In their quest to manage the complexity of offering greater product variety, firms in many industries are considering platform-based development of product families. Key in this approach is the sharing of components, modules, and other assets across a family of products. Current research indicates that companies are often choosing physical elements of the product architecture (i.e., components, modules, building blocks) for building platform-based product families. Other sources for platform potential are widely neglected. We argue that for complex products and systems with hierarchic product architectures and considerable freedom in design, a new platform type, the system layout, offers important commonality potential. This layout platform standardizes the arrangement of subsystems within the product family. This paper is based on three industry case studies, where a product family based on a common layout could be defined. In combination with segment-specific variety restrictions, this results in an effective, efficient, and flexible positioning of a company's products. The employment of layout platforms leads to substantial complexity reduction, and is the basis for competitive advantage, as it imposes a dominant design on a product family, improves its configurability, and supports effective market segmentation.
|Journal||Artificial intelligence for engineering design, analysis and manufacturing|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|