Is faster always better in R&D? Study says it’s complicated

Getting to the market before a competitor can mean the difference between smashing success and crushing defeat. This has prompted many companies to look critically at their product development processes in hopes of finding new ways to slash time.

bendoly, elliot
Elliot Bendoly

So is faster better? New research this year from Fisher College of Business Associate Dean Elliot Bendoly shows it’s not that simple.

Bendoly’s research, co-authored by Rao Chao of the University of Virginia and published this year in Production and Operations Management, took the novel step of scrutinizing the product development process at eight distinct stages – spanning the “fuzzy front end” to market entry – to find out what happens when each one is sped up.

They found evidence that shortening two of the eight stages – beta/market testing and technical implementation – was linked to market value gains, though only to a certain point. How aggressively companies innovated and how much time they cut were key factors of influence. The research, which you can read about in full on the Management Sciences department website, might break new ground in how we view the product development process.

Fisher’s Management Sciences department, where COE’s associate directors reside, is a powerhouse in generating the latest research insights the managers’ most critical challenges. Check out these other research highlights, published in recent months:

Bad behavior damages trust in buyer-supplier relationships – Prof. James Hill

Understanding the three stages of business relationships – Dept. Chair Kenneth Boyer

Finding an easier way to roll out electronic medical records in healthcare – Prof. Aravind Chandrasekaran

Managing quality in outsourced production – Prof. John Gray

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