Rolling out new products across international markets : causes of delays
The problem of delays in product rollout becomes more unwieldy for new products that are being launched across many countries. This concern rises when firms operate in rapid technological change and high internationalisation business environments. This study aims to form an empirically based body of knowledge about rollout of new products across international markets, build strong theory and provide insights for better practice. The study focuses on both static and dynamic aspects of the management of new product rollout across international markets. The investigation considers an extensive set of variables describing the company's external and internal environment, as well as the company's action across borders. It attempts more precisely to identify: - whether timeliness in new product rollout relates to new product success; - whether companies roll out new products across their international markets simultaneously or sequentially; and - the factors that lead to delay in rollout schedules and their interaction. A six-phase research methodology was designed and implemented. These phases were: (1) a review of literature across several streams of research; (2) a pilot telephone interview study; (3) exploratory interviews in 6 companies and a preliminary cross-case analysis; (4) the refinement of methodological and theoretical framework issues; (5) an additional series of research interviews in 24 more companies; and (6) a second cross-case analysis. These were followed by the formulation of a model and the estimation of the magnitude of direct, indirect and total effects of each factor upon rollout timeliness. The main findings were: - Timely rolled-out projects were far more successful than delayed rolled-out projects. - Sequential new product rollouts were more frequent than simultaneous ones. Delays were consistently featured in the cases of sequential new product rollouts. - The main factors that lead to delay in rollout schedules were: insufficiency of marketing and technological resources, poor internal communications between the HQ and the country markets, lack of synergies in product handling by the sales force in both the HQ and the country markets, lack of synergies in customer familiarity with the product, lack of proficiency in the new product development process and a deficient product.