AN INITIAL EMPIRICAL STUDY OF USING A PRODUCT CONFIGURATOR AS A SUPPORT TOOL FOR DEVELOPING PRODUCT FAMILIES
Configurable products are one way to carry out mass-customisation. A configurable product is described with a configuration model. A product configurator is an information system for creating a configuration model and generating product instances. We present potential benefits and challenges of using a product configurator to manage the product variety related information during the development phase. The results are derived from a focus group study in a case company. We modelled a real product and found that a product configurator seems to be a feasible tool for creating and maintaining overall and complete description of the product variety, it provides up-to-date information for everyone and helps the communication in the development phase.