Effectiveness Of Product Innovation As A Tool Of Achieving Competitive Advantage In The Purchasing Environment (A Case Study Of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba)

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Effectiveness Of Product Innovation As A Tool Of Achieving Competitive Advantage In The Purchasing Environment (A Case Study Of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba)


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the effectiveness of product innovation as a tool of achieving competitive advantage in the purchasing environment using Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba as a case study. The study was specifically set to determine whether there is a significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization, determine whether product innovation promotes brand recognition and value thereby improving organizational competitiveness, determine whether product innovation increases brand market share thereby improving organizational competitiveness, and determine whether product innovation is an effective strategy required for achieving competitive advantage among business organizations. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of staff of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 57 respondents and 50 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. While the hypotheses were tested using Pearson correlation statistical tool, SPSS v23.The result of the findings reveals that there is a significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization. The study also revealed that Product innovation is an effective strategy required for achieving competitive advantage among business organizations. Therefore, it is recommended that since product innovation helps in reducing cost of consumer goods, Manufacturing Companies management should engage in it at regular interval so as to cut down the cost of value analysis strategy which is segment of product innovation. To mention but a few.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Production innovation is one of the important concepts in purchasing. Some evidence suggests that effective product innovation results to sustainable competitive advantage. Other observed new product development and it launching into the purchasing place as difficult costly took or a dangerous business. The question that needs to be answered re what is innovation why some firms embark on innovation? According to the universal English dictionary, innovation means something introduced, a change new tangled practice while develop is a state or process of developing growth evolution gradual process or expansion. Joseph Selumpete’s classic work on management of the innovation process type of innovative activity. They are invention, innovation and initiation. He defined invention is the act of execting or developing, a new product or process of idea while he saw innovation as the process of creating commercial product from invention. Finally, he defined initiation as adoption of the innovation by similar firms. How ever, initiation usually leads to product of process standardization.

Longman dictionary of English sees innovation a new idea, method or invention. But according to universal English dictionary innovation means something newly practice while development is a state or process of developing growth evolution gradual process or expensive. The technological revolution and greater competition is domestic and international market have increased the competitive importance of innovation. Recent research has show that firms invest more innovation. Infact positive or receptive investor attitude towards introduction of new products increase the price of the firms stock in the market place as well as at the stock exchange market. In view of the economy advantage of product innovation and need to stay a head of the curne, innovation in the face of their competitor in order to maintain sustainable success in future. Therefore, effectiveness of product innovations a subject, which is more recognized to be vital to the future of companies. This fact that may of the high avidity products is needed by customers are not readily available has led consumers into importing some of them. This problem can be solve if companies recognize the importance of innovation develop their innovative ability with government giving economic and instrument enabling environment when and when necessary.

Furthermore, all products have life cycles, which dictates that at some points their usefulness will decline, although there is substantial variation in life lets by types out class of product. A product cannot line forever, and purchasing attribution all work against its immorality. Stanton W.J. likened products to human. They are born, in the light of this therefore the need for the effectiveness of product innovation by business firm should not be over emphasised. Demand is increasingly dynamic and product its life cycles are getting shorter and the time scale of most products is being compressed by accelerated research and mass distribution. If business firms are to survive in the wake of all these social economic, political and cultural changes that are affecting their business adversely. They must have a capability for product innovation. A product that effectively most consumer needs reduces problems associated with decisions on distribution. Pricing advertising and personal selling in most idea, while a poorly developed product on the other hand, creates many problems for other decision areas in the company. Organizations are always competing among themselves for survival market, growth, market share, product lines and mix. All these are necessary strategies for survival which are the over all objectives of any corporate entity. All those it is hoped could be achieved through the effectiveness of product innovation.

Innovation both in the theory and practice, is not a new phenomenon. In Nigeria, during the olden dyas people used to drink from animal horns and aims of calabash but the local craftsmen in Yoruba land stated making better cups and other utensils through brass casting. This practice was known only a small group of professionals and its often protected as trade secret by religious section today the innovation ideas and practice have spread to other parts of the country and economy. Many write-ups of innovation is indeed old for example, Adam smith expanded the relationship between innovation in machine building industries and the scientist Marx classified to machine technical innovation “the competition” according to Marx” the Bourgeois’s cannot exist production”. Finally, innovation can be highly productive but often a risking road to success. In most industries today any company that is not aggressively alert to innovation possibilities is taking a competitive risk which at least to be intelligently aware.


