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The Design Platform Approach –Enabling platform-based development in the engineer-to-order industry
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Product Development, Production and Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7656-0889
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Manufacturing companies are continuously faced with requirements regarding technology novelty, shorter time to market, a higher level of functionality, and lower prices on their products. This is especially the case for companies developing and manufacturing highly customized products, also known as engineer-to-order (ETO) companies. The traditional view of the product lifecycle introduces the customer only at the sale and distribution phase, which is often concerned with identifying and transferring customer needs into fixed specifications that guide the development of end-consumer products. In the ETO industry, however, the customer is involved already at the scoping and quotation stage, and a significant amount of engineering needs to be performed for every customer order. Thus, ETO companies cannot work according to the traditional model described above since specific requirements are set directly by the customer, or a detailed requirements specification is missing and must be developed in cooperation with the customer. It is not uncommon that products are developed in joint ventures with the customer and run for several years, during which requirements change.

Product platform approaches have been generally accepted in the industry to serve a wide product variety while maintaining business efficiency. However, how to apply a product platform approach in ETO companies that face the reality described above is a challenge. Product platform approaches tend to require focused development of the platform, which, in turn, requires some knowledge about the future variants to be derived from the platform. The research presented in this thesis investigates the state of art and practice in the industry regarding the challenges, needs, and current use of product platforms. To respond to the identified need, a product platform approach is proposed that expands the scope of what a product platform has traditionally contained. The purpose of this proposal is to aid the development of highly customized products when physical modules or component scalability do not suffice. The resulting approach, the Design Platform Approach (DPA), provides a coherent model and methodology for heterogeneous engineering assets to be used in product development, supporting the activity of designing and existing solutions. The approach is based on identifying and modelling generic product and process items, which are the generic building blocks of the product, its structure, and the process of designing them. The generic product and process items are associated with the generic assets governing their design. By describing engineering assets that are the outcome of technology and product development, such as finished designs, design guidelines, constraints etc., in a standardized format, the DPA successively evolves.

This thesis outlines the DPA in detail and presents cases of applications that have focused on different aspects of the approach. Tools to support the DPA are presented and evaluated in different kinds of industries along with the specific methods used and literature summarization.

Abstract [sv]

Tillverkande företag blir kontinuerligt utmanade med krav på kortare ledtider, lägre priser på sina produkter och en högre nivå av funktionalitet och teknik. Detta är särskilt fallet för företag som utvecklar och tillverkar högt kundanpassade produkter, även kända som engineer-to-order (ETO) företag. Den traditionella synen på produktlivscykeln introducerar kunden i försäljnings- och distributionsfasen, som ofta berör identifiering och överföring av kundbehov i kravspecifikationer som styr produktutvecklingen av produkter för slutkonsumenter. ETO-branschen skiljer sig i att kunden redan är involverad i offertstadiet och att en betydande mängd ingenjörsarbete behöver utföras för varje kundorder. ETO-företag kan således inte fungera som tidigare beskrivna företag eftersom specifika krav ställs direkt av kunden. Även motsatsen kan inträffa då en detaljerad kravspecifikation saknas och behöver utvecklas i samarbete med kunden. Det är inte ovanligt att produkter utvecklas i gemensamma projekt med kunden och att projekt drivs under flera år under vilka krav tenderar att ändras.

Plattformsstrategier har accepterats inom industrin för att effektivt kunna hantera ett brett produktsortiment samtidigt som företagets effektivitet upprätthålls. En utmaning är dock hur ETO företag som står inför den verklighet som beskrivs ovan bör applicera en plattformsstrategi. Plattformsmetoder tenderar att kräva en fokuserad utveckling av plattformen vilket i sin tur kräver viss kunskap om vilka framtida varianter som ska skapas från plattformen. Forskningen som presenteras i denna avhandling undersöker litteratur och praktik inom industrin gällande utmaningar, behov och användning av plattformar. För att svara på det identifierade behovet föreslås en plattformsmodell och metod som utökar omfattningen av vad en produktplattform traditionellt har varit. Syftet är att stödja utvecklingen av höganpassade produkter när fysiska moduler eller skalbara komponenter inte räcker till. Det resulterande tillvägagångssättet, Design Platform (DP) -modellen, ger ett sammanhängande sätt för att hantera ingenjörstillgångar som ska användas vid produktutveckling och inkluderar både konstruktionsprocessen samt befintliga produktlösningar. Tillvägagångssättet bygger på att identifiera och modellera den generiska produkten och processen som är produktens generiska byggstenar, dess struktur och dess process. Dessa kopplas samman med de generiska tillgångarna som stödjer konstruktion och återanvändning. Genom att beskriva ingenjörstillgångarna, som är resultatet av teknik och produktutveckling, som färdiga konstruktioner, riktlinjer för konstruktion, krav etc. i ett standardiserat format, utvecklas plattformen successivt.

