Inderscience Publishers

Renewal strategies in the IPM Group: the role of the new research centre

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The IPM Group has become one of the leading companies in the telecommunication industry in Italy in the last 40 years. A study carried out by A.T. Kearney identified the IPM Group as one of the three best performing medium-sized companies in the South of Italy. In the early stages of the company's growth, the IPM engineers and technical management were able to dramatically innovate its products, the public telephone terminals. But, in the last five years, as a consequence of the end of monopolies in the national telecommunication markets, IPM faced a number of serious problems relative to the product and its commercialisation in the international markets. The growing attention to the users' needs by the national public telephone service providers and the need to meet the particular specifications of the product required by the international customer on the one side, and the constraints imposed by some local governments that require that foreign companies make use of companies of the country to manufacture components and parts and assemble the final product on the other side, induced the management of the IPM Group to modify the process of product development and the organisation of the manufacturing environment. This renewal process is still under way. The paper, after a description of the story of the IPM Group, analyses and discusses some of the issues posed by the new course of action. Information reported here relative to IPM Group SpA and its strategies is updated to the end of 1998, the time the authors completed the writing of the case.

Keywords: R&, D management, telecommunication industry, knowledge management

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