1.2 Statement of Problems

Given the rapid changes in taste technology and competition, it becomes risking for a company to relax on its existing product. This is because consumer taste is from time. Every company therefore needs the effectiveness of product. This taste every company there fore needs the effectiveness of product innovation in order to survive in the over changing business environment. There are many difficulties involved in product innovation and purchasing new product line. One of such factors is the uncertainly in pricing and strategy when introducing a new product into market. Another problem in effectiveness of product innovation is highly purchasing cost. At the introductory stage of any product, consumer may not be aware of its existence and where is could be obtained. Expensive promotional tools would be needed to accomplish this objective. The competitive of the market also poses huge challenge to a new product at a certain stage in life been competitive if the product lacks critical attribute that can compare favourable with those of competing products and if management lacks desired competitive ability to push it certainly it would gradually discount. It also found out that many top management lack the know how and generally skill needed for a successful new product development. The fact failure, risk and uncertainly make them special as paid the effectiveness of product innovation.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to assesseffectiveness of product innovation as a tool of achieving competitive advantage in the purchasing environment using Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba as a case study. The study has the following specific objectives.

  1. Determine whether there is a significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization
  2. Determine whether product innovation promotes brand recognition and value thereby improving organizational competitiveness
  3. Determine whether product innovation increases brand market share thereby improving organizational competitiveness.
  4. Determine whether product innovation is an effective strategy required for achieving competitive advantage among business organizations.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions are raised in line with the objectives of the study.

  1. Is there any significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization?
  2. Does product innovation promotes brand recognition and value thereby improving organizational competitiveness?
  3. Does product innovation increases brand market share thereby improving organizational competitiveness?
  4. Does product innovation is an effective strategy required for achieving competitive advantage among business organizations?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  • Ho: There is no significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization.
  • Ha: There is a significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The output of this project will be of great value toUnilever Nigeria Plc Aba and to manufacturing companies that are involved with technological products. Firms will be able to apply market performance knowledge of innovative products in designing their innovation funnel and not inhibit their innovative capacity by using fixed rules and standard to all products. The analysis from market trend can help to decide on the type of innovation strategy to embark upon, how to effectively use product innovation as a distinct strategy. In addition, this project will also highlight ways through which this important aspect of product development can be improved upon. The output of this research would also be useful to the following categories of people: The organization taken as case study: The result and recommendations from this research work would help product managers to see product innovation as part of their task by bringing them out of the shell of just rolling out products without monitoring its life cycle. To the other organizations within the same industry of which the case study belongs: This will also assist in fashioning out the business model tomaximize sales, profit and consumer satisfaction that is re-directing their products to meet the change in tastes of the consumers. This would serve as a source of information to other researchers of product innovation in the academic field of marketing.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on the effectiveness of product innovation as a tool of achieving competitive advantage in the purchasing environment using Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba as a case study. Howerver the respondents for the study will be obtained from staff of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

his research project, like all human endeavors, had some challenges that threatened to derail the study’s completion. One of the reasons is that the time allotted for this work was so limited that the researcher did not have enough time to complete the task thoroughly. During data collection, the researcher also had to put forth extra effort to understand the respondents’ interview schedules, several of whom fell into the incomprehensible age group. Also, there were financial and transportation constraints to deal with. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, interview).


1.9 Definition of Terms

Innovation:

Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services. It involves strategies exploring the internal consistencies and capabilities of an organization and coming out with a unique and special result capable of capturing the target interest in a new way.


1.10 Organisations of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the effectiveness of product innovation as a tool of achieving competitive advantage in the purchasing environment using Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba as a case study.The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to examine the effectiveness of product innovation as a tool of achieving competitive advantage in the purchasing environment using Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba as a case study.The study was specifically carried out to determine whether there is a significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization, determine whether product innovation promotes brand recognition and value thereby improving organizational competitiveness, determine whether product innovation increases brand market share thereby improving organizational competitiveness, and determine whether product innovation is an effective strategy required for achieving competitive advantage among business organizations.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 50 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent werestaff of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. There is a significant relationship between product innovation and competitive advantage of an organization.
  2. Product innovation promotes brand recognition and value thereby improving organizational competitiveness.
  3. Product innovation increases brand market share thereby improving organizational competitiveness.
  4. Product innovation is an effective strategy required for achieving competitive advantage among business organizations.

5.4 Recommendation

Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

  1. Since product innovation helps in reducing cost of consumer goods, Manufacturing Companies management should engage in it at regular interval so as to cut down the cost of value analysis strategy which is segment of product innovation;
  2. Manufacturing Companies should ensure that Research and Development Department as well as feedback of consumers from sales personnel where new product strategic plan emanated from should be explored and made use of so as to enhance provision of products that are expected by consumers. Such report includes that from sales persons who are always in touch with the consumers and understand most of the competing products and in addition they know the position of their company’s product in terms of competition in the market;
  3. Managers of firms should put additional emphasis on innovations as they are important instruments for achieving sustainable competitive power. Improved innovative performance is contingent upon the degree of implementation of innovations. Firms that are endowed with resources to improve their innovative capabilities could expect a more significant improvement of their production and market performance, if they encourage and implement a high level of innovation activities.
  4. Finally, in carrying out product innovation, management of Nigerian Bottling Company should ensure that the “new” product is real improvement on the old one. Consumers should not just be deceived that a product quality has improved while in the actual sense, there is no alteration on the product.

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