Competitive and collaborative supply chains: the strategic role of product innovation, secondary markets and channel structure



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Innovation in product and process development is regarded as a key avenue for growth, profitability, and competitive advantage in many industries. With lifetimes of products shortened by both the accelerating pace of technological change and global competition, firms are forced to invest continually and ever-increasing amounts to maintain their competitive edge. However, due to increasing complexity of offerings and intensifying competition, successful development and distribution of products also depends on the strength of a firm’s relationships with its partners. In this dissertation, we examine the strategic interactions between a firm’s technological capabilities, its product offerings and collaborative and competitive forces in supply chains. Specifically, this dissertation examines three stages of a product development problem and characterizes the role of product innovation, secondary markets and distribution channels in determining the structure of inter-firm relationships. In the first essay, we look at the different approaches that firms take while collaborating with suppliers in new product development. Following the development of a new product, a key decision for a firm is its product positioning strategy. The second essay of the dissertation analyzes the product positioning problem of a firm under both monopoly and competition. Secondary markets also play a significant role in determining the nature of inter-firm relationships. The final essay of the dissertation probes this issue further and examines the strategic role of intermediaries upon the distribution strategy adopted by a firm. In summary, this dissertation illustrates how product characteristics and inter-firm relationships play a crucial role in the success or failure of firms. Hence, it is important for firms to recognize these factors while making design, development and distribution decisions.