The importance of collaborative frontloading in automotive supply networks

Mario Binder, Peter Gust, Ben Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how research and development (R&D) collaboration takes place for complex new products in the automotive sector. The research aims to give guidelines to increase the effectiveness of such collaborations. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology used to investigate this issue was grounded theory. The empirical data were collected through a mixture of interviews and questionnaires. The resulting inducted conceptual models were subsequently validated in industrial workshops. Findings – The findings show that frontloading of the collaborative members was a major issue in managing successful R&D collaborations. Research limitations/implications – The limitation of this research is that it is only based in the German automotive industry. Practical implications – Practical implications have come out of this research. Models and guidelines are given to help make a success of collaborative projects and their potential impacts on time, cost and quality metrics. Originality/value – Frontloading is not often studied in a collaborative manner; it is normally studied within just one organisation. This study has novel value because it has involved a number of different members throughout the supplier network.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-331
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • automotive industry
  • new products
  • research and development
  • supplier relations


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