Letter from the Editor

Expect the Unexpected

Carsten Gelhard

Expect the Unexpected

Companies are continuously confronted with several challenges, such as financial straits, changing customer needs, new competitors, increasing raw material prices, or ecological changes. Although these are only general topics representing potential threats, there is one clear message for companies: expect the unexpected! Especially unexpected changes in a firm’s environment lead to one tough challenge, namely the trade-off between being agile and efficient at the same time. Companies, for instance, need to be agile and adaptable to changing customer needs. Therefore, they may not only focus on present customer needs, but also on future and unaware needs of their customers. Simultaneously, organizations, driven by cost saving requirements, need to improve their operational efficiency. Besides handling such a trade-off, firms additionally need to invest into R&D activities in order to be prepared for changes. Especially in research intensive industries such as the chemical or pharmaceutical industry, R&D investments are essential, since the development of new technologies represent the most reasonable opportunity to succeed in the market place. Therefore, we are pleased to present you some new insights related to the management of technology licensing, the effects of the global crisis on the management of small firms, the development of integrated production networks as well as managing personalized medicine.
In our first research paper “Management of technology licensing as a foreign market entry mode: The case of leading Italian pharmaceutical and biotech companies”, Uros Sikimic, Federico Frattini, and Vittorio Chiesa explore managerial aspects that are required to handle technology licensing in the specific case of entering foreign markets. Here, they rely on a multiple case study research approach including cases of Italian pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Their key findings can be summarized into two points, i.e. (1) in order to manage technology licensing as the foreign market entry mode firms refer to the process view perspective and (2), in so doing, these companies tend to develop dynamic capabilities.
Cezar Scarlat examines, in his article “The influence of the global crisis on the management of the small firms active in the Romanian pharmaceutical industry”, how the recent economic and financial crisis has influenced the management of Romanian small and medium size enterprises operating in the pharmaceutical sector. His conducted survey, based on 375 respondents, entails that early reactions to the global crisis were reported as early as August 2008, which increased to an absolute maximum in March 2010. Furthermore, the author identified that the smaller the company size, the slower the reactions. If a strategy could be identified, most of the SMEs acted rather defensive, i.e. change of product range, changes in strategic alliances or retrenching.
In our first article for the practitioner’s section, “Development of integrated production networks using extended material flow analysis”, Marco Auer analysis the use of extended material flow analysis in order to predict the effect of changes in production networks. Especially in the case of chemical companies, the appropriate implementation of integrated production networks may represent an opportunity to gain competitive advantage. In his work, Marco Auer starts with a material flow analysis and extends this approach with cost and investment analyses while using scenario techniques. In so doing, an optimized configuration of the network can be identified. For his analysis, the author applies a simplified case study related to the Mueller-Rochow Direct Synthesis.
In the paper “Personalised medicine, unmet need or business strategy?” Graciela Sáinz de la Fuente uses the case of Thiopurine Methyltransferase (TPMT) testing to illustrate the reasons why personalised medicine for off-patent drugs is less used at a clinical level than personalised medicine for drugs under development. More specifically, the author analysis the technological trajectory of TPMT testing and the process of clinical uptake by the UK National Health Service (NHS). In so doing, main enablers and barriers during the introduction of TPMT testing in the NHS are identified.
Now, please enjoy reading the first issue of the tenth volume of the Journal of Business Chemistry. We would like to thank all authors and reviewers who have contributed to this new issue. If you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to send us an email at:  contact@businesschemistry.org.

Carsten Gelhard, Executive Editor