Cisco Systems, Inc.: Collaborating on New Product Introduction
In November 2007, a global, cross-functional team at Cisco Systems, Inc. was seeking management approval to start manufacturing a new router, code-named Viking. The team faced a host of challenges in launching the low-cost but powerful router for telecommunications service providers. After overhauling the project to sharply increase the router’s planned speed and capacity, the company had just one year to launch the product, an unusually fast schedule. In addition, Cisco wanted to debut China as a low-cost manufacturing base for the high-end product. It planned to use contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group to produce the machine, even though Foxconn had never made such a complex product for Cisco. Could Foxconn handle the technical complexity? Could Cisco work closely with Foxconn to mitigate the project risks? Could Cisco’s methodology for new product introduction rise to the necessary level of sophistication? The case highlights the challenges and complexities of developing and manufacturing a sophisticated technology product for a worldwide market. Students will consider what it takes to achieve success in new product introduction, or NPI. The case also offers an opportunity to evaluate supply chain issues in a company that outsources manufacturing globally.
The case is intended for use in a course on supply chain management or global operations. It is also suitable for a course on new product development or technology management. Teaching objectives are to show (1) the challenges and best practices in managing NPI effectively (2) the complexity of working with an offshore contract manufacturer as a key partner in NPI and (3) the way to mitigate risks in the supply chain of a new product.