Denna avhandling presenterar DP-modellen och implementationer som har fokuserat på olika aspekter av DP-modellen. Flera verktyg för att stödja DP-modellen presenteras och utvärderas i olika branscher samt diskuteras i ljuset av den forskningsmetodik och litteratur.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Engineering , 2019. , p. 91
Series
JTH Dissertation Series ; 48
Keywords [en]
Product Development, Engineering Design, Quotation, Customization, Supplier, Product Platform, Design Reuse, Adaptation
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45777ISBN: 978-91-87289-51-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-45777DiVA, id: diva2:1347693
Public defence
2019-09-20, Gjuterisalen (E1405), School of Engineering, Jönköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VinnovaKnowledge FoundationAvailable from: 2019-09-02 Created: 2019-09-02 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Managing Fluctuating Requirements by Platforms Defined in the Interface Between Technology and Product Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing Fluctuating Requirements by Platforms Defined in the Interface Between Technology and Product Development
Show others...
2014 (English)In: Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering: Moving Integrated Product Development to Service Clouds in the Global Economy / [ed] Cha, J., Chou, S.-Y., Stjepandić, J. , Curran, R., Xu, W., Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2014, p. 424-433Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Product platforms play an important role for the efficient customisation and variant forming of products in many companies. In this paper four different companies ranging from OEM to B2B suppliers have been interviewed on how they engage in technology and product development, create and maintain product platforms and how they respond to the changing requirements on the platforms and on the products and product families derived from them. The objective is to find how product platforms are used to meet the demands of efficient product customisation. The companies all have identifiable product platforms and established processes for product development. However, there are differences in how they define technology development, how the platforms are created, maintained, replaced and what the platforms contain. The introduction of new technology into the platforms and how the platforms are used from a Lean product development perspective has been of interest in the survey as reported in the paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2014
Keywords
Product platform, Product development, Technology development, Customisation, Requirements
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-24438 (URN)10.3233/978-1-61499-440-4-424 (DOI)978-1-61499-440-4 (ISBN)978-1-61499-439-8 (ISBN)
Conference
The 21st ISPE International Conference on Concurrent Engineering, 8-11 September, Beijing, China
Projects
ChaSE
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2014-08-26 Created: 2014-08-26 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
2. Introducing Design Descriptions on Different Levels of Concretisation in a Platform Definition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Introducing Design Descriptions on Different Levels of Concretisation in a Platform Definition
2015 (English)In: Product Lifecycle Management in the Era of Internet of Things / [ed] Bouras, A., Eynard, B., Foufou, S., Thoben, K.-D., Springer, 2015, p. 800-810Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Product platforms has been widely accepted in industry as a means to reach both high product variety while maintaining business efficiency. For suppliers of highly customised products, however, the development of a platform based upon predefined modules is a challenge. This is due to the large differ-ences between the various systems their products are to be integrated into and the customer's individual preferences. What is common for most platform descriptions is the high level of concretisation, such as predefined modules, they are built upon, but how can companies act when that is not possible? Are there other principles that can be used for the definition of a product platform? This paper presents a concept to incorporate other types of descriptions of different levels of concretisation into a product platform. Parts of the concept has been realised in a computer support tool and tested at a case company in order to improve their quotation process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2015
Series
IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Keywords
Product platform, quotation, engineering design, reuse, design rationale
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-27723 (URN)978-3-319-33110-2 (ISBN)978-3-319-33111-9 (ISBN)
Conference
12th IFIP WG 5.1 International Conference, PLM 2015, Doha, October 19-21, 2015.
Projects
ChaSE
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-08-18 Created: 2015-08-18 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
3. A platform model for suppliers of customized systems: Creating an ability to master fluctuating requirements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A platform model for suppliers of customized systems: Creating an ability to master fluctuating requirements
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2016, Charlotte, August 21-24, 2016., 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Companies developing highly customized products within the supplier industry are continuously faced with fluctuating requirements during both the quotation process and continued development. This research proposes a platform approach to aid suppliers when modularity or platform scalability do not suffice. The platform approach, Design Platform, focuses on descriptions that not only contain information about tangible components and systems but also information, knowledge and methods supporting the actual design of the product. A support system called Design Platform Manager has been developed to aid in using the platform approach and is introduced at a supplier active in the automotive industry. The system enables creation of generic product items that can be structured and instantiated to become product variants as well as Design Elements that are blocks of knowledge that describe a design or supports the activity of designing. A first evaluation is made that overall shows good result according to the company representatives.

