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Keywords:

  • new product development;
  • supplier integration;
  • fuzzy front end;
  • buyer–supplier relationship;
  • survey;
  • regression analysis;
  • innovation

Tapping supplier innovation necessitates the effective management of the “fuzzy front end” of the new product development (NPD) process. This study considers the role of suppliers in the fuzzy front end and the influence of supplier integration on the focal firm's NPD outcomes. Project-level data with multiple informants indicate a strong positive relationship between supplier integration in the fuzzy front end and NPD project performance. Furthermore, relationship-specific assets and supplier integration in the firm's NPD process moderate this relationship.