Title: Modular product architectures as an enabler of the simultaneous application of a mass customisation strategy and efficient ramp-up management

Authors: Frank Steiner; Isabel Hergenröther

Addresses: Technology and Innovation Management Group, RWTH Aachen University, Templergraben 55, 52062 Aachen, Germany ' Technology and Innovation Management Group, RWTH Aachen University, Templergraben 55, 52062 Aachen, Germany

Abstract: In today's markets two recent trends can be observed: first, companies are facing an increasing level of heterogeneity in customer's demand. Second, product life cycles are becoming shorter and firms are forced to reduce their time-to-market. Management research suggests potential approaches to cope with these challenges: regarding customer heterogeneity the concept of mass customisation has emerged as one leading idea for creating high variety assortments. Concerning decreasing time-to-market, literature suggests the implementation of ramp-up management, in order to have more control during market launch. However, it remains unclear whether the suggested management approaches can be combined in order to tackle the issues of heterogeneous customer's needs and reduced time-to-market at the same time. This paper argues that by implementing modular product architecture, companies can employ ramp-up management and mass customisation in parallel. Results show that modularity indeed allows a simultaneous implementation of a mass customisation business model and ramp-up management.

Keywords: mass customisation; ramp-up management; product modularity; mass production; ramp-up production; high-variety product offerings; product development; modular products; time-to-market; modular product architectures.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2014.063038

International Journal of Product Development, 2014 Vol.19 No.4, pp.231 - 253

Received: 03 May 2013
Accepted: 19 Nov 2013

Published online: 13 Jun 2014 *

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