The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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An Approach to Quantifying Design Flexibility for Mass Customization in Early Design Stages

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Technical Report Keywords: product flexibility; mass customization; reconfigurable systems; product families
Authors: Cormier, Phil; Olewnik, Andrew; Lewis, Kemper
With the increasing stratification of customer preferences, companies must offer a number of options to remain competitive. Current methodologies, such as product families, seek to offer more options to the consumer while minimizing costs to the company. Customizable products are striving to offer the customer what they truly desire by increasing the level of influence the consumer has on their instance of the design. As the shift from cosmetic changes and modular options continues, systems will be required to have a greater amount of design flexibility to allow for the changes made by individual consumers. Drawing on reconfigurable system and product family research, metrics for flexibility are proposed for use in the early stages of the design process. Discussion focuses on functional aspects of a product which affect flexibility and the rational behind the component metrics representing their flexibility. The goal of the metrics is to assist with the evaluation of design options by rating the overall flexibility of the system early in the design process. A case study is presented to demonstrate the use of the metrics.
Design Theory and Methodology Conference