Companies are emphasizing modular designs and manufacturing approaches, but to stay competitive and retain market share they must continue to offer products and services of the highest quality. Therefore, since modularity is increasingly popular and product quality is always critical, the purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of modular strategies on key quality dimensions.
This paper first presents an overview of modularity, and then outlines eight commonly used dimensions of quality. Each dimension is then examined in terms of how it can be affected by modularity.
It is shown that modular product design has a significant impact on key attributes of product quality. Six of the eight quality dimensions examined are potentially affected in a positive way by modularity, while five of the eight attributes are affected in a potentially negative manner by the use of modularity.
Since modularity can have both a positive and negative impact on quality, managers must proceed with caution when adopting modular strategies.
This is a seminal work because it considers the impact of modularity on the dimensions of quality. It is argued that the use of modularity should not be considered a panacea by companies searching for a quick solution. That is, there are potentially significant negative side effects associated with modularity.
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