INNOVATION STRATEGIES AND PERFORMANCE OF LARGE MANUFACTURING FIRMS IN KENYA: A CASE OF BAMBURI CEMENT LIMITED (LAFARGE HOLCIM)
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The entrance of cement manufacturing firms like Devki Group's National Cement and the Indian-based Sanghi group of company as well as other participants within the industry over the last five 5 years have resulted to increased rivalry that has resulted to constant decline in the prices of cement. With new competition, the market-share of the dominant players had dropped to 32.6% by the year 2018 in Kenya. This study therefore sought to find out the role of innovation strategies on performance of large manufacturing firms, a case study of Bamburi Cement Limited. The study was guided by the following specific objectives; to assess the effect of product innovation strategy and performance of large manufacturing firms in Kenya; to establish the influence of process innovation strategy on performance of large manufacturing firms in Kenya; to assess the effect of promotion innovation strategy on performance of large manufacturing firms in Kenya and to analyse the influence of pricing innovation strategy on performance of large manufacturing firms in Kenya. The study was guided by the following theories; Innovative Firm theory, theory of Dynamic Capability and the Resource Dependence Theory and the Institutional Theory. This study adopted a descriptive research design. The unit of analysis was the employees working with Bamburi cement while the unit of observation was all workers of BCL serving in the 6 departments in the Corporate Office, Industrial Area and also in Athi River. The departments include Innovation and Technical Services Department, the Commercial Department, the IT Department, Human Resource Department, Production & Maintenance Department and the Finance Department. A total of 470 employees formed the target. The Yamane formulae (1967) was applied to obtain the sample for the study. From the 470 workers 216 of them were to be obtained from the targeted departments. A Stratified random sampling was applied for proportionately selecting the 216 sample of employees from the population targeted. A questionnaire was used to collect primary data. Qualitative data was analysed using content analysis and presented in different themes. The study concluded that there exists a positive relationship between product innovation strategy, process innovation, promotion innovation and pricing strategy and performance of large manufacturing firms. Therefore, large manufacturing firms should continually embrace product innovation strategy as this strategy provided a framework for creating new products or improving the performance. Manufacturing companies need to implement policies that encourage a process innovation culture. Players in the manufacturing sector must continually embrace promotion strategies. This is based on the evidence that promotional innovation strategies helped manufacturers utilize the skills of their employees and stakeholders especially in developing creative approaches to sales and customer service. Players in the manufacturing sector in Kenya should continually adopt pricing innovation strategies as these tactics were found to have a positive impact on sales performance.