PhD ceremony: Mr. A.A. Alblas, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Platform strategy for complex products and systems
Promotor(s): prof. J.C. Wortmann, prof. G.J.C. Gaalman
Faculty: Economics and Business
The thesis presents a design reuse strategy for firms producing complex products and systems (CoPS). Examples of CoPS include industrial machinery, oil-rigs, electrical power distribution systems, integrated mail processing systems and printing press machinery.
CoPS firms are confronted with the task of having to produce products, which have extensive complexity. Therefore, these firms can benefit from reuse of design artifacts. In other industries, such reuse is based on the notion of platforms. This thesis investigates platform strategies in the case of CoPS.
Firms producing CoPS face large variations in customer demands. In such firms the products often require additional engineering for specific customers, they have long life cycles, and their development process is highly complex and science-based. Therefore the added value of these firms comprises substantial development effort. This leads to significant complexity in the management of product versions and variants, the coordination development effort, and the management of engineering change over the lifecycle of platforms.
To achieve efficiency, the product platform needs to deliver a proper concept that can assist in optimizing the life cycle of CoPS. A platform is defined as the collection of assets or elements (i.e., components, modules or parts, choice features, functions, technologies and interfaces) that are shared by a set of products. The whole set is referred to as a product family. A family consists of the platform combined with the selection rules for those elements that need to be chosen or specified within the product family. This thesis defines a new platform strategy for firms producing CoPS, which covers aspects such as lifecycle management, configuration management, and engineering change management. This strategy provides both practitioners and scholars with increased understanding of the management of platforms in CoPS firms.
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