Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction


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A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction

Supplier selection approach. Consider cost and quality. Consider overall supply chain costs, flexibility. Product strategy. Minimize cost, maximize profit.

Consider product life cycle costs. Table 2. An analysis of coercive versus collaborative supply chain relationships. Although characterising products as functional or innovative may be an oversimplification, it is a practical high-level classification. In our view, functional products tend to satisfy basic needs, which do not change much over time, e.

Consequently, such products have stable, predictable demand and long life cycles. It follows that their processes do not change much over time, and they focus on eco-efficiency through optimal resource usage and low waste in order to maximize economic performance. On the other hand, innovative products tend to satisfy fast-changing needs. As such, innovative products have unpredictable demand and short life cycles, e. What makes a product innovative is the drive towards green efficiency through the application of specialised processes with the aim of keeping up-to-date with emerging environmental legislation.

Hence, innovative products and green efficiency are highly related.

Innovation and Product Management

Deriving from Fisher , we summarize our views on the characteristics of functional and innovative products in Table 3. Predictable demand. Unpredictable demand. Product life cycle. Usually long, e. Usually short, 3 months to 1 year. Product variety. Low 5 to 20 variants. Very high thousands of variants. Low-tech processes, cost efficient. High-tech processes, green efficient. Table 3. An analysis of functional versus innovative product characteristics.

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Deriving from our findings in the above analysis, there are eight 2 x 2 x 2 possible theoretical strategy types. However, some of them are highly unlikely or even non-viable in real-world green supply chains. This analysis is summarised in Figure 2. Hence, it is worthwhile simplifying our taxonomic scheme into two dimensions: either relationship and product type, or relationship and process. Figure 2.


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Product-Process characteristics and green strategies. In the following section, we further deliberate on the taxonomic framework for selecting appropriate green supply chain strategies. Taxonomic selection of GSCM strategies. From our findings in this study, we develop a taxonomic framework based on the three GSCM dimensions derived from the literature search. Supply chain managers can select and develop GSCM strategies based on two basic dimensions that influence strategic green supply chain management; supply chain managers can conveniently use a matrix method to determine the best green strategy.

Figure 3 shows the resulting 2 x 2 matrix, which characterises the relationship-product characteristics that influence the choice of green strategies. The horizontal axis shows product characteristics defined in terms of the level of innovation. Innovativeness, which can be defined in terms of the number of innovative changes per period, is used to position products on the horizontal axis.

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On the other hand, the vertical axis reflects the relationship or the level of collaboration in the supply chain of that product. As outlined in the matrix analysis, there are four feasible generic green supply chain strategies. In cases where a product is functional and the relationship is collaborative, lean strategies, optimal resource usage and low waste can be adopted. In situations where players in the supply chain are collaborative and the level of innovation is high, closed-loop, product take-back, reverse logistics, and remanufacturing strategies are imperative.

Where processes are highly innovative with low level of collaboration coercive , innovation strategies such as green product design are appropriate. Finally, in a coercive supply chain environment with minimal inter-organisational engagement and functional product process , compliance-centred strategies are adopted where concerned industry merely focuses on satisfying stakeholder regulatory requirements. An exact analysis using relationship-process characteristics is shown in Figure 4. Figure 3.

Relationship-Product characteristics and green strategies. Figure 4. Relationship-Process characteristics and green strategies. Similar to the matrix analysis in Figure 3, Table 4 outlines the four suggested solution strategies emerging from the taxonomic framework. In the next section, we deliberate on the four generic green strategies as suggested by the matrix analysis.

Relationship-product characteristics. Resulting green strategies. Compliance strategies. Innovation strategies. Lean strategies.

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Closed-loop strategies. Table 4. Relationship-Product characteristics and resulting green strategies. Compliance-centred strategies. When inter-organisation engagement is minimal and the product and its processes are functional standard , firms adopt compliant-based strategies merely in response to environmental regulations, stakeholder requirements, and customer pressure.

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In other words, the nature of supply chain relationship is rather coercive than collaborative. Companies considering the introduction of green strategies in their supply chains commonly adopt these strategies.


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  • Compliance-based strategies include establishment of international standard systems such as ISO King et al. Similar to basic certification systems is the use of broad statements with purchasing principles or guidelines for suppliers. The advantages offered by compliance-centred strategies are as follows:.

    Environmental performance benefits;. Use of globally recognised systems, and;.

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    Third party management of performance. These aspects in turn, improve recognition and acceptance not only by suppliers, but also by the market and stakeholders. Any ambiguity in regards to the desired performance is reduced significantly. The disadvantage of these strategies is that, because if their reactive approach, they offer limited competitive edge due to their lack of innovativeness, a lack of uniqueness, and ease of application by competing supply chains. Since these systems are managed in a low collaboration climate, they only guarantee compliance with regulatory requirements.

    As a result, additional benefits from innovation or economic efficiency are very unlikely. Lean-based strategies. Lean strategies are a more recent group of green strategies whose focus is on eco-efficiency in which suppliers are required to satisfy certain operations-based efficiency targets.

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    In addition, secondary environmental performance benefits may be obtained from some operations practices that provide green performance advantages. The lean-based strategies link environmental performance with operational efficiency within the supply chain, allowing for the extension of performance requirements into the supply chain that maximises economic performance while enhancing environmental performance through waste reduction and optimized minimal resource usage.

    The advantages of lean-based strategies are: i they offer eco-efficiency to the entire supply chain and ii they readily lend themselves to existing organisation goals of optimisation and cost reduction. On the other hand, lean-based strategies do not give room for advanced environmental management initiatives such as green product design, innovation and material substitution. In so doing, the lean strategy is considered as technically weak. Innovation-centred strategies. Innovation-centred strategies focus on developing specialised technologies, product designs, processes and strict green performance standards in order to keep up-to-date with changes in environmental regulations.

    The point of departure for the innovation-centred strategies from the lean-based strategies is the focus on more environmentally specific performance strategy. In other words, the main investment focus of the supply chain is in complex performance standards for suppliers, and specialised processes and technologies. At product level, resources are necessary for building environmental innovative designs into product design and development, product characteristics and functionalities.

    At process level, resources are necessary for building environmentally sound production systems and processes essential for innovative green production and distribution. The advantage of innovation-based strategies is in their ability to offer competitive advantages in a fast-changing environment with ever-changing environmental legislation.

    However, keeping up-to-date with environmental legislation changes may offer huge challenges due to the need to shift to a collaborative inter-firm relationship.

    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction
    Innovation and Product Management: A Holistic and Practical Approach to Uncertainty Reduction

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