Lugovoi, Ivan, Dimitrios A. Andritsos and Claire Senot (2022): Manufacturing Process Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 24 (3): 1261-1885.
Abstract: Problem definition: Process innovation is commonly claimed to be a major source of competitive advantage for firms. Despite this perceived influence, it has received substantially less attention than product innovation, and much uncertainty remains about its true association with firm performance. We investigate the relationship between a pharmaceutical firm’s portfolio of manufacturing process innovations and its economic performance. Academic/practical relevance: We uniquely conduct a multidimensional evaluation of a firm’s portfolio of manufacturing process innovations at the product level. This allows a quantitative evaluation of both the relative benefit of the different dimensions of a portfolio as well as the potential complementarities between these in different technological landscapes. Methodology: Through a collaboration with expert patent attorneys, we develop a unique longitudinal data set that combines secondary data and evaluations of a firm’s portfolio of process patents along two key dimensions: novelty and scope. We conduct econometric analyses for a large-scale sample of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) whose product patents have expired and for which process innovation is thus the main source of competitive advantage. Results: We find a positive association between the presence of manufacturing process innovation and firm performance. However, although portfolio’s scope appears to always be beneficial to performance, the effect of novelty alone depends on the ruggedness of the technological landscape: negative in smoother landscapes and positive in more rugged landscapes. Results further suggest that novelty and scope of a portfolio of process innovations are complementary across technological landscapes. Managerial implications: Our results provide important practical insights that can inform the organization and execution of the research and development process across high-technology industries. In particular, although process innovations can be economically beneficial, investing in high-novelty process innovations without a corresponding high scope could jeopardize payoffs, especially in technological landscapes that are relatively smooth.
Lugovoi, Ivan, Dimitrios A. Andritsos and Claire Senot (2022): Novelty and scope of process innovation: The role of related and unrelated manufacturing experience, Production and Operations Management.
Abstract: The accumulation of experience that occurs with production is likely to impact an organization's ability to develop manufacturing process innovations. However, how different types of manufacturing experience relate to the characteristics of an organization's process innovation output is an open question. In this study, we investigate how a firm's accumulated related and unrelated manufacturing experiences are associated with this firm's ability to innovate its production methods. To characterize firms' process innovation output, we observe their portfolios of patented manufacturing inventions, which we qualitatively evaluate over time, through a unique collaboration with expert patent attorneys, along two critical dimensions: novelty and scope. We argue that related manufacturing experience leads to a better understanding of parts of the focal product's technological landscape that will allow the development of inventions of broader scope. However, it may also contribute to inertia in that it might restrict the firm's innovative activity to more familiar regions of the landscape, thereby limiting inventions' novelty. Conversely, manufacturing experience with products that are unrelated to the focal product is expected to stimulate and support a broader search that includes more distant regions of the focal product's technological landscape, which would lead to more novel manufacturing inventions. Yet, the application of this unrelated experience to the production of the focal product is likely to require additional exploratory effort in a not-well-understood region of the focal product's landscape, likely resulting in inventions of limited scope. In line with our hypotheses, we find that related (unrelated) manufacturing experience is positively (negatively) associated with inventions' scope, and negatively (positively) associated with inventions' novelty. In addition to supporting the relevance of a multidimensional evaluation of innovations, our findings provide practical guidance regarding the strategic implications of a firm's knowledge management.