Clearly, the significance of broad and narrow R&D varies from industry to industry and company to company. For example, Dell deliberately keeps its component suppliers at arm’s length because efficiency, not innovation, is at the core of its business model. Toyota, on the other hand, is a known leader in working collaboratively with its suppliers to build an “advantaged supply chain.” This is because Toyota feels that this improves the quality of its products and helps it achieve a stronger competitive position in the marketplace. (See “Building the Advantaged Supply Network,” by Bill Jackson and Conrad Winkler, s+b, Fall 2004.)
Des Dearlove (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a business writer based in the U.K. Mr. Dearlove is the author of a number of management books and a regular contributor to strategy+business and The (London) Times.
Stuart Crainer (email@example.com) is a business writer based in the U.K. and a regular contributor to strategy+business. He and Des Dearlove founded Suntop Media, a publishing and training company providing business content for online and print publications.