Concurrent design of product and supply chain architectures for modularity and flexibility: process, methods, and application

Thiam Soon Gan*, Moritz Steffan, Martin Grunow, Renzo Akkerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Product design and supply chain design are two key determinants of company competitiveness. However, they follow different design objectives and thus require a systematic trade-off. Although methodologies for product design and supply chain design are well established within each domain in research and industry, an integrated methodology that bridges both design domains is still lacking. Based on a recently introduced concurrent product and supply chain design process, we contribute to this underdeveloped research area with a generic approach towards exploring design tradespace. We introduce a detailed operational process for the concurrent design of product and supply chain architectures. To apply this generic process to the specific trade-off between the product-related objective of modularity and the supply-chain-related objective of sourcing flexibility, we also develop new methods for key steps of the process. We demonstrate the application of the process and the developed methods using an industrial case study of a new product (electric-vehicle battery module). The case shows that our methodology was able to structure the concurrent design process. It hereby ensured an efficient trade-off and led to high-quality designs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Concurrent design
  • DSM
  • electric-vehicle battery
  • product modularity
  • sourcing flexibility

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