The full life-cycle of a piece of equipment can be divided into two distinct stages: innovation of the equipment and operation of the equipment. In the family of process industries, product and process innovation often take place in collaboration with manufacturers of process equipment; however, the question still remains of how such collaboration should be arranged. The driving forces behind collaboration between process companies and technology/equipment suppliers are not always obvious and may vary, because such collaboration involves both advantages and disadvantages for each collaborating partner. Moreover, if there is a motive to start a collaboration, the questions to be addressed are how such activities should be set up and how such commitment should be distributed during a project’s lifetime in order to obtain a strong but lean collaboration process.

Our perspective

It is initially important to determine whether a collaboration is feasible and, if so, how such a collaboration should be arranged in order to create a “win-win” situation for both parties (Lager & Frishammar, 2012).