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									      The Design Chain Patterns- Focused on Stationery Industry

                                   Luh, Ding-Bang
          Department of Industrial Design, National Chen Kung University,
                   No.1, Ta-Hsueh Road, Tainan 701, Taiwan,

                                   Lin, Yang-Chih
          Department of Industrial Design, National Chen Kung University,
                   No.1, Ta-Hsueh Road, Tainan 701, Taiwan,

      Studies with regards to design chain can be discussed in three sections, namely
enterprises, departments and designers; most relative studies were focused on how
enterprises integrated the R&D process to reduce the time to market. We all know that
a successful industry must have health industrial organization and designers’ abilities.
Therefore, the design chain issues that exist between departments and the designers
are more urgent and more important than the ones between the industry and the
enterprise with great viewpoints. This research adopts an industrial design point to
explore the stationery industry’s various business types, the innovation levels among
departments’ static design chain patterns as well as numerous transformation dynamic
factors and work content.
      Through case studies and qualitative analysis, three results were concluded: (1) 9
definitions on different types of innovation, based on low, medium and high level of
OEM, ODM and OBM. (2) 8 design chain patterns among departments and a variety
of transformation dynamic design chain factors, which will not only help enterprises
in areas of orientation and constitution estimation but referred with dynamic factors,
will also help enterprises to draw up suitable development strategies. (3) A
transformation path concept chart offered 4 feasibility transformation paths for
enterprises refer to draft better transformation strategies. All of the above have
academic novel and industrial applications.

Keywords: design chain pattern, transformation dynamic factor, company
transformation, transformation path concept chart

                                 1. INTRODUCTION
     Survey on the various literatures relevant to design chain, and the situation of
industries and enterprises development, the design chain should look into the three
levels: among enterprises (industry design), departments (enterprise design) and
designers (special case design). Among the enterprises, is used mainly to study the
interaction among enterprises during product R&D process(Twigg, 1995, 1997, 1998;
McGrath, 2002; Passeys et. al., 2003; Chuang & O’Grady, 2001; Clark & Starkey,
1998; Yang& Liu, 2005); Among the departments, is mainly to study the interaction
among the departments relevant to the R&D processes internal company, is depending
on the characteristics of different companies, the product R&D process can be
collaborative, step by step or composite. Luo & Chen(2003) studied the internal R&D
process of LCD and proposed an innovative value reference model of design chain;
Among the designers, is mainly to study how designers who are in the same time zone
or in different time zones carry out their tasks. The above literatures mostly focus on
relevant issues from design chain among enterprises with great viewpoints. Most of
the studies have mostly studied by management field, but very few have aimed at the
issues of the design chain between departments (medium viewpoint) and designers
(micro viewpoint). However, the industrial competition ability depends on whether
the industry’s constitution is healthiness or not. The healthy industry relies heavily on
industrial organization and designers’ abilities. Therefore, the design chain issues that
exist between departments and the designers with medium and micro views are more
urgent and more important than the ones between the industry and the enterprise with
great viewpoints. Moreover, former studies have helped more in terms of drawing up
relevant development strategies towards industrial/enterprise involved. Because of
this, this research will approach the stationery industry defined by TASI (2006) with a
medium industrial design view to examine the static design chain pattern among
departments during the product development stage from different business types. The
outcomes will be cross examined to obtain design chain dynamic factors from those
transformation business types.

                        2. PRINCIPLES AND FRAMEWORK
     Firstly, this research will study the literatures of the types and characteristics of
enterprises, the definition and classification of innovation product to define the level
of product innovation in different enterprise types. Through studying the literatures
relevant to new product development processes, the design chain research model can
be constructed and used for qualitative research later.

2.1 Defining product innovation level in different enterprise types
     We integrated the literatures relevant to the types and the characteristics of
various enterprises (Chen & Lee, 1997; Hong & Wu, 1999; Onkvisit and Shaw, 1989),
the definition (Booz et. at., 1982; Yang & Liu, 1988; Si-Tu, 1997; Christensen, 2000;
Cooper, 2000) and classification of innovation products (Johnson & Jones, 1957;
Gobeli & Brown, 1987; Sand & Warwick, 1997; Booz et. at., 1982; Kotler, l998).
Product innovation will be graded into three levels: high, medium and low. High level
innovation adopts a radical or disruptive innovation to exploit new technologies, new
products, new customers and new markets; Medium innovation adopts a gradual
innovation approach to provide technologies for partial improvement, and sustaining
or modification of old products; Low innovation adopts the old technologies to assist
production. These innovation levels will be used as the standard for future studies of
various product innovation levels from different business types.

