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THE ROLE OF PRODUCT STANDARDIZATION IN INNOVATION- CASE STUDY OF JAGUAR

Dissertation

 

 YUJIE CAO

 B617398

ABSTRACT

The aim of the study is intended towards exploring the role of product standardisation in innovation with the particular emphasis on the Jaguar which has been taken as the case study for the research. The aim has been achieved by the researcher by looking into manufacturing and design processes of Jaguar and also by exploring the significance of product standardisation for the promotion of innovation in the company. For the present study, the researcher selected qualitative research design in which interviews were taken from 20 employees of the company. Furthermore, the secondary the secondary information was taken from different sources such as the internet, company website, journal, articles, books, or magazines. The data were analysed by the researcher with the formulation of themes that were made in accordance with the responses and aim of the study so as to explain the main context of the study. It was identified from the findings that majority of the interviewees regarded standardisation of the vehicles highly significant because it can foster innovation in the company and create a sustainable competitive advantage in the automobile industry.

Table of Contents

THE ROLE OF PRODUCT STANDARDIZATION IN INNOVATION - A CASE STUDY OF JAGUAR

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

Introduction to Research

This research is intended towards understanding the role of product standardisation for the innovation within the case of Jaguar. The following research has also provided empirical evidence and conceptual arguments inclined towards standardisation of products which can be used to promote innovation for the organisation. In the light of Blind and Mangelsdorf (2016), standardisation of the products has contributed a major share to the economic development of the country. However, the automobile industry focuses on the standardisation of the cars in terms of energy and environment, advanced information system and high level of safety measures. Within such focus of product standardisation, the automobile companies have addressed such needs by introducing collision safety, hybrid, and heavyweight emission cars for the customers. According to Kafetzopoulos, Gotzamani, Psomas (2013), the technical standards have been established in the companies on the basis of basic requirements and norms which are applied to the technical system. However, it is a crucial aspect for different industries and hence the success of the organisation can be dependent on the standardisation of the products.

 As the economy is progressing, the role and impact of the product standardisation for the automobile companies has been increasing which is also evident in the ICT industries. The process of standardising both product and the technology determines the way of carrying out business of the high-end companies which is highly complicated and time consuming. However, it is vitally significant in the magnitude of its impact for the industrial development and the society as a whole. Therefore, different standardisation activities are carried out by a wide range of automobile companies for promoting innovation. Hence, this study has focused on various factors of standardisation of products which leads to innovation for the automobile companies.

Contextual Background

In the light of Kampker et al. (2014), innovation has been always regarded as the major ingredient for the development or advancement of technology for a particular sector. High-end industries are focusing on more research and development for the growth and development of the economy of the country. However, the high-end sector also extensively diffusing new technologies for an adequate growth in the productivity for boosting the economy of the country. According to Mishra, Mishra and Rai (2010), the standardisation of the products can create an impact on both diffusions of technology and innovation. Moreover, it can influence the structure of the industry and thereby helps in determining which firms’ gets the benefit and which are not directly benefitted by the technological change in the industry.

In the light of Acemoglu, Gancia, and Zilibotti (2012), the importance of product standardisation for promoting innovation is carried out for increasing the efficiency of the products and addressing the needs of the customers. Standards do not only provide knowledge for setting the high benchmarks for the products, it is relevant for the production and manufacturing of the products which are in favour of the stakeholders of the company. In addition, as the technology started to develop or advanced within a particular industry, standards are required in order to ensure the safety, conformance, and performance of the new processes and products.

Hise and Young-Tae (2011) identified that there is a strong association between innovation and product standardisation because both are of complex and dynamic in nature. It is also apparent that the automotive industry around the globe is trapped by innovation and cost pressure because of which the industry is subjected towards revolutionary discontinuity for generating innovations. However, the changes trends of the consumers are driving OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to dive into a race of innovation and making the products more standardised for the convenience and demands of the customers (Ratnasingam,  Yoon and Ioraş, 2013). In addition to the above statement, the mature markets in different industrialised countries are facilitated with the marginal growth because they tend to be more saturated markets. As a result, the OEMs have to take into consideration the increasing desires of the customers and other drivers which focus on innovation.

In the light of Prester and Bozac (2012), the competition in the automobile industry also increased the pressure on cost and innovation due to the imperative for sustaining and building exciting brands with the innovation which can mainly appeal the customers towards an emotional level. However, the generation of innovation is highly expensive for the automotive companies. In this essence, there is an increasing effectiveness directed towards the controlling of the innovation cost which is a key approach for achieving strategic objectives of the company. The shift in the innovation and product standardisation trends result in the uprising the challenges for the automobile companies in terms of manufacturing processes and research and development activities (Bernardo, 2014, p. 132). Therefore, the current mindset of exploiting and generating innovation has been limited to a certain extent because the organisations are incurring the huge cost for innovating or standardising the products.

In the study of Blind and Mangelsdorf (2016), the association between the innovation and standardisation of the products has been affirmed at company and macroeconomic level. Product innovation with respect to standardisation of the products is regarded as the successful element which helps the organisation in enhancing and sustaining their competitive advantage on an international and national level. Hence, the product innovation helps the company in reaching towards the high level of the customer satisfaction by means of product standardisation. In the light of Paasi et al. (2014), innovation of the products has changed the dynamics of the company’s strategies because it has begun to involve the process of product standardisation which has made the companies profitable within the industry they are operating.

