Modular designing as an answer to strategic challenges
An increasing number of OEM developers in the Western manufacturing industry, focuses on developing high-end, customer-specific machines. By doing so they are facing big challenges: strengthening their strategic position, drastic reduction of management costs, and flexibilisation of mechanical engineering.
In this article, I will explain how integral modular designing offers the Dutch OEM developer a strategic advantage which they will also retain.
The worldwide innovative pace has been scaled up the last decades and competition has become more fierce – low-cost players such as China enforce competition at the lowest integral costs.
An integral answer
Dutch OEM developers focus on specialisation with ‘low volume, high diversity’, but unique designs for unique products alone isn’t sufficient anymore. The solution can be found in integral flexibility of order creation from a product portfolio that consists of product families that are developed both efficiently and effectively and can also be produced cheaper and quicker in a customer-specific series.
This approach offers OEM developers a strategic lead on the competition due simplified product management, reduction of the costs of failure, and cost reduction across the entire chain. The competition should therefore be won across the full width of the chain.
So, it all comes down to system development and this requires an integral design strategy that brings together and aligns the design of machine (integral system development), process (integral business case) and chain (integral chain flexibility). This alignment is reflected uniquely in the integral designing of modular product families. A product can only be successful when it complies with all requirements that the stakeholders impose. These requirements and preferences are translated into user, functional, technical, logistic, and marketing, specification.
An integrally designed product family is tailored to market demands, business processes, and supply chain. It is a product family that has been developed measurably efficiently and effectively, can be produced and be managed.
OEM developers taking the lead
The consequence is that OEM developers cannot put all their development work into the production chain, with their module suppliers. Because this would limit the freedom of design with as a consequence sub optimisation of the design. OEM developers should therefore take the lead themselves or hand it over a to system developer who has the knowledge and the expertise for an integral approach and the communicative skills, to involve all parties in the chain at an early stage.
A new product family can be the reason to rearrange the production chain, tailored to the characteristics of that family.