2.2 Research framework
     Survey the literatures of Booz et. al.(1982); Page(1993), Kotler(1994),
Kuczmarski(1992); Cooper(1998) ; Song & Montoya-Weiss(1998); Handfield et
al.(1999); Cooper & Bruce(2000); Luo & Chen(2003), this research divides the basic
design chain research framework into three aspects: planning & design, production
process and marketing (table 2.1). Table 2.1 shows those aspects could be the start end
of the design chain pattern, in which are closed connection but not successive. All of
them could be the key concept which helps this research to study design chain pattern
among departments from different business types. Codes will be adopted to explain
the content of those aspects to make description easier for follow-up in research.
                                                  table 2.1: research framework
faces                      components codes                                   contents
                              Market        Planning product property, market positioning, function or operating
                            Research        requirement, cost evaluation, supply and proposing design ideas.
                           Conception    CN Proposing oral ideas, sketch and 2D computer graphic design.
  Planning & Design

                                         AD Sifting the suitable one from proposed ideas for 3D modeling.
                                         ME Putting final idea into 3D design of mechanism and structure.
                                            Using RP, CNC or other manufactures to produce a prototype model whose
                           Prototyping   PT
                                            appearance and functions can be examined.
                                         GD Pattern, poster and packing design.
                                         PA Relevant patent application, such as new model, style, and invention.
                             Molding     MD Graphic design of mold, molding, and mold polishing.

                           Production       Mold, production and assembling test, and material and supplies

                             Logistics      management.
                                         MP Mass production.
                             Product        Orientating the products into: potential products, extended products,
                           Positioning      expected products and normal products.
                          Pricing Policy PR Price evaluation, rewards evaluation, current standard evaluation.

                                            Stage 0 (manufacturer-consumer)
                            Marketing       Stage 1 (manufacturer-retailer-consumer)
                             Channel        Stage 2 (manufacturer-wholesaler-retailer-consumer)
                                            Stage 3 (manufacturer-wholesaler-hyper mart seller-retailer-consumer)
                            Promotion    PN Advertisement, promotion and public relationship.

                            3. METHODS AND ANALYSES
      This research obtained the data through the case study in structural depth
interview method. Then, the data can be conceptualized, categorized and analysis
through text analysis method Klaus, 1996 . And this will help the research to
reconstruct the logic and factors of the individual design chain pattern.
      First, individual case studies and interviewees need to be decided and the
interviewees of this research are purely from the stationery industry. However, owing
to limited time and manpower, we could only interview cases which have the
following qualities: Taiwanese name brand, international, capacity of product design
and manufacturing, focus on industrial design field, co-existence of designing and
developing departments, market share and diversified products. Only 5 out of 172
stationery enterprises (TASI, 2006) possess qualities mentioned above (table 3.1).

                                                      table 3.1: interviewers
  number                          industry           brand       products      established/years    interviewer/office
                                 SAN YANN                                                               Lin, S. D./
                      A                                        office/school       1964/43
                             INDUSTRY Co., Ltd.                                                    Design planning chief
                              FLOMO PLASTIC
                                                                                                        Lin, Z. R./
                      B       INDUSTRIAL CO.,                  office/school       1971/35
                                                                                                   deputy manager, R&D
                                 CHEERFUL                                                                Hou, Y. T./
                      C                                        office/school       1983/23
                             INDUSTRY Co., Ltd.                                                       general manager
                                                                                                        Chen, Z. H./
                      D      SDI CORPORATION                   office/school       1967/39
                                                                                                    deputy director, R&D
                             SHUTER INDUSTRY                      office/                               Zhang, Z. G./
                      E                                                            1979/27
                                 Co., Ltd.                        cabinet                          planning director, R&D
      Secondly, questions that will be used in an interview involving enterprise
development type and the product development procedures of various business types
were drawn up and investigated.
      Product development procedures based on chart 1 will be presented in a grid
chart and used as the standard framework of constructing design chain patterns in the
future. During the interview, the 5W1H method is used in the principle of questioning
to probe the development and historical transformation of business type, the various
types of product development process and obligation, business operational manner of
stationery industry, as well as design enterprises and its related details, to achieve the
design chain pattern for the various enterprises, also influencing its types of hidden
      Finally, the information collected from this stage discussed above will be
conceptualized and categorized through text analysis method. Hence, relevant
categories and factors can be drawn up to define different product innovation levels
and work content under different business types along with constructing static design
chain patterns within departments from various enterprises.

