Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Cost Effects of Modular Product Family Structures: Methods and Quantification of Impacts to Support Decision Making

[+] Author and Article Information
Sebastian Ripperda

Institute for Product Development and
Mechanical Engineering Design (PKT),
Hamburg University of Technology,
Denickestraße 17,
Hamburg 21073, Germany
e-mail: sebastian.ripperda@tuhh.de

Dieter Krause

Institute for Product Development and
Mechanical Engineering Design (PKT),
Hamburg University of Technology,
Denickestraße 17,
Hamburg 21073, Germany
e-mail: krause@tuhh.de

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received May 18, 2016; final manuscript received November 26, 2016; published online January 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Christopher Mattson.

J. Mech. Des 139(2), 021103 (Jan 06, 2017) (12 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1369; doi: 10.1115/1.4035430 History: Received May 18, 2016; Revised November 26, 2016

Customer demands and global markets prompt companies to offer increasing product variety. The use of modular product structures is a possible strategy for providing the necessary external variety to the market and reducing costs by lowering internal variety within the company. Current research provides several approaches for developing modular product family structures. As modularity is a gradual property, these methods generate different product structure concepts and companies have to decide at an early stage and without detailed information which concepts to implement. Most existing modularization methods offer only little or no support for decision making, particularly in terms of cost effects. This article illustrates the cost effects of variety and modular product family structures, the various cost impacts of variety management strategies and modularization methods in a literature review. A new approach to quantify these cost effects to support concept selection during modular product family design is introduced.

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Fig. 2

Properties of complexity cost (cf. [7]): (a) effect on all life phases, (b) shifted appearance/asymmetric reaction, and (c) gap between cause and effects of complexity

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Fig. 8

Effects of the integrated PKT-approach illustrated in the cost variety diagram

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Fig. 6

Strategies within the variety management visualized in the detailed cost variety diagram

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Fig. 5

Possible changes in cost and revenue curves visualized in the detailed cost variety diagram

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Fig. 4

New enhanced cost variety diagram

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Fig. 3

Cost variety diagram, based on Refs. [7] and [37]

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Fig. 7

The complexity cost management unit within the integrated PKT-approach for developing modular product families [53]

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Fig. 9

The complexity cost management approach [61]

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Fig. 10

The complexity cost prognosis [61]

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Fig. 16

Evaluation of the product structure concepts

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Fig. 14

Product family structure concepts c1 and c2 using MIG

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Fig. 15

Detailed cost prognosis of herbicide spraying devices including uncertainties

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Fig. 11

Product family of herbicide spraying devices [46]

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Fig. 12

Acquisition of product family and cost structure

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Fig. 13

Identified cost driver processes using the Pareto principle for the product family of herbicide spraying devices

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Fig. 17

Specific cost impact model for further cost reduction for the herbicide spraying devices



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