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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1999

Moreno Muffatto

The paper analyses the implications of a platform strategy in new product development with reference to the automobile industry. The implications and benefits of a platform

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4803

Abstract

The paper analyses the implications of a platform strategy in new product development with reference to the automobile industry. The implications and benefits of a platform strategy are discussed from both the technical and organisational points of view. The impact of a platform strategy on international product development is then analysed. The paper draws on examples from the experience of major Japanese automobile companies. In general, the analysis highlights how platform strategies are evolving and how they must be recognised more and more in relation to the internationalisation processes of R&D activities and operations. Moreover, different approaches are pointed out concerning more advanced and/or conservative approaches to platform development. A more advanced approach leads to more benefits in terms of the performance of the product development process and the reorganisation of the development process on a global level.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 19 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Book part
Publication date: 29 March 2016

Marc Wouters, Susana Morales, Sven Grollmuss and Michael Scheer

The paper provides an overview of research published in the innovation and operations management (IOM) literature on 15 methods for cost management in new product

Abstract

Purpose

The paper provides an overview of research published in the innovation and operations management (IOM) literature on 15 methods for cost management in new product development, and it provides a comparison to an earlier review of the management accounting (MA) literature (Wouters & Morales, 2014).

Methodology/approach

This structured literature search covers papers published in 23 journals in IOM in the period 1990–2014.

Findings

The search yielded a sample of 208 unique papers with 275 results (one paper could refer to multiple cost management methods). The top 3 methods are modular design, component commonality, and product platforms, with 115 results (42%) together. In the MA literature, these three methods accounted for 29%, but target costing was the most researched cost management method by far (26%). Simulation is the most frequently used research method in the IOM literature, whereas this was averagely used in the MA literature; qualitative studies were the most frequently used research method in the MA literature, whereas this was averagely used in the IOM literature. We found a lot of papers presenting practical approaches or decision models as a further development of a particular cost management method, which is a clear difference from the MA literature.

Research limitations/implications

This review focused on the same cost management methods, and future research could also consider other cost management methods which are likely to be more important in the IOM literature compared to the MA literature. Future research could also investigate innovative cost management practices in more detail through longitudinal case studies.

Originality/value

This review of research on methods for cost management published outside the MA literature provides an overview for MA researchers. It highlights key differences between both literatures in their research of the same cost management methods.

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Book part
Publication date: 21 August 2012

Michael A. Cusumano

Purpose – This chapter discusses the difference between a product strategy and a platform strategy, relying on examples from the history of Apple and Microsoft in personal…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter discusses the difference between a product strategy and a platform strategy, relying on examples from the history of Apple and Microsoft in personal computers and other devices as well as Sony and Japan Victor Corporation in videocassette recorders.

Design/methodology/approach – The chapter begins with a review of how the term “platform” has been used in the management literature and defines an industry-wide platform (as compared to an in-house company product platform) as a foundation technology (or service) that brings multiple parties in a market together for a common purpose. An industry-wide platform can generate powerful network effects between the platform and complementary products and services that make the platform increasingly valuable. Apple, with the Macintosh computer, and Sony with the Betamax VCR as well as other products, such as the Walkman media player, are examples of firms that developed excellent products but followed a product-first strategy and ended up losing in these markets or becoming niche players. They paid relatively little attention to opening up their technology to outside firms and cultivating an ecosystem of partners. Apple changed in the early 2000s with the iPod and iTunes, and then the iPhone and iPad, and has risen from near bankruptcy to become an enormously valuable and profitable platform leader.

Findings – Historical examples suggest that, in a platform market, the winner is not the firm with the best product, but rather the firm with the best platform – that is, the foundation technology or service that is most open to outsiders and which stimulates development of the most compelling complements.

Originality/value – This result extends the literature's understanding of platform strategy.

Details

History and Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-024-6

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Article
Publication date: 7 January 2014

Ellen F. Thomas

When competing in a turbulent environment, strategic flexibility can be a competitive advantage. One source of flexibility is the new product development (NPD) process, or…

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1038

Abstract

Purpose

When competing in a turbulent environment, strategic flexibility can be a competitive advantage. One source of flexibility is the new product development (NPD) process, or more specifically product design. The purpose of this paper is to investigate platform-based product design and its relationship to environmental turbulence, strategic flexibility, and market performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model is developed and relationships are empirically tested using structural equation modeling. Data were collected from engineering design managers in the US manufacturing industry.

