U.S. Manufacturers Lag in Time-to-Market

Study shows Japan and Norway launch new products faster than any other nation.

The United States has some catching up to do when it comes to getting new products to market faster, according to a study released Oct. 28 by the USC Marshall School of Business' Center for Global Innovation.

Japan and Norway introduce products to the marketplace quicker than the United States and some major European nations, conclude professors Gerard Tellis and Deepa Chandrasekaran, the report's co-authors. In addition, some newly developed nations, such as South Korea, rank ahead of developed Mediterranean nations such as Italy.

The study, based on 430 product categories over 50 years in 31 nations, indicates the leading nations for product-introduction times are more creative, Tellis says.

"Time-to-takeoff of new products is a new metric to assess a nation's innovativeness and to design new product launch strategies," notes Tellis, Neely Chair of American Enterprise and director of CGI at USC Marshall.

The study also concludes that time-to-takeoff of new products varies greatly between products considered "fun," such as cell phones, with a distinctly shorter takeoff than those products equated with work, including clothes dryers.

The report could help companies develop strategies for launching new products.

"Managers are facing an intensely competitive market, characterized by increasing globalization, more frequent new product launches, and shorter life cycles," Tellis says. "In such markets, they need to know which nations are most innovative, where to launch new products, and whether to do so with a sprinkler (simultaneous across nations) or waterfall (stagger across nations) strategy."

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