Cost management and cross-functional communication through product architectures


Zwerink, Ruud and Wouters, Marc and Hissel, Paul and Kerssens-van Drongelen, Inge (2007) Cost management and cross-functional communication through product architectures. R&D Management, 37 (1). pp. 49-64. ISSN 0033-6807

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Abstract:Product architecture decisions regarding, for example, product modularity, component commonality, and design re-use, are important for balancing costs, responsiveness, quality, and other important business objectives. Firms are challenged with complex tradeoffs between competing design priorities, face the need to facilitate communication between functional silos, and want to learn from past experiences. In this paper, we present a qualitative approach for systematically evaluating the product architecture of a product family, comparing the original architecture objectives and actual experiences. The intended contribution of our research is threefold: (1) to present a framework that brings together a diverse set of product architecture-related decisions and business performance; (2) to provide a set of metrics that operationalise the variables in the framework, and (3) to provide a workshop protocol that is based on the framework and the metrics. This workshop aims to improve cross-functional communication about the product architecture of an existing product family, and it results in practical improvement actions for future architecture design projects. Experiences with this approach are reported in pilots with Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care, and Philips Consumer Electronics.
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Copyright:© 2007 Wiley InterScience
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