Characterising the difficulties in the upgrade cycle in a commodity process industry: evidence from a single case study in the UK packaging industry

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Abstract

Attempting to move away from commodity based products and related activities into higher value added ones remains one of the key challenges for R&D Managers. This research paper focuses on developing an understanding of these challenges in the UK packaging industry. The research focuses on a case of a single firm, within this process industry, that largely produces commodity products. The paper particularly focuses on Lager’s (2000) product degradation-upgrade cycle model, and characterises the 'upgrade' aspect of this model. The paper presents the findings of a three-year research project with one of the largest packaging manufacturers in Europe. The findings provide insight into the problems faced by the company in their R&D activities attempting to 'upgrade' from producing largely commodity products to differentiated functional products. Finally, we provide insights into the management of R&D with regards to the company's position in the supply chain, and particularly highlight issues experienced with regards to acquiring knowledge and working with 'downstream' customers and other supply chain members.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
EventManaging R&D, Technology and Innovation in the Process Industries - Grenoble, France
Duration: 5 May 20116 May 2011

Conference

ConferenceManaging R&D, Technology and Innovation in the Process Industries
Country/TerritoryFrance
CityGrenoble
Period5/05/116/05/11

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