Abstract

Small manufacturers are often less profitable because they introduce new products with little regard for compatibility with other products currently in production. The result is a portfolio of related products with an architecture that lacks company-wide strategic coordination. We present a methodology that can be used by these small manufacturers to reengineer a product family for greater profitability. The methodology is based upon application of four metrics and three design tools that are simple to use and intuitively easy to comprehend. We also present an example of applying this methodology with a small manufacturer to help the reader better understand it. We do not profess that this methodology will produce an optimal product-family architecture but one that will realize most of the potential gains. This process is particularly suitable to small manufacturers (or even larger firms) who are usually short on financial resources and lack a broad range of technical skills.

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