In the present business world, automobile companies are standardising their products for stimulating innovation and sustaining their competitive advantage. However, it is also progressing in different countries especially in the emerging economies where the automobile companies are focusing on open innovation by introducing collision safety and hybrid cars.

Research Problem

Product standardisation has been significantly increasing in the automobile sector due to continuous changes in the demands of the customers. According to European Commission (2016), product standardisation helps the companies in reaching their target customers and facilitates them by addressing their needs and wants. However, the main problem is that the product standardisation has not been associated with the innovation in the previous studies which created a certain gap in the literature review of the studies carried out by the authors and practitioners (Chesbrough and Brunswicker, 2014, p. 16). In addition, systematic data with respect to standardisation of the products have not been available in the previous studies.

Moreover, the product standardisation and its role for the innovation are also ambivalent at the company where the major studies have been carried out in the favour of macroeconomic factors. The studies have been reflecting on the patent databases for the product standardisation which provides information related to the current and legal status of the patent which is implied for the innovation and product standardisation. In the light of Acemoglu, Gancia and Zilibotti (2012, p. 573), companies are lacking at the clear strategic directives which can block the competitors via product standardisation. Therefore, the standard databases do not provide clear information on the implementation of product standardisation with respect to innovation.

Aim of the Research

The aim of the research is focused towards exploring the role of product standardisation in innovation with the particular emphasis on the Jaguar which has been taken as the case study for the research. The aim has been achieved by the researcher by looking into manufacturing and design processes of Jaguar and also by exploring the significance of product standardisation for the promotion of innovation in the company. The next heading has addressed the objectives of the study which has been formulated keeping in mind the main aim of the research.

Research Objectives

Following research objectives is made which has been addressed in this research by the researcher,

  • To understand the concept and significance of product standardisation
  • To study the factors affecting product standardisation which leads to innovation
  • To study the role of product standardization in innovation within the case of Jaguar
  • To recommend strategies for improving the product standardisation in order to foster innovation at Jaguar.

Research Questions

The attention given to this research has been of great interest to the philosophers and researchers and has taken into focus the problems associated with the product standardisation. Therefore, to address those problems, following research question has been designed for this research:

 

RQ: What is the role of product standardisation on innovation?

SQA: What is the concept of product standardisation?

SQB: How the product standardisation is related to fostering innovation in automobiles?

SQC: What is the role of standardisation of products on Jaguars innovation in the automobiles?

Rationale of Study

The topic opted for the research which is product standardisation and innovation has not been widely studied by the previous researchers. The review presented in the existing studies focused towards the innovation and the product standardisation has revealed certain major insights along with the shortcomings (Baud-Lavigne, Agard, and Penz, 2012). In general, there is limited empirical evidence presented in the previous literature directed towards the innovation, whereas a set of different studies is presented on the macroeconomic impact that reflects a significant and positive influence of innovation on the economy of the country.

Regarding product standardisation and innovation, there have been different studies carried out based on micro-level which also reflected a positive relationship between the involvements of an organisation towards the standardisation of the products (Braun and Clarke, 2013). It was also reflected that the companies adequately spend their expenditure on the research and development activities for generating innovation in the products and creating a sustainable competitive advantage.

This research has addressed certain role of product standardisation on innovation within the automobile companies, where the researcher has filled the previous existing gaps in the literature and other empirical studies proceeded in the interest of product standardisation and innovation. A significant importance has been given to different types of standardisation taken place in the companies which is crucial for the technological development and generation of innovation. This has been addressed by the qualitative assessment of the research study where the researcher has gathered interviews from the managers which have played a significant role in filling the existing gap in the previous studies.

Significance of Research

This research is of high significance for the business communities particularly for the automobile companies who can take advantage of the perspectives given by the interview respondents that have reflected on the product standardisation and its role on the innovation. This research can also benefit the government, as the recommendations provided in this study will help them in generating ideas for introducing government funding for innovation in the companies. Lastly, this research will also benefit the future researchers who wish to carry out research in the same field.

Structure of Research

This research study is comprised of five different chapters which are as,

Chapter 1: This chapter provides introduction of the study which mainly highlights, a general introduction, contextual background, aim, and objectives of the study, rationale, and significance of the research.

Chapter 2: The second chapter provides literature review of the study within the context of previous studies and concepts discussed by authors.

Chapter 3: This chapter discusses methodology of the research which provides an overview as to how the research has been carried out.

Chapter 4: This chapter discusses data analysis and findings of the study on the basis of data gathered.

Chapter 5: The final chapter provides conclusion and recommendations in accordance with the previous chapters.

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Appendices

Interview Questions

Q1. What is the significance of product standardisation at your organisation?

Q2. To what extent product standardisation is applied in your organisation?

Q3. In your opinion, what benefits you perceive underlies the standardisation of the products?

Q4. What are major challenges for product standardization when innovation is promoted in this process?

Q5. What are major challenges for product standardization when innovation is promoted in this process?

Q6. In your opinion, does the product standardisation helps in sustaining competitive advantage for your organisation?

Q7. In your opinion, does the product standardisation have an optimistic future in the automotive industry?

Q8. Please provide some suggestions on the role of product standardisation in innovation within the automotive industry?