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How modular complex product systems constrain product development efforts: A case study of pavers
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Management.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study investigates product development of complex products in a modular environment at the paver manufacturer Dynapac. It is determined how the complexity of a modular product constrains product development.Product development in a modular enviornment is a popular research topic in previous literature. However there is limited literature regarding in what ways the complexity of a modular product constrains product development in form of new product variants demanded by the market. A more comprehensive research within this field is interesting for manufacturing companies producing complex products in a modular environment since it could ease and optimize their product development processes. An efficient product development process is crucial to stay competitive and to be able to serve the market rapidly with qualitative and desired products, which increases the importance of this study.With the aim to address the limitations of the existing literature on product development based from modular complex product systems a case study was conducted. The constraints of developing a new paver model demanded by the market caused by the complexity of the paver design were identified.The findings of the research have both theoretical and managerial implications. The theoretical contribution consists mainly of the identification of a new type of overall constraints in modular complex product systems which I call ‖architectural functional constraints‖. These constraints cause an unexpected chain reaction of affected modules in the product system when a change to one module is made, even if the change ostensibly only should affect the module in question. The results show that the effects of this type of constraints is a constraining factor on product development of new product variants in a modular environment. The effects of the architectural functional constraints constrain product development since they trigger time consuming activities in order to avoid a dysfunctional product, or a product that has a high level of commonality with other product offerings. Further the effects oppose a rapid and cost-efficient product development which is regarded to be two of the main benefits with modularity.The managerial implications include a decision process for new product development projects that can be used when architectural functional constraints are found in a product in order to ensure an economic sustainable development of new product variants. Hence managers can use the decision process as a tool to both make and communicate current and future decisions in a structured way.The study is a starting point for further studies investigating how the complexity of modular products might constrain product development efforts. It is expected that the results of the study can be used by other manufacturing companies operating in a similar context, producing complex product systems in a modular environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 74 p.
Keyword [en]
Modularity, Modular Product Platforms, Complex Product Systems, Product Development
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-190200OAI: diva2:952075
Available from: 2016-08-19 Created: 2016-08-11 Last updated: 2016-08-19Bibliographically approved

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