept development, product design, prototyping, testing and packaging design. The SMEs identified a number of barriers to developing new products, including restrictive regulations from government agencies, a lack of technology, lack of employee skills, limited financial resources and a lack of current market data. To overcome these barriers, several actions were taken including establishing networks for technological and business collaboration, management of knowledge, improving R&D capability and developing employee skill levels.
One major limitation of the study is the selection bias as a result of only approaching firms in the greater Bangkok and surrounding areas. It is suggested that future studies extend the data collection scope to cover larger part of the population of F&B SMEs in Thailand. Finally, it is recommended that future studies continue the current study by adopting a method triangulation, and evaluate results from different perspectives.
The study provides contributions to both theory and practice. At a theoretical level it develops a novel integrated framework that links NPD activities to product innovation strategies. Currently no such analytical tool exists that provides explicit pairwise links between the two domains of NPD process activities and product innovation strategies. From a practical perspective the theoretical and empirical outputs of the study can be used by marketing executives facilitating their decision-making process when deciding on the adoption of an appropriate product innovation strategy for all NPD process activities.
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