Literature Review: Existing Concepts


It has been the motivation of many concepts and models in theory and industry practice alike to create and implement successful solutions to the challenging situation described in the previous chapter that most manufacturing companies find themselves in. This chapter presents a selection of existing concepts that have been established in literature and have found application in an industry setting. They are all, in a general sense, concerned with managing product complexity, and most of them consider product architecture in one way or another. Although the set of concepts chosen here reflects the current state of knowledge in the field, it does not mean to be complete as this would be beyond the scope of this work. Section 3.1 develops the criteria by which each concept is assessed. Sections 3.2 and 3.3 give a short overview of each concept, while the last section of this chapter summarizes the evaluation.


Control Chart Product Family Customer Requirement Quality Function Deployment Mass Customization 
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  1. 4.
    Womack, Jones, & Roos (1990, pp. 7–8)Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    One half of all books printed in the U.S. each year are shredded because they did not find a customer! (See Womack and Jones, 2003, p. 25.)Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See Womack and Jones (1994, pp. 94–96) for details on the three needs.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Figure 3.3 is based on Rathnow (1993, p. 42) and Matern (2000, p. 20).Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Worthy (1991, p. 74)Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    According to Seidenschwarz (1991, p. 200), the most common method is to define the target cost as the average of standard and allowable cost. Seidenschwarz points out, however, that target costs must be determined by considering company strategy and competitive intensity. When pursuing a cost leadership strategy, target costs can even be defined as identical to the allowable costs.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Ulrich and Tung (1991, p. 78) used the term “fabricate-to-fit” for this modularity type as their work focused on manufacturers. Pine II (1993a) also considered process and service industry, hence “cutto-fit.”Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Baldwin and Clark (1997, p. 86) stated that designers divide information about a modular product into visible design rules and hidden design parameters. Visible design rules are decisions that affect subsequent design decisions. They fall into three categories (architecture, interfaces, and standards) and should be established in an early design stage. The hidden design parameters are decisions that do not affect the design beyond the local module and can, therefore, be chosen late.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Erixon (1998, pp. 83–103) gives an overview of the metrics and rules that are applied in this step.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    When creating derivative products, the costs of the platform elements carried forward are essentially sunk costs. Only the marginal costs of creating variations accrue to the derivatives (Meyer & Lehnerd, 1997, p. 41).Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    The problematic areas as presented here are based on Boutellier et al. (1997, pp. 60–61).Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    Caesar (1991, pp. 74–80 and pp. 164–174) introduced a broad set of quantitative figures that consider product variety.Google Scholar
  13. 27.
    A control point is defined as a substantial change in the control process relating to the flow of drawings, materials, parts, etc. (Suzue & Kohdate, 1990, p. 40). For example, drawings handed over from the design department to the production technology team, which determines the necessary tools, is counted as a control point.Google Scholar

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