3.1 The innovation types of business types
     This research depicts product development levels according to different business
types, and from there the research defines the work contents of individual cases from
different product innovation levels under different business types (table 3.2).

        table 3.2: different product innovation levels of different business types
Business type
                                 Low                          Medium                           High
                          This business type is This business type is limited This business type is mainly
                     like an operator. It continues to sustaining partial low cost. offer integrated service for
                     manufacturing      with    old Its role is like the headman of manufacturing, or join the
      OEM            equipments, part assembling the production line, mainly conception develop with
                     or Semi-finished goods.        fixing production graphic buyer           and    plan    full
                                                    design or altering old manufacturer to produce. It is
                                                    molding for manufacturing. playing role of an engineer.
                     This business type is like an This business type is like a This business type has its
                     assistant     designer      or designer, has good capacity own design predominant,
                     manufacturing      supervisor. to integrate design and playing role of an art
                     The mainly design works is manufacturing. Its selling director. Based on grasping
                     from the buyer’s idea and point is providing various the target customers and
      ODM            then carries out molding and innovating products which market needs, it provides
                     assembling.                    buyers can choose from. Yet, product with patent quality
                                                    issues such as profit and cost for buyer chooses.
                                                    sharing can be negotiated
                                                    with buyers for factories can
                                                    have regional marketing.
                     This business type is a trend This business type is a trend This business type is a trend
                     follower. It follows the chaser, focuses on products’ pioneer/creator, emphasizes
                     trends in the market, additional                 value    and on patent strategy. It
                     manufacturing         products practicality. Depending on innovates in a disruptive and
                     matching the trend.            the market trend, sustaining radical innovation to provide
      OBM                                           innovation is adopted to new products with patent
                                                    change the appearance of the quality            (mechanism,
                                                    products or update the appearance and structure) to
                                                    functions. So the innovation the market.
                                                    level is almost equal to the
                                                    market trend.
3.2 Static design chain pattern
     9 different design chain patterns were drawn up from the different innovation
levels of business types are shown below (table 3.3):

                         table 3.3: static design chain pattern
                          Low                      Medium                    High
Business type




3.2.1 OEM innovation types
      OEM low level innovations, most of the designs are derived from elsewhere, and
its role is only to provide manufacturing equipment and assembling as well as the
sources of material. Its design chain is PL MP.
      The chain model of OEM medium innovation is similar to the one in OEM high
level innovation. There is some variation in work content between the departments.
The content of design chain is GD / MD PL MP. OEM medium innovation also
mainly provides services such as supplying manufacturing equipments, partial
molding polish, advertising design and amending, assembling line. Supplying
manufacturing equipments involves mold alteration in which it might be possible to
bring down the cost of molding. The difference between OEM medium and high
innovation level is that traders get the orders and then pass on the order to the factory
for manufacturing. There is no collaborative work between departments of innovation
under this kind of business type.

3.2.2 ODM innovation types
     Under ODM innovation type, Collaborative work happens between certain
departments during medium and high level innovation development. At the same time,
as the product innovation level gets higher, so do the needs of market and customer
become more important. ODM low innovation is mainly aimed to modify the shape
and material of a client’s original concept for possible manufacturing, which design
chain is CN→AD→ME→PT→MD→PL→MP.
     The difference between ODM medium and low innovation is provide the concept
with patent application. Besides that, ODM medium innovation also has two chains,
PA and GD, which can’t be found in ODM low innovation. ME+GD+PA collaborative
work mechanism is happened at chain A under ODM medium innovation type, and
then connect to chain PL integrates the requirements of the material and equipment of
     ODM high innovation paves the way to OBM and focuses on the needs of the
market and the customers. It starts with chain MR, and then continues with ODM
medium innovation procedure and collaborative mechanisms. Yet, few enterprises of
ODM high innovation use their own market channels for sale, depends on the contract
with the buyer.

3.2.3 OBM innovation types
     OBM low innovation is a trend follower; its product design is always
outsourcing, or partially modifying the graphic printing pattern only. Therefore, the
design chain starts with GD and MD, and then connects to chain PL which happens
collaborative mechanism to integrate chain PP, PN and PR; finally, from chain MP the
product enters the market. The design chain is GD/MD PD PP+PN+PR/MP MC.
     OBM medium innovation also follows the trends as well and synchronizes its
products with the market. Because of that, it starts with CN and then continues with
follow-up design, production logistics, product positioning and lastly introduces the
products to the market. Collaborative work arises at chain AD and PL. The reason that
this business type doesn’t start from market research is because of market risk
consideration. As a result of that, it’s the designers who know the market well or
designers provided by ODM which come up with product concepts that synchronize
with the market.
     OBM high innovation is the creator of the trends. It has the most complete design
chain, which can be used as a standard model to study a stationery design chain. OBM
high innovation includes planning design, production logistics and sales departments.
Collaborative work emerges at chain AD and PL.