Keywords
Quotation, Customization, Platform, Requirements, Supplier, Engineering Design
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-31567 (URN)000393001500031 ()2-s2.0-85007317943 (Scopus ID)
Conference
IDETC/CIE 2016, International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers & Information in Engineering Conference
Available from: 2016-08-29 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
4. The design platform – a coherent platform description of heterogeneous design assets for suppliers of highly customised systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The design platform – a coherent platform description of heterogeneous design assets for suppliers of highly customised systems
2017 (English)In: Journal of engineering design (Print), ISSN 0954-4828, E-ISSN 1466-1837, Vol. 28, no 10-12, p. 599-626Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Companies developing highly customised products are continuously faced with fluctuating requirements during the early and late stages of the product development (PD) process. This differs from companies that develop end-consumer products, which uses fixed specifications and where product platforms have been a successful enabler for efficient customisation. However, in the past, product platforms have not been able to fully support companies working in an engineer-to-order business environment. This article outlines the results from a three-year collaborative research project between academics within the area of engineering design and practitioners from the engineer-to-order industry. The research introduces a design platform (DP) that aims to support the development of customised products when traditional platform concepts do not suffice. The platform approach provides a coherent environment for heterogeneous design assets to be used in PD by supporting both the design activity and the finished solutions. The needs and abilities regarding such a platform were investigated through a series of interviews and workshops at four companies. Then, the DP was modelled and support tools were developed. Finally, company representatives evaluated the complete DP and its applications, reporting promising results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017
Keywords
Product development, engineering design, customisation, supplier, platform
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-37261 (URN)10.1080/09544828.2017.1376244 (DOI)000416834900001 ()2-s2.0-85029437939 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-09-11 Created: 2017-09-11 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
5. Modeling of transdisciplinary engineering assets using the design platform approach for improved customization ability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modeling of transdisciplinary engineering assets using the design platform approach for improved customization ability
2018 (English)In: Advanced Engineering Informatics, ISSN 1474-0346, E-ISSN 1873-5320, Vol. 38, p. 277-290Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Original equipment suppliers (OES) that develop unique products are continuously faced with changing requirements during both the quotation and product development processes. This challenge is a different reality from companies that develop off-the-shelf products for the end consumer, which use fixed specifications and where product platforms have been a strong enabler for efficient mass customization. However, product platforms cannot adequately support companies working as OES. The reason is that a high level of customization is required which means that interfaces cannot be standardized, the performance is not negotiable, requirements are not initially fixed, and the specific system interacts with, is affected by, or affects other systems that are simultaneously developed in a transdisciplinary environment. The design platform (DP) approach provides a coherent environment for heterogeneous and transdisciplinary design resources to be used in product development by supporting both designing and off-the-shelf solutions. This research describes the introduction, application and further development of the DP approach at an automotive supplier to support the development of customized solutions when traditional modularity or platform scalability do not suffice. A computer tool called Design Platform Manager has been developed to support the creation and visualization of the DP. The support tool has a connection to a product data management database to link the platform model to the various kinds of engineering assets needed or intended to support variant creation. Finally, the support tool was evaluated by the case company representatives showing promising results. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
Keywords
Engineer-to-order, Engineering design, Product development, Product platform, Quotation, Supplier, Fixed platforms, Information management, Engineer to orders, Product platforms, Product design
National Category
Computer Systems Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41161 (URN)10.1016/j.aei.2018.07.006 (DOI)000454378700021 ()2-s2.0-85051115681 (Scopus ID)
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
6. Supporting the modelling and managing of relations in the design platform
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting the modelling and managing of relations in the design platform
2019 (English)In: Proceedings of the 22th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED), 5-8 August, Delft, The Netherlands, Cambridge University Press, 2019, Vol. 1, no 1, p. 3001-3010Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A common strategy which has in many cases become a necessity in product developing companies is to apply platform thinking to some extent. Engineer-to-order (ETO) companies are firms that need to invest in a significant amount engineering time in each product ordered by customers. These companies have in the past been known to not be fully able to apply platform strategies. An area of concern to product development is the design and manufacture of machine tools aimed for part manufacturing which is a large investment and a critical bottle neck. As a response to these challenges the design platform (DP) concept was developed which is founded on the re-use of company assets. This paper aims to investigate the application of the DP in a company designing and producing unique high-pressure die casting tools for different applications and customers. To enable companies of this character to utilize platform thinking to a higher degree and thus increase the efficiency in product development, a focus is set on modelling and managing relations within the DP. In addition, a PDM system setup is proposed together with an integrated support application for the realisation in industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2019
Series
Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, E-ISSN 2220-4342 ; Volume 1, Issue 1
Keywords
Platform strategies, High Pressure Die Casting, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Product modelling/models, Engineer-to-Order
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45773 (URN)10.1017/dsi.2019.307 (DOI)
Conference
The 22th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED), 5-8 August, Delft, The Netherlands
Available from: 2019-09-02 Created: 2019-09-02 Last updated: 2019-09-02Bibliographically approved
7. PLM support for the Design Platform in industrialized housing for efficient design and production of customized houses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>PLM support for the Design Platform in industrialized housing for efficient design and production of customized houses
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45774 (URN)
Note

Submitted to journal.

Available from: 2019-09-02 Created: 2019-09-02 Last updated: 2019-09-02

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