Product Platform and Product Family Design: From Strategy to Implementation
Date: July 22-25, 2013 | Tuition: $3,600 | Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 2.6
*This course has limited enrollment. Apply early to guarantee your spot.
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This course explores how product architecture, platforms and commonality can help a firm deploy and manage a family of products in a competitive manner. We will examine both strategic as well as implementation aspects of this challenge. A key strategy is to develop and manufacture a family of product variants derived from a common platform and/or modular architecture. Reuse of components, processes and design solutions leads to advantages in learning curves and economies of scale, which have to be carefully balanced against the desire for product customization and competitive pressures. Additionally, platform strategies can lead to innovation and generation of new revenue growth, by intelligently leveraging existing brands, modules, and sub-system technologies. We will present the latest theory as well as a number of case studies and industrial examples on this important topic. We will engage the course participants through interactive discussion and hands-on activities. Recent strategic issues such as embedding flexibility in product platforms as well as the effect of platforms on a firm's cost structure, organization, and market segmentation will also be presented.
Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings and tools (30%)
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (25%)
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (25%)
Other: Product dissection/reverse engineering (20%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (70%)
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (20%)
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (10%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (60%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (30%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (10%)
The participants of this course will be able to:
- Describe the evolution of industry from craft manufacturing to mass customization and how it drives product development.
- Grasp fundamental concepts in product architecting such as customer needs identification, requirements formulation, functional decomposition as well as function-form mapping during conceptual design.
- Understand the platform concept and be able to prioritize drivers of modularity and product platform design.
- Enumerate metrics for quantifying commonality within a product family.
- Identify major contemporary methods and tools for product family and platform design.
- Describe how optimization can assist during platform and product family design.
- Discuss strategic issues such as platform portfolio optimization, embedding flexibility in product platforms, the organizational impact of platforms as well as strategy selection based on net present value calculations.
- Leverage platforms for identifying new market and product opportunities to generate revenue growth.
- Extract key lessons from industrial case studies.
- Participate in discussions regarding the challenges that they face in the context of their own product families of industrial and consumer products.
- Point to the latest published literature in the field.
Who Should Attend
This course is targeted towards executive decision makers, product managers, marketing managers, product line strategists, product architects, as well as platform and systems engineers in industrial and government contexts. Such individuals will have to strategically position their products and systems in a competitive marketplace and define modular and scalable product architectures, utilizing standardization, commonalization, customization and platform leveraging strategies to maximize cost savings while increasing the capability to offer a variety of customized systems and products. A basic background in mechanical and/or electrical engineering, as well as some business and accounting experience is beneficial but not required.
Background & Motivation; Platform Definitions & Principles
2. Background and Motivation
Industrial Manufacturing Paradigms
- Craft Production ( - 1850)
- American System of Manufacturing (1850-1900)
- Mass Production (1900-1960)
- Lean Manufacturing (1960-1990)
- Mass Customization (1990 - )
3. Fundamental Concepts
- Platform Definition and Approaches
- Platform Leveraging Strategies
- Module- and Scale-based Product Family
- Interpretations, Advantages, Disadvantages
Interactive Exercise 1: Product Family Dissection
Product Architecture & Modularity
4. Product Architecting
- Methods and Tools
- Object-Process-Methodology (OPM)
- Design Structure Matrix (DSM)
5. Product Decomposition and Modularity
- Product Architecture Decomposition
- Principles of Decomposition
- Examples: Automotive, Aerospace, Consumer Product
- Modularity and Interfaces
- Abstraction, Interfaces and Product Complexity
- Modularity Drivers and Styles of Interconnection
- Modularity Metrics
- Modularity vs. Integrality
- Case Study
Interactive Exercise 2: Product Decompositions and DSM Mapping
Course Participant Dinner at a Local Restaurant
Commonality, Platform Design & Optimization Methods and Tools
6. Product Platform: Maps & Metrics
- Product Family Maps
- Defining a Platform Strategy
- Platform R&D Metrics
- Advantages and Disadvantages
- Commonality Discussion (Jigsaw Method)
- Commonality Indices
Interactive Exercise 3: Product Dissection and Commonality Analysis
8. Product Family Optimization
- Overview of Optimization-based Approaches to Product Platform and Product Family Design
- Two-stage and Single-stage Approaches
- Genetic Algorithms for Product Family Design
- General Methods for Module- and Scale-based Optimization
Strategic & Organizational Issues and Current Industry Trends
9. Platform Strategy Selection
- Review of Financial Metrics and Discounted Cash Flow Methods
- Product Family Strategy Selection
- Product Families based on Multiple Platforms, Platform Extent
- Integrated Platform Strategy Model Development
- Case Study
10. Flexible Manufacturing and Product Platforms
- Motivation for Product and Platform Flexibility
- Flexibility in Manufacturing
- Cousin Parts
- Modular Tooling
- Postponement Strategy
- Flexible Product Platform Development Process (FPDP)
- Case Study
11. Organizational Issues
- Alignment of Product Architecture and Organization
- Time Constants
- Case Study for Organizational Realignment
- To Platform or Not to Platform?
