Research and Development – Strategic Key for Competitive Advantage
Product Innovation and Process Improvement: With the increasing pace of liberalization and ferocity of competition in the corporate business world, it is mandatory for the firms to invest in research and development activities to sustain in the market. In most of the developing countries, scant attention has been paid to research and development activities. A survey indicates that countries like Japan and United States of America spend 2.8 percent of their Gross National Product on R and D, while it is a mere 0.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in the case of some Asian countries.
It becomes difficult for business organisations to compete in national and international markets both on quality and cost fronts, primarily because of absence of strong base in science and technology. Third world nations are used to buying technology from developed nations, that make them dependent and technology starved. Limited resource is another problem faced by these business firms, the allocation of which becomes difficult owing to rising costs.
Invasion of Multinational and Trans national Giants:
Another serious aspect to be considered is the invasion of multinational and transnational giants in every sector due to liberalization, globalization and privatization policies of the developing nations. This leads to panic in the industry, as a result of which, the business firms either go for forged alliances or infuse large amounts of funds into R and D activities hurriedly, both of which is a futile exercise to protect themselves from the onslaught of transnational companies.
Science and Technological Advancement:
The wiser move for the business firms to withstand the competition on an international level, would be to build their empires on a sustainable basis, by honoring the scientific and technological efforts. A thorough knowledge of all the research activities progressing around the world proves useful in managing their activities and operating with limited resources. This demands a long term plan that will support, strengthen and nurture the specified area of science base selected for research and development.
A well devised research management programme will help the business firms to formulate short and long term technical plans that aid in the research programme. It is very important for a country to encourage the budding population to become more research oriented, that will help the nation prosper in terms of science and technology, besides which, it also helps in the growth of one’s own economy.
The Research and Development strategic management lays emphasis on formulating plans, that support the short and long term objectives of a business firm, by employing innovative minds in the process and periodically reviewing and restructuring strategies in the light of changing demands of the society. The focus of an R and D manager should be on appraisal of technological and competitive environment, assessment of corporate strengths and weaknesses and making strategic decisions, while formulating R and D strategy.