Modeling and visualizing modular product architectures for Mass Customization

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2008

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Companies following a mass customisation strategy have to observe two prerequisites for success; they have to be able to fulfil a wide variety of customer needs and demands. They also have to harvest the benefits from economies of scale within their organisation and supply chain. This leads to the somewhat contradictory situation that the companies are striving for variety from a commercial point of view and simplicity from a manufacturing point of view. It is widely accepted in academia and industry that a conscious structuring of product architectures and/or the use of product platforms can help overcome this challenge. This paper presents a new method for synthesis and visualisation of product architecture concepts that puts emphasis on variety in markets while also treating the consequences in the manufacturing setup. It is a method that allows design engineers to construct product architecture concepts concurrently with concepts for the manufacturing setup. The visualisation obtained while using this method as a concept generator, represents the alternative concepts from a market, product assortment and production/supply chain point of view. The work is based on the assumption that a graphical overview of a given solution space and relations between market demands, product architecture and manufacturing layout can support decision-making and constitute a very powerful interaction between stakeholders in product development departments striving for mass customisation. The method was applied in an industrial development project as part of the development of a product architecture. This test showed that the method can support design teams in deciding how to arrange modules and interfaces, what concepts and manufacturing processes to use, and how to put up a draft production layout already when assessing concepts. The contribution of this paper is a method that allows design teams to create product architectures with aligned market, product and production aspects based on a visualisation of concepts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Customisation
Publication date2008


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ID: 3671568