12. Current Industry Trends
- Summary of Current Trends from Recent Conferences and Workshops
- Commonality and Standardization in a Variety of Industries
- Electro-Mechanical Products
- Infrastructures and Large-Scale Facilities
- Research Directions and Industrial Needs
13. Overview of Product Platform Textbook
- Chapter Overview
- Ties to Course Topics
- Unanswered Questions or Closing Thoughts?
Note: Various case studies and examples are interspersed throughout the workshop to highlight concepts or emphasize applications of platforms. Among the examples are the following: Consumer products such as Black & Decker: electrical power tools, Sony: Walkman, Lutron: lighting systems and vehicles such as Boeing: commercial aircraft and VW, GM: cars. Industrial equipment and facilities: BP oil & gas exploration, NASA spacecraft and launch vehicles.
Course schedule and registration times
Class runs 8:30 am - 5:00 pm each day except for Thursday when it ends at 4:00 pm.
8:30am - 10:00am - First Session
10:00am - 10:30am - Break
10:30am - 12:00pm - Second Session
12:00pm - 1:00pm - Lunch
1:00pm - 2:30pm - Third Session
2:30pm - 3:00pm - Break
3:00pm - 4:30pm - Fourth Session
4:30pm - 5:00pm - Daily Summary and Wrap-up
Registration is on Monday morning from 7:45 - 8:15 am.
Product Manager, Ambassadors
"The subject matter was fantastic, and well taught. For me it was a tremendous learning experience as it was my first introduction to the theory behind the topics. Most importantly, the subject matter was highly relevant to my needs and interests."
Aerospace Fellow, MIT
"This course is a must for any professional who is interested in developing an effective product platform or product family. This program quickly lays foundations of system architectures and then gets into the how and why of applying those architecture concepts into a platform, module, or product family. This information also gives tools to the practitioner to develop a commonality plan, along with its rewards and challenges, for implementing for my own use."
Corporate Director - Engineering IT, Honeywell International
"Very pertinent to today's business challenges in product development."
Senior Software Engineer, General Dynamics-Advanced Information Systems
"This program helps you to appreciate another perspective to system designing. Before this program, my initial view of product platform design was based on the relationship of components and their functions. As the program progressed, I learned to realize that commonality can be defined on a number of dimensions, focusing on a number of attributes to meet a number of goals.”
About The Lecturers
Olivier de Weck
Olivier L. de Weck is currently an Associate Professor with a dual appointment between the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at MIT. He heads the MIT Strategic Engineering research group, which focuses on designing products and systems with both changeability and commonality. He has developed a number of methods and tools that have been adopted by industry. Among the firms and organizations interested in strategic engineering are Xerox, BP and NASA, to name a few. In 2001 he obtained a Ph.D. in Aerospace Systems from MIT for research on a “Multivariable Isoperformance Methodology for Precision Opto-Mechanical Systems”.
Prof. de Weck earned a masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1999. From 1987 to 1993 he attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland, where he earned a Diplom Ingenieur degree (MS equivalent) in Industrial Engineering. From 1993 to 1997 he served as liaison engineer and later as engineering program manager for the Swiss F/A-18 program at McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) in St. Louis, MO. Prof. de Weck won two best paper awards at the 2004 INCOSE Systems Engineering Conference, obtained the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Professorship in 2003 and is a recipient of the 1998 Carroll L. Wilson award, and the 1997 Pellegrini-Medicus Fellowship. He was a 1996 Swiss-U.S. Fulbright Scholarship finalist and a Co-Valedictorian in Industrial Engineering (with honors) from ETH Zurich in 1993. He is fluent in five languages and has published over 100 articles on systems engineering at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA, and a member of INCOSE, SPIE, IEEE, ASEE, and ASME. His current research is funded by the Sloan Foundation, NASA, DARPA, JPL, General Motors and British Petroleum.
Timothy W. Simpson
Dr. Simpson is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. His research interests include product family design and platform-based product development, web-based platform customization, design space visualization, metamodeling, and multidisciplinary design optimization. He has over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research, the Federal Transit Administration, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the Leonhard Center and Smeal College of Business of Penn State. He obtained his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 1994, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995 and 1998, respectively. The focus of his Ph.D. research was on “A Concept Exploration for Product Platform Design”.
Dr. Simpson joined the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University in 1998. He was a visiting researcher at the Multidisciplinary Optimization Branch of the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, in the summer of 1997 and spent part of Fall 2002 working in the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Group at The Boeing Company in Seattle, WA . He received Penn State Engineering Society's Outstanding Research Award in 2004 and Outstanding Teaching Award in 2002. He is also a recipient of the NSF Career Award, the 2001-2002 Outstanding Faculty Member Award from the IIE Student Chapter, and the 1999 Department Head's Outstanding Faculty Award in Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering. He is the Director of the Product Realization Minor at Penn State . He is a member of ASME, AIAA, ASEE and is chair of the AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) Technical Committee.
For more information on his research laboratory, visit: http://edog.mne.psu.edu/.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please contact the Short Programs office for further details.
De Weck and co-authors win best paper award--MIT News article, June 17, 2011 featuring Professor de Weck.