Designing Task Assembly and Using Vanilla Boxes to Delay Product Differentiation: An Approach for Managing Product Variety

  • Jayashankar M. Swaminathan
  • Sridhar R. Tayur
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 10)


Product line choice is an important factor in determining the overall success of a manufacturer operating in a customer-oriented competitive market. A broader product line offers greater variety and caters to multiple segments of the market. This enables a manufacturer to meet customer needs more closely leading to higher market share and greater revenues (Bagozzi 1986, and, Cravens and Woodsruff 1986). However, more variety may lead to an increase in the complexity of the manufacturing process thereby increasing operational costs (Abeggelen and Stalk 1985). On the other hand, a narrow product line is easier to manage from the manufacturing point of view but may not generate enough profits for the manufacturer to lead a successful business (Kotier 1986). Choice of the product line depends primarily on market characteristics, consumer preferences, operational cost and the manufacturer’s objectives.


Product Line Assembly Sequence Precedence Constraint Customer Order Product Demand 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jayashankar M. Swaminathan
    • 1
  • Sridhar R. Tayur
    • 2
  1. 1.University of California at BerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Carnegie Mellon UniversityUSA

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