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Ideas for a roadmap to configure-to-order

Eric-Jan Dekker
By Eric-Jan Dekker on March 23, 2016


An integral design strategy is the solution for the various strategic challenges that OEM developers are confronted with. The starting point of this design strategy is a roadmap to configure-to-order. This is a trajectory that consists of seven steps which provide for a more structured process and a shorter time-to-market.

In this article I will discuss the seven steps of the roadmap to configure-to-order and explain what each step is comprised of.

1. Market research

During the market research we look at which opportunities the new product (a new platform or a new system) has. The aim is to look into the possibilities of standardisation, modularisation and the switch from engineering-to-order to configure-to-order. A specific market and application serve as a guideline here.

2. Drawing up the user specifications

After the market research, the user specifications of the new product are drawn up. The user specifications sum up what the future users expect the product to do. This information comes up largely during the market research. Each specification is given a priority.

3. Drawing up the functional specifications

The ultimate list of user specifications is translated into functional specifications. These specifications indicate what the new product does and can. The functional specifications are defined in various use cases. A use case describes a system from the user perspective and is made up of the actor, the initiator of the interaction, and the system. Together this forms the identification of the new technology.

A structured overview of the various functions is displayed in a QFD-analysis (quality function deployment).

4. Defining modules

Now the functions are identified and specified, research will take place into how this function structure can be converted into a modular product family. This is called a MFD analysis (modular function deployment). They will look into the various modules that need to be developed and also at which functionalities can be combined in one module. Client-specific and generic modules are of course being kept apart in this.

5. Conversion into a technology platform

After the research has been completed, the results are used to design a technology platform. On this new platform, a modular system architecture, can be defined where functional modules come together.

6. Developing a product family

The architecture with functional modules is converted into a product structure with physical modules with which client-specific systems can be developed without having to choose for customisation.

7. The product configuration to generate client orders

The modular product structure is submitted into a product configurator with which client orders can be generated. This enables you to submit a tender quickly on the basis of the client’s wishes. The configurator selects the correct necessary modules which results in a client-specific system.

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Eric-Jan Dekker
Written by Eric-Jan Dekker

Eric-Jan is the co-founder of Post and Dekker and a System Developer in heart and soul. He has a passion for designing smart and innovative product families. Years of experience and a good dose of courage resulted in plenty of nice cases for OEMs in various markets. Wondering what Post and Dekker can do for your organization? Eric-Jan gladly explains it to you
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