Findings

The paper found that the higher the level of environmental turbulence the more firms turned to platform product design. Also, the higher the level of platform design the higher the level of market performance, both in the short term and the long term. Finally, the paper showed that strategic flexibility positively and partially mediates the positive relationship between platform design and performance.

Originality/value

Platform-based product design is a research area noticeably devoid of empirical work. Furthermore, research has called for a better understanding of the different contexts in which platforms are applied stating that platform planning is too often decoupled from NDP strategy resulting in unsatisfactory results.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2019

Jesús F. Lampón, Vincent Frigant and Pablo Cabanelas

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the key factors behind the adoption of new automobile modular platforms from the perspectives of product design, manufacturing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the key factors behind the adoption of new automobile modular platforms from the perspectives of product design, manufacturing network and production systems.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth and qualitative cross-case analysis of European manufacturing networks was performed based on the modular platforms of seven automobile manufacturers.

Findings

The adoption of modular platforms has changed automobile product architecture helping automobile manufacturers to improve their manufacturing network outputs. The results show that operational flexibility and scope and scale economies at manufacturing network level depend on the platform design – degree of modularity – and the manufacturer’s product and manufacturing network conditions. This new product architecture allows for the new production systems to be efficient in terms of flexibility and versatility without overinvestment.

Originality/value

The main contribution to the research literature is the combination of traditional product architecture with the manufacturing network approach to analyse the influence of product design on production systems, especially regarding the adoption of new automobile modular platforms.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

A.A. (Alex) Alblas and J.C. (Hans) Wortmann

Success in manufacturing industries often depends on the ability of a firm to apply product platforms. In speeding up product development, platforms often enable companies…

Abstract

Purpose

Success in manufacturing industries often depends on the ability of a firm to apply product platforms. In speeding up product development, platforms often enable companies to benefit from scale effects by reusing existing components in the development of new products. In the delivery of complex products and system (CoPS), however, platforms are frequently modified since components have to be changed within their life cycle to meet additional customer-specific engineering demands and evolving innovations in technology. In this article, it will be illustrated that intangible design elements can be used as platforms in firms that deliver CoPS. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Through extensive fieldwork at a leading supplier of science-based lithography machinery, a modified platform concept was developed and tested that is labelled as the function-technology (FT) platform. The longitudinal data, collected on site, demonstrate positive effects of applying FT platforms.

Findings

The results show that an important explanation for firm's success in delivering lithography machinery with attractive performance is their ability to deliver variants that are specific in terms of physical modules, but common in terms of functions and technologies. Based on the results, it can be argued that establishing an FT platform will allow the efficient creation of variants within a family of CoPS.

Originality/value

The findings add considerable insight to the existing literature on operations management by explaining how intangible design elements, instigated during development, can be reused in the delivery of CoPS. Moreover, it enables development managers to more easily structure and reuse complex development tasks.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2012

Martin Sköld and Christer Karlsson

It is argued in this article that too little is known about product platforms and how to deal with them from a manager's point of view. Specifically, little information…

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1414

Abstract

Purpose

It is argued in this article that too little is known about product platforms and how to deal with them from a manager's point of view. Specifically, little information exists regarding when old established platforms are replaced by new generations in R&D and production environments. To shed light on this unexplored and growing managerial concern, the purpose of this explorative study is to identify operational challenges to management when product platforms are replaced.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a longitudinal field‐study approach. Two companies, Gamma and Omega, fulfilled important sampling criteria and were selected as strategic samples for the study. The two companies were studied for 42 and eight months, respectively, and were chosen for their long and rigorous experiences of platform development. Together with managers from Gamma and Omega, one major platform replacement was chosen in each company.

Findings

The study shows that platform replacements primarily challenge managers' existing knowledge about platform architectures. A distinction can be made between “width” and “height” in platform replacements, and it is crucial that managers observe this in order to challenge their existing knowledge about platform architectures. Issues on technologies, architectures, components and processes as well as on segments, applications and functions are identified.

Practical implications

Practical implications are summarized and discussed in relation to a framework distinguishing between platform replacement “height” and “width”. Seven groups of managerial measures for dealing with the issues are recommended.

