Platform-driven development of product families, linking theory with practice

J.I.M. Halman, A.P. Hofer, W. Vuuren, van

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Abstract

Firms in many industries increasingly are considering platform-based approaches to reduce complexity and better leverage investments in new product development, manufacturing and marketing. However, a clear gap in literature still exists when it comes to discussing the problems and risks related to implementing and managing product families and their underlying platforms. Using a multiple-case approach, we compare three technologydriven companies in their definition of platform-based product families, investigate their reasons for changing to platform-driven development, and analyze how they implemented platform thinking in their development process and which risks they encountered in the process of creating and managing platform-based product families. The field study shows, that the companies involved in the study use a homogeneous concept of platformbased product families, and that they have similar reasons to turn to platform thinking and encounter comparable risks. However, the companies analyzed use mainly product architecture as a basis for their platforms (and ignore many of the platform types advocated in literature), while on the other hand they show divergent applications of the platform concept regarding the combinations of product families and market applications. Through this exploratory study, some important "gaps" in the literature became evident, and in the discussion, these "gaps" are discussed and directions for future platform research are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct platform and product family design: methods and applications
EditorsT.W. Simpson, Z. Siddique
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer
Pages27-47
Number of pages548
ISBN (Print)978-0-387-25721-1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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