Controlling Design Variants: Modular Product Platforms
In an increasingly complex, customer value-driven marketplace, a progressively greater number of product variants has become one of the most important cost drivers for many manufacturing companies. Its negative effects are manifested throughout the entire organization. Company executives and product development managers, along with design and manufacturing engineers responsible for organizational results, will benefit from this book. Introduced here is the concept of modular design within the product platform approach, intended to increase company efficiency while reducing costs and time to market. "Modularization" is the decomposition of a product into building blocks with specified interfaces. Companies can achieve significant advantages by separating parts that should vary to satisfy customer needs from parts that should be kept as common units. The terminology and a five-step method for creating modular product platforms are developed. A fictitious vacuum cleaner illustration, based on experience at Electrolux, is used to clarify the method. Actual case studies from Volvo, Atlas Copco Controls, VBG, and Sepson demonstrate how the method achieves organization-wide results.