                      4. CONCLUSION & IMPLICATION
     Looking into the enterprise development nowadays, transformation enterprises
can be categorized into two mechanisms: Market Entry System and Market Exit
System. The study of Market Entry System mechanism is critical for considerations
regarding assisting enterprises to keep the business running. Transformation paths can
be generally formed into two categories, gradual horizontal and vertical/diagonal.
Therefore, the research will focus on developing trends to understand the paths,
threshold and dynamic factors of transformation enterprises of these two categories

4.1 Internal business type transformation
     In theory, nine transformation paths internal the business types can be found
(figure 4.1) and the dynamic factors can be obtained from the overlapping areas on the
chart. Take path D1 for example, when two design chain types are overlapped together,
solid gray PA and GD are the dynamic factors (figure 4.2), shows as DF (D1) = (PA,
GD). Other dynamic factors of transformation paths are sorted at table 4.1.

figure 4.1: Internal transformation path figure 4.2: Dynamic factors of ODM low
                                                   level transformation to ODM
                                                           medium level

        table 4.1: dynamic factors in the transformation path internal business types
                                  Low                Medium                 High
Business type
        OEM                 DF(E1)=(GD,MD)        DF(E2)=(GD,MD)      DF(E2)=(GD,MD)
        ODM                 DF(D1)=(PA,GD)          DF(D2)=(M)       DF(D3)=(M,GD,PA)
        OBM              DF(B1)=(M,C,A,PA,ME,P)     DF(B2)=(M)     DF(B3)=(M,C,A,PA,ME,P)

      Then, we analyzed table 4.1 and looked back upon the information of interviews,
the work content of various transformation paths can be concluded (table 4.2). From
table 4.1 and 4.2, we can see that although certain transformation paths share the same
dynamic factors internal the business types, work content varies according to the core
ability and the innovation level.
    table 4.2: the transformation paths and dynamic factors internal business type
Business   Transformation Dynamic
 type          paths       factors
                                     1. Raise production quality and graphic design ability
                E1                   2. Improve partial mold modifying ability
                                     3. Establish the mold outsourcing and collaborative mechanism
                                     1. Establish the pick up order outsourcing mechanism, to learn
                                        the business running model from traders.
                E2                   2. Improve mold knowledge and ability
                                     3. Improve the engineering graphic analysis ability and
                                        establish professional division mechanism
                                     1. Raise production quality and graphic design ability
                                     2. Improve partial mold modifying ability
                                     3. Establish the mold outsourcing and collaborative mechanism
                            GD       4. Establish the pick up order outsourcing mechanism, to learn
                            MD          the business running model from traders.
                                     5. Improve mold knowledge and ability
                                     6. Improve the engineering graphic analysis ability and
                                        establish professional division mechanism
                                     1. Integrate the product development process
                                     2. Raise the ability to patent products
                                     3. Raise manufacturing ability to qualify under international
                D1                   environment protection regulations
                                     4. Establish systematic graphic design idea tank
                                     5. Purchase authorized logos
                                     6. Learn collaborative working
                                     1. Strengthen patent strategy
                                     2. Strengthen the grasp of the market and the clients
                D2          MR       3. Establish appraise system
                                     4. Strengthen module production ability
                                     5. Establish well communication channel with clients
                                     1. Integrate the product development process
                                     2. Raise the ability to patent products
                                     3. Raise manufacturing ability to qualify under international
                                     environment protection regulations
                                     4. Establish systematic graphic design idea tank
                                     5. Purchase authorized logos
                D3          GD
                                     6. Learn collaborative working
                                     7. Strengthen patent strategy
                                     8. Strengthen the grasp of the market and the clients
                                     9. Establish appraise system
                                     10. Strengthen module production ability
                                     11. Establish well communication channel with clients
                            MR       1. Plan market segmentation for other brand
                            CN       2. participate in exhibitions regular
                            AD       3. Strengthen quality control
                            PA       4. Strengthen relevant manufacturing knowledge and ability
                            ME       5. Strengthen relevant strategies for patent strategy
                            PT       6. Strengthen design ability
                                     1. Strengthen the market grasp
                                     2. Strengthen market segmentation for other products
                B2          MR
 OBM                                 3. Strengthen design and manufacture planning
                                     4. Plan strategies to strengthen the famous of products
                                     1. Plan market segmentation for other brand
                                     2. participate in exhibitions regular
                                     3. Strengthen quality control
                B3                   4. Strengthen relevant manufacturing knowledge and ability
                                     5. Strengthen relevant strategies for patent strategy
                                     6. Strengthen design ability
                                     7. Strengthen the market grasp
                                  8. Strengthen market segmentation for other products
                                  9. Strengthen design and manufacture planning
                                  10. Plan strategies to strengthen the famous of products

