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Selecting R&D projects at BMW: a case study of adopting mathematical programming models

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4 Author(s)
C. H. Loch ; INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France ; M. T. Pich ; C. Terwiesch ; M. Urbschat

Research and development (R&D) project selection is a critical interface between the product development strategy of an organization and the process of managing projects day-to-day. This article describes the project selection problem faced by an R&D group of BMW (Munich, Germany). The problem was structured as minimizing the gap between target performance of the technology to be developed and actual performance of the current technology along chosen criteria. A mathematical programming model helped this organization to increase the transparency of their selection process, which previously had been based on experience coupled with evaluation of individual projects in isolation. Implementation was a success in that the predevelopment group continues to use the model to make better decisions. However, the organization did not use the model for its intended purpose: constrained optimization. The traditional explanation for this partial implementation is that the analytical model did not capture all considerations relevant to optimization (e.g., uncertainty or strategic fit), and that further model refinements are required to achieve further implementation. We offer an alternative explanation, one based on the technology transfer literature

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 1 )