Design for adaptability in multi-variant product families

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Greisel, Markus (1,2); Kissel, Maximilian (1); Spinola, Benjamin (2); Kreimeyer, Matthias (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Technical University of Munich, Germany; 2: MAN Truck & Bus AG
Page(s): 179-188
ISBN: 978-1-904670-47-6
ISSN: 2220-4334


Designing system structures for adaptability offers significant advantages for both customers and producers. But it is not simple, especially when the product is a highly complex product family, for example a heavy duty truck. This paper presents why the application of Design for Adaptability is problematic with existing approaches, if the product is complex. To close the outlined gap in methodology, a new methodical concept is proposed. This is based on Modular Function Deployment and strategic modularization, offering the opportunity for the necessary transparency, to make also very multi-variant products more adaptable. For making the complexity of high variant product families more tangible, this concept is applied on the components of a Generic Product Structure. The modularization is done by defining adaptability drivers and focusing not on interfaces, but on grouping components for distinct reasons. Therefore ‘Strategic Modules’ are defined offering a whole new perspective and transparency of component dependencies. This is shown on a real life product by MAN Truck & Bus AG. The result is a promising methodical concept that should be further developed by future research.

Keywords: Design for adaptability, high variant product families, design for X, product architecture, product lifecycle management


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