4.2 Best transformation paths and threshold between business types
      This kind of transformation demands more funds and expansion of man power,
technology and organization than internal transformation business type, and more
risks are faced as well. In theory, there should be 27 transformation paths between
business types. Given the complexity involved, the research only focused on transiting
between various types. Hopefully, the research can find a better transformation path
and knowledge for enterprises refer to use.
      In the previously study (Luh & Lin, 2005), enterprises are divided into OEM,
early ODM, later ODM and OBM, which all have to experience and trail four steps in
different levels on product quality, consumers’ satisfaction, consumers’ loyalty and
brand image. Product quality is mainly used to strengthen manufacturing. Consumers’
satisfaction is mainly used to accumulate the experience market grasp ability and
collaborative work between designing and manufacturing. Consumer’s loyalty is to
build products’ spirit and provide services. Brand image is mainly used to builds the
image of the enterprise through marketing and advertisement. Analyzing table 3.2
with what was mentioned, transformation threshold between various business types
can be concluded. OEM focuses on manufacturing and innovation, therefore,
transformation threshold for OEM to ODM lies in product design abilities, which
includes manufacturing, consumer and market control. The threshold for ODM to
transform to OBM is marketing ability, which includes building enterprise’s image
and paving the way for marketing.

     And then, we proposed a better transformation paths chart (figure 4.3) for the
industries or enterprises refer to planning the suitable long-term develop strategy.


        figure 4.3: transformation path concept chart between business types

      For OEM transform to ODM, owing to the huge difference in between, it usually
starts from OEM low level development and gradually changes over to ODM high
level until production and manufacturing planning abilities are established. Because of
Route AB1 can not make enough profit for supporting itself to run the company, most
companies always choose to transform to Route AB2 directly.
      For ODM transform to OBM, it’s mainly to accumulate enough design ability,
cost evaluation ability and regional marketing channel arrangement. Cross comparing
with design chain types as discussed beforehand, three better transformation paths can
be acquired. To transform from ODM medium level to OBM medium level (BC1), the
differences between them are PP, PN, PR and MC. According to the information of
interviews shows some cases have signed contracts with buyers to share in the profits
during the transformation. It means that factories pay for molding, manufacturing,
product modification in exchange for pricing products and OBM business at some
particular area. The only difference between them is in the size of the market, whether
international or regional. Transforming ODM high level innovation to transform to
OBM high level innovation (BC2) is more practicable as ODM high level innovation
enterprises have well market grasp and regional marketing channel. The only thing
lacking in ODM high innovation enterprises is a sound international marketing
channel. So, the ODM high innovation enterprises must make their product variation
(PP), price strategy (PR), international marketing channel (MC), and global promotion
(PN) stronger, it will finally transform to OBM high innovation.
      According to the inference above, the transformation path concept chart provides
4 transformation paths (A1 AB1 B1 BC1 C2, A1 AB1 B1 B2 BC3, A1
   AB2 BC1 C2, and A1 AB2 B2 BC3), which are more suitable for
enterprises to refer although there are totally 36 in the theory. It greatly decreases the
complexity for transformation and shows clearly the objective for enterprises to plan
their future development strategy.

                         5. RESULT & FUTURE RESEARCH
     Through the above research, this research acquired 9 definitions of different
innovation levels, 8 design chain patterns of among departments under various
business types, and its transformation dynamic factors and work content internal
business types, as well as the transformation threshold and more practicable paths. For
the academic, the issues we research are original which can be used as references, also
conduces scholars to research more relevant research and propose more concrete
develop strategy for the industries refer to use in the future. For the industry, the
results of this research can help industry to estimate the constitution and orientation.
     For this research comes more completeness, listed below are more studies to be
carried out in the future:
1. To provide more accurate design chain pattern, the present findings will be tested
and altered for other industries to make the findings more applicable.
2. To provide a more complete model for the entire industry and hence improve
Taiwan’s economic development, this research will be aimed at analyzing the design
chain pattern between enterprises and designers.
3. Integrating the studies above and constructing an enterprise transformation path
evaluation model to help enterprises with orientating and constitution assessment.

     This study received partly financial support from the National Science Council of
the Republic of China Government, under Grant No. NSC 94-2213-E-006-054

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