Designing Platforms for Customizable Produces and Processes in Markets of Non-Uniform Demand
Williams, Christopher Bryant
Rosen, David W.
Allen, Janet K.
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The foremost difficulty in making the transition to mass customization is how to offer product variety affordably. The answer to this quandary lies in the successful management of modularity and commonality in the development of products and their production processes. While several platform design techniques have emerged as a means to offer modularity and commonality, they are limited by an inability to handle multiple modes of offering variety for multiple design specifications. The Product Platform Constructal Theory Method (PPCTM) is a technique that enables a designer to develop platforms for customizable products while handling issues of multiple levels of commonality, multiple product specifications, and the inherent trade-offs between platform extent and performance. The method is limited, however, by its inability to handle multiple design objectives and its reliance on the assumption that demand in the market is uniform for each product variant. The authors address these limitations in this paper by infusing the utility-based compromise Decision Support Problem and demand modeling techniques. The authors further augment the PPCTM by extending it use to a new domain: the design of process parameter platforms. The augmented approach is illustrated through a tutorial example: the design of a product and a process parameter platform for the realization of a line of customizable cantilever beams.