Originality/value

The study aims to contribute to the existing literature by taking a managers' perspective of product platform development. Its specific originality and value is achieved by focusing on product platform replacements believed to represent a growing management challenge.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 September 2021

Martin Lennartsson, Samuel André and Fredrik Elgh

The purpose of this research is to support the customization ability for industrial house building companies striving to offer individualized products but with a strategy…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to support the customization ability for industrial house building companies striving to offer individualized products but with a strategy which includes a production facility. This is accomplished by analyzing the as-is state in terms of existing engineering assets and by proposing a to-be state using the design platform and product lifecycle management (PLM) support.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on design research methodology and collected data are in-depth interviews, document reviews and workshops and method development. The theoretical baseline is product platforms and the design platform.

Findings

The analysis showed that despite use of a platform, inherent assets are disorganized. Still, the identified object-based engineering assets were possible to include in a conceptual proposal for better management, both in the process and product view, using an asset relationship matrix and a PLM system.

Practical implications

The results should be applicable for industrial house building and off-site construction companies and offers an approach to identify and manage their assets and platforms which are crucial to stay competitive.

Originality/value

Previous research on design platforms has focused on engineer-to-order companies within the mechanical industry. The contribution of this paper lies in the application and support of the design platform for industrial house building and the introduction of PLM system support.

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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

Martin Bonev, Michael Wörösch and Lars Hvam

The purpose of this paper is to explore the development of a platform-based project execution in the industrialised construction sector, with a focus on systematically…

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1571

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the development of a platform-based project execution in the industrialised construction sector, with a focus on systematically balancing cost and value. Offering custom-tailored buildings at reasonable costs has been a growing concern for many construction companies. A promising approach adapted by operations management and design theory regards individual building projects as the adjustment and recombination of components and processes from a set of predefined platforms, while configuration systems assure feasible building solutions.

Design/methodology/approach

After adapting some of the underlying assertions of platform design to the engineer-to-order (ETO) situation in construction, the practical implications are evaluated on a case study of a precast manufacturer using high performance concrete.

Findings

Based on empirical findings from three distinct platform strategies, this research highlights key aspects of adapting platform-based developed theory to industrialised construction. Building projects use different layers of product, process and logistics platforms to form the right cost – value ratio for the target market application, while modelling methods map structural platform characteristics so as to balance commonality and distinctiveness.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a general theory of platform-based development and execution in the industrialised construction sector, which goes beyond concurrent approaches of standardising and systemising buildings projects. It adapts and extends established frameworks for platform development to the ETO situation in construction and empirically validates their cost and value effects.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2010

Sihem Ben Mahmoud‐Jouini and Sylvain Lenfle

The platform strategy adopted by firms in a multi‐project context reduces lead‐time and development cost, enhances reliability, allows mass customization and increases…

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2504

Abstract

Purpose

The platform strategy adopted by firms in a multi‐project context reduces lead‐time and development cost, enhances reliability, allows mass customization and increases manufacturing flexibility. While the major challenges of this strategy have been highlighted, the evolution of the platform and its management during its lifecycle is under studied. The paper address this missing point by considering the sustainability of the platform during its life cycle.

Design/methodology/approach

For that purpose, the paper has carried out a field methodology research at a car manufacturer six years after the successful setting of the platform strategy. It analyzes at a fine‐grained level the development of a second generation product on this existing platform.

Findings

Using a model that traces the design decisions taken during this development, it has identified that, in order to reuse the platform over two generations, the engineers implicitly apply, besides the design rules that correspond to the very definition of platform strategy as presented in the literature such as the carry‐over and the lean design, a learning routine that challenges these rules. It designates this routine by “smart reuse” because it enables the reuse of the platform from one generation to another. It highlights the interplay between the products and the platform that co‐evolve by pointing out the reciprocal prescription relationships. This co‐evolution operates through two levels: between the product planning and the platform on one hand and the product development and the platform on the other.

Practical implications

The paper has several implications, such as the central role of the platform director in the platform reuse and the platform architecture, mainly its modularity, and its impact on the platform progressive renewal. This research reveals ideas that need to be validated and tested through other methods and in other industrial contexts.

Originality/value

The paper offers insights into platform‐re‐use, focusing on the automotive industry.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 42000