Continuous vs Step Change Production Process Improvement as Enablers for Product Redesign and New Market Opportunities

Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 514)


Firms competing in global markets have to rapidly improve and innovate their products, processes, value chains and business models. Innovations can originate from a multitude of sources, where market needs and technology push are about the most common. However, company internal efforts towards incremental improvements of production processes can sum up to achieve breakthrough product innovations. This study focuses on the dynamic between process and product development, and bring about new knowledge on how systematic improvements of technological and organizational aspects related to manufacturing affects product innovation. We hypothesize that in global and mature markets and dispersed value chains the effect of mutual understanding and close collaboration between process- and product development can lead to breakthrough innovations at least as fast as by focusing on step change and disruptive process innovations. To explore this hypothesis we have conducted a case study, exploring two companies according to what we categorize as; the continuous improvement approach and the disruptive approach. Findings demonstrate that neither of the approaches necessarily respond to the ever-increasing requirement to reduce time-to-market, but a set of barriers and enablers that together with contextual issues, supports step changes on products and processes.


Exploration Exploitation Product redesign 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.SINTEF Raufoss ManufacturingTrondheimNorway

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