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01-06-2014 | Issue 2/2014

Advances in Manufacturing 2/2014

Product portfolio map: a visual tool for supporting product variant discovery and structuring

Journal:
Advances in Manufacturing > Issue 2/2014
Authors:
Sören Ulonska, Torgeir Welo

Abstract

A fundamental criterion for reusing and continuously improving knowledge in product development is ensuring that the knowledge is explicit and visual. This paper is based on the situation of an engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturing company, where historically grown product variety and related knowledge are diffuse (tacit). Consequently, several resources are used in (re)developing derivatives of previous products rather than innovating new ones. To establish a more competitive configure-to-order (CTO) product strategy, product knowledge needs to be revealed, systemized, and structured, and thus made explicit. Hence, product-specific knowledge and product variants have been analyzed and subsequently mapped at architectural, functional, and physical levels in one unified map and tested in the form of a proof-of-concept (POC) demonstrator with the introduced SME company. The result is a product portfolio map that forms a base for defining a systemized, transparent, unified product variant overview, which can be used as a basis for implementing a cross-variant product architecture and supporting knowledge-based approaches.

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