A paper that provides strong theoretical and practical insights into the important phenomenon of supplier involvement in new product development has won the Best Empirical Paper Award from the Journal of Supply Chain Management. The award was announced at its annual awards session at the Academy of Management virtual meeting in August. Professor Finn Wynstra, Professor of Purchasing and Supply Management of Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University (RSM) worked with Dr Robert Suurmond and Prof. Jan Dul on Unraveling the Dimensions of Supplier Involvement and their Effects on NPD Performance: A Meta-Analysis.

Over the last decades, firms both in manufacturing and service industries – and public institutions – have relied more and more on suppliers for innovation in the products and services that firms offer to their clients. These practices have often been referred to as “Early Supplier Involvement”. Many studies have been carried to study the effectiveness of such approaches, for instance in terms of improving time to market or creating better products. However, the findings of these studies overall have been ambiguous and sometimes even contradictory – and firms in practice still struggle to realize the potential benefits of supplier involvement in innovation.

The awarded study forms the first ever meta-analysis of earlier empirical work on supplier involvement in new product development (NPD), spanning 11,420 observations from 51 studies. The analysis finds find that the early involvement of suppliers in firms’ NPD projects only to some degree affects project efficiency and not effectiveness. In contrast, extensive supplier involvement, giving suppliers more responsibilities and more degrees of freedom, does have positive effects - both on NPD efficiency and effectiveness.

Wynstra, Suurmond and Dul’s award-winning paper also came under the Journal’s spotlight, when first author Dr Suurmond talked about their research for the Journal’s blogpost.

Prof Finn Wynstra said: “I’m very proud and pleased to receive this accolade for joint work with Robert Suurmond and Jan Dul. Since my PhD studies, supplier involvement in new product development has been a cornerstone in my research work and Robert's carefully conceptualised and executed meta-analysis has pushed the envelope in this still academically and managerially highly relevant topic.”

In awarding the prize, the jury, consisting of Associated Editors of the journal, highlighted the rigorous approach of the meta-analysis and the insightful directions